My earliest memories of growing up are inextricably bound up with the dirty brown house on 4th street, brick red sand and Di, or MG as we would grow to know her in our adult years. It was the
summer rainy season of 1988 and the sun in all its gory beastliness was baking us all, turning our days into long drawn out battles with boredom, exacerbated by excruciatingly boring teachers. Us boys lived for the bell, the harbinger of our short and long breaks, an all too brief salvation from studying. I was barely eight years old, but I was fast making a name for myself as a nerd; complete with very thick lenses, a voracious appetite for non-academic reading and an extreme love for solitude. The only physical activity I engaged in was the odd football kick abut where I was about as useful as a goal post. I often got sentenced to playing the goal keeper, where I was as much likely to play a wanton pass as concede a daft goal. It was an age where competition hadn’t become second nature to us though, so it wasn’t often that a gaffe was punished beyond the pitch.
Amidst the boredom, the quotidian joys of growing up and doing the things little boys do, MG stepped into the picture. After one more religious riot than her father could stomach, her Professor father decided to call it quits and head back home to our little University town to relaunch his career. We were the beneficiaries.
At first it was a shared love for books – Enid Blytons from the Famous Fives to the St Clare books – and then it was all the other stuff; Maths, Sunday School, the school’s debating society, quizzes and the like. She ended up being a big-sister figure. She had the calm head to take charge on more than one occasion when things might have gotten out of hand between us lads.
Somehow down the years she and I stayed in touch – even though at some stage it was across an ocean.True to the anecdote about girls maturing faster, she ended up wanting more at a time I was scared to commit.
The rest as they say is history – she fell in love with a bloke, married him and are living their happily ever after.. … In retrospect, she was the one I met too early.