On the 80s council estate hanging out with me mates, knocky-knocky-nine-doors, hopscotch, bulldog, keeping scores in white-dog-poo, outlining 'territory' with Scott, me brother and 'poor Barry' who died soon after. The details are a kinder blur - 'Water on the brain' me mam said 'just drifted off in his bed.' Carried him out late one night, into eternal midsummer light. Couldn't sleep after that, I understand dad had to come up to hold me hand. A long, lazy day I fell off my old, new bike I chanced upon Angharradh, like, an otherworldly girl to meet, staying with her Nan in the next street The Big Houses. Detached. She wore clothes that matched. I lifted up my grit-grained palms, hurt, and face tracked with tear-stained dirt. My wounds were germolined, as she soothed wounded pride, then bid me follow her home through a narrow passage where nothing grew, where she proffered me a foreign fruit, this strange, but tempting loot, Eaten with a shiny pin. Not Fray Bentos from the tin Real nosh, like eating fish n chips with forks - proper posh. The strange, full-blooded reddish hue Looked wizened, overripe? To suburbia from brighter lands into my eager hands - for Elizabeth David did decree that we eat herbs for our tea. Well Ragu - Brings out the Italian in you. A Pommie Granite? I repeated, Not quite Angharradh's gentle lilt, Splitting open swollen red pools sweetly studded with tiny jewels, I stuck my tongue in to lick - You need to use the pin to prick. She reached to touch, I wanted her to like me so much, stabbing seeds, ignoring the rough, Crunching, bursting, I couldn't get enough. I leaned over to kiss her soft skin, and she simply stuck her tongue in. An exquisite moment. Delicious, ripe. But I pulled away. It was time to return. I ran off, yem, Like a scaredy bairn, To where dad was mowing and softly singing yes man, yes man, three bags full of grass Where you been lass? You ate what? From a stranger? Such was the perceived danger. Ashamed, I never did explain, but I always remembered her name, even called for her next holiday, but she never came back to play. And filled with seeds of longing for another place, belonging, something grew within - I wanted so much more than a Cox's Orange Pippin. Suzanne Fairless-Aitken
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