I remember... I remember so little these days. I try to focus in on a memory but it eludes me, the sights and smells and sounds evade my thinking. I need a strong memory to pull me back in, but today those strong memories are just not appropriate to share.
I remember... I came back from 6 months of being away. It was the end of August, and I didn't want to meet up with friends desperate to get me back in the loop. I wanted to recover from jet-lag, and my own house was full of renter's for the summer, so I stayed with family friends. I slept badly for the first few nights, it being so hot and dry, and I spent my days wandering around their garden and drinking tea on their veranda. I felt discombobulated and thin, but then they took me with them when they went out to the "Honey House", a bee farm in the middle of the country owned by their relatives. The lawns out there were green, surrounded on all sides by rolling brown prairie and farm-land. There was a forest, and a pond or two, and a huge house with many windows and many rooms, full to the brim with friends and family. It was so hot and still, and during the day I helped out in the spinning room, loading trays of honey comb into a round metal drum which spun fast until the honey dripped out the bottom. I also de-capped the combs with a scrapper, and that was fun because the honey got everywhere in your hair, your skin, your clothes, and you chewed on pieces of waxy comb until every last drop of honey was gone, and then you spat out balls of beeswax.
Once I even got suited up, and drove in the back of the truck with them down to the hives, which were in a small warm clearing in the forest. I am not afraid of insects, of spiders, of bugs, but wasps and even bees sometimes terrify the hell out of me. I was irrationally afraid, but not allowed to show that fear. The humming, the swarming, the noise and the sugar smell of honey and smoke caused me to sweat and tremble but I helped them take out the trays, brush off the bees, and load them in boxes in the back of the truck. Sweet relief when I was done and walked a bit away from the hives and took off my suit and net! Careful not to squish any clingers, I folded it under my arm and ran in my borrowed rain boots back along the grass road which led to the house.
In the afternoons we would sleep, or play games or read, or pick buckets of raspberries from the garden.
And after dinner was fun. Bonfires and walking in the dark to catch frogs near the pond.
But of course I couldn't evade real life forever. And so I came back to the city, and one dusty and hot white-skyed day I met up with le Terrible after months of writing letters, and we walked to the government buildings with little to say. After all, most of what we could have said had already been done so, and what we wanted to say couldn't even be thought of. So we lay in the damp cool grass beneath a huge tree and just breathed together. We had spent more time apart then together, and maybe that's why our relationship is so unique. Why I know that we understand each other often better without saying things, and why I have no fear of losing his friendship if I disappear for the summer, for a year, or even for many years.
I also got my wisdom teeth out a few days later, then started university. I'm surprised that I made as many new friends as I did, looking so chipmunky, and being strange and vague on pain-killers.