Les Beaux Malaises

At crèche drop off this morning I bumped into an old friend of my father who happens to be a Grandparent at Anaïs’s crèche.

Me: Oh, hi Trish!

Trish: Hi Clare! (calls me by my birth name, then indicates towards a man escorting a preschooler into the building) You remember my son, Jack?

Me: Oh, yes of course. Hi!

Jack: (Confused face) You’ve a better memory than I!

Me: (Blushing)

Insert small talk about raising toddlers while blocking the entrance and straining with the weight of child on my hip.

Me: Well, have a great day! (Bowls past dawdling kids to get Ani into the nursery area.)

The conversation in my mind:

Me: Oh, you don’t remember me, Jack? I was 12, you were 14. Your mum threw a party at your house. We stole and drank my first alcoholic beverage together. We sneaked down to the river and kissed. It was my first kiss with tongue. After a while I asked to go back to the party. I felt sick and dizzy and Dad got me some water. When we left the party I asked for your number. You wrote it on a piece of paper. I bragged about you to my form 2 friends on Monday at school. After a few days I plucked up the courage to call you but when I dialed, all I heard were quick beeps, indicating the phone number didn’t exist.

I remember every cell in body burning with embarrassment. For months afterwards you would pop into my mind and I would burn all over again. I lived in fear of the moment we would again meet at one of our parent’s houses. Mercifully, we did not.

It was not my last regretful drunken pash, but I remember it better than any other – with the clarity of the most emotionally complex creature on Earth – a 12 year old girl.

And now our kids go to crèche together. How lovely.


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