30-Day writing challenge: Day 3

30-Day writing challenge: Day 3

Day 3: a memory

When I saw today’s challenge a very strange memory was the first to come into my head. A memory that I’ve recalled many times over my life.

It’s strange in one way, because it’s a memory from when I was very young. I just have been maybe four or five years old. Yet it has always remained very clear and, as I said, I often think about it. And the other strangeness is in the memory itself.

It’s our living room in our house in Melbourne where we lived from when I was two years old to nine years old. My mum is there on the couch, attending in some way to one of my siblings, I think my younger sister, details are blurry. I’m playing with my older sister on the floor, also not sure of those exact details. But what’s very clear is that I look up and over to the armchair and I see a young boy peering from behind it. He’d got dark hair and is maybe nine or ten. Not someone I recognise, but he seems nice — friendly, mischievous. He looks at me and puts one finger to his lips in a ‘shhh’ gesture. Then he ducks back behind the chair.

I don’t say anything at first and he doesn’t make a reappearance but at some point to say to mum: “What’s Adam doing behind the chair?” Somehow I knew his name. Mum is kind of dismissive (she was quite harried in those days with four children under the age of four at one stage). She said “there’s no one behind the chair”, or words to that effect.

And there wasn’t a real living person there. We knew no child by the name of Adam, and there was no child in the neighbourhood by that name (I talked about this with mum and my older sister later in life). Mum made a point of saying I was very imaginative as a child, which was perfectly true, but I know this to be a memory, not something I manufactured — you can tell the difference. I can only assume it was not a flesh and blood person.

After mum died in 2013, many previously unknown facts came to light about her early days. For example, In the first several years of her marriage with dad, they couldn’t have children and fostered a boy but it didn’t work out. I don’t know any other details but that would have been in Sydney anyway, not Melbourne. The two probably aren’t linked at all but at the very least my memory of ‘Adam’ provokes all sorts of thoughts and other memories. Maybe that’s why it pops into my head so frequently.

That’s it for Day 3.