You drag the past around with you no matter where you go. Dark spectres, matted with the mud of life are captured in the invisible net spun by your unconscious; it stretches and groans under the weight of the passing years, the misdeeds and near misses overwhelming the sunnier memories that trot along gaily without bothering a soul.
I want to put my teenage years into a box and throw them into a fast moving river but it seems impossible; I look at them, cringe and then I just throw them back over my shoulder until they creep up on me once more. Nowadays, it’s not just me I’m dragging around, add a few children to the equation and then there’s my black Labrador who likes to drag me around. The other day he dragged me to greet a couple of dogs coming the other way.
The man walked on the verge opposite with two Labradors was grey, fatter but the same. Mr Benson, Deputy Head, black whiskery beard and a polished head glaring through his dark comb-over but most notably, the deepest, booming voice I had heard. Welsh, I think, but I’m not sure. A certain lilt, musical and deep, a bass voice. He did assemblies, not so much religious but a daily injection of morality. I remember two really big things about Mr Benson: being hauled into his office because I had been present when golf balls were used to smash the gym windows and the Addidas assembly. A bag had been stolen. A black Addidas bag. A black Ad dee das bag, with a drop of about three octaves at the ‘dee’ syllable dividing the word until it was completely unrecognisable.
So there you are, walking your dog and someone is calling your name. ‘Dee? Dee Walsh?’