from Bristol

Fifth piece of fortnight writing, and again it's late, which suggests my deadline/system isn't working very well. Either that or I'm just busy, or lazy. Maybe all these things. This subject - 'cola cubes and cherryade' was given to me by Mel Quayle, who was my English teacher at high school in Edinburgh between 2002 and 2007.


Maybe it’s perfect. You take the cola cube – or 'Kola Kube' – out of it’s paper bag and put it (trepidatiously? keenly? slowly?) into your mouth. The flavour, not experienced for 25 years now, is the same. It tingles, sour at first, then settles – sweet – as the sugar disintegrates and the cube (Kube) gets smaller until it’s gone. And you’re ten again.

Maybe it’s perfect.

On the other hand, it might not be worth it. Might be disappointing, make you feel nothing. Maybe there is no transportation or reminiscence or... anything. Just another lump of sugar confined to your childhood that should stay there. It doesn’t do to overwrite the memory with this, and you’re full of regret. Perhaps.

It’s difficult when your nostalgia gets shattered.

I’ve never tried a cola cube. I don’t think much about cherryade, but I think I don’t like it. Are these memories of yours? What are they?

I wonder if, like the accents of those I spend time with, I could assimilate your nostalgias if only I knew more about them. What happens when we inherit other people’s memories, yearnings – something of their childhood? A past life where we weren’t present.

Or is that just empathy?

A memory:
Vast expanse of grass. A café to eat ice creams in. A monkey puzzle tree. My brother and I: 8 years old, 4 years old.

And then you go there and the shitty lawn is dried out and can never have been any other way. The café shut. The monkey puzzle tree – well, it was never there in the first place. Somewhere else, perhaps. And I don’t feel better in the knowledge.

I have a memory about cherryade too:
We’re twelve – at a friend’s house for a sleepover. We dare each other. Eat: Pringles with: chocolate, peanut butter, toothpaste, dipped in bright pink fizz. We are sick. It is hilarious. We stay up all night.

I don’t think much about cherryade, but I think I don’t like it.

(I think I’d still like you if we met again.)