• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 11
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Geological Time

It’s the blue of it takes me back. Where has fifty years gone, whole strata of my life? The short dress (we all wore them then), that particular pale colour. It runs like a film in my mind, as clear as any August day: the walk across Hyde Park, my sandaled feet on the summer-parched grass, through the line of trees to a phone box. I feel as aroused now as I did then – how can that be, when every cell in my body has been replaced, more than once? That precise shade of blue. What happened to the dress? It had – I would have said this if you’d asked me – its own extinction event, after that summer, that kiss as we waited for the kettle to boil, that failed attempt, afterwards, to move into a different life.
    I have lost touch with eras,  compressed into a dark mass, though I try to reach them – or them me – in those in-between hours of the night. But that blue dress had something of permanence about it, so I am not surprised to see it reappear, neatly rolled, in the third drawer of my chest of drawers, alongside other clothes that no longer fit me but from which I am loath to part. Not surprised, but startled. I push the drawer closed and count to three. Some ritual from one of the lost times. When I open it again there is no blue dress, but something orange I don’t remember.
    I shake out the orange garment. I have been told, in recent years, that it is a colour that suits me. Much more than blue. Which I had thought – quite wrongly – a safe choice.