Memories of a Former Life

Sometimes I get homesick and memories of the life I lived in Britain spill through my mind in random order. Remember when…

When we could buy four mangos for a pound and you taught me how to make a Lassi? I still make them now.

When I stood on windy platforms in remote towns waiting for a trains that never arrived? You were sorry for any inconvenience caused. I never believed you.

When streetlights and rain mingled, filling the red brick gloom with a jaundiced haze? I hated that weather.

When we lived in Sunderland? Do you? I don’t.

When the snow was taller than me and you dug a tunnel through the garden to the wood shed? I followed you looking up at the thin strip of sky between walls of snow.

When I’d go into the garden and look out onto miles of forest. I’ll never forget Stobo.

When you’d floor the accelerator driving through Carstairs. I vomitted every time.

When we raced to Murrayfield in time for kick-off of the Calcutta Cup? Scotland lost.

When I’d spend my Saturday’s sketching Arthur’s Seat from our living room window? On Sunday’s we’d climb to the top and try to spot our house among the rows and rows of Edinburgh terraces. You’d always point to it. I never knew which one you meant.

When you took us to the docks for Iron-Bru and crisps on a Saturday morning? It was only once, but I still remember how they tasted.

When we packed up home and left Scotland because the job centres were full, but the job boards were empty? I missed it then. I miss it now.

When you arrived unannounced on my 12th birthday? It was the best present.

When you finished our last tennis match by handing me a new racquet? I lost it moving house.

When a boy from Pakistan told me to go back to where I came from? Because irony isn’t taught in English schools.