A picture paints…

I adore dreams, and I crave them intensely. The combination of vividness and adrenaline they subject me to is intoxicating, and always too brief. Often though, the echo of a dream is almost as precious. In the fleeting wafts of recollection there is something precious, and all the more so because those impressions are soon to be irretrievably lost. Memories of moments long passed also do this to me, and they are always fired by subtleties of colour, sight or smell. Like hysterical laughter, these echoes of experience grip me only occasionally, but they stop me in my tracks when they come. I feel hot, my heart thumps, and I lose touch with everything around me for one heightened, glorious moment. I felt one recently, and it was like being caressed by a dream.

I was idly flicking through an old Sunday Times magazine that I inherited decades ago, and the page fell open to an advert for Roses Lime Cordial. The colour struck me instantly. A vibrant shimmering green, tinged with white. The logo, the font, even the layout of the thing quickened my memories, and something extraordinary happened. It was like skimming over a calm pool of memories; fast and fleeting. I caught a waft of Roses lime and lemon marmalade, looking up at my Mum making me a sandwich with it. I could literally see the patina of the glass on the jar, and feel the bumps of glass with my fingers. I haven’t looked at a jar like that for a very, very long time. My palms even remembered the impossible heaviness of it, as I gazed at the suspended, highlighted shreds inside. It was sunny.

All that from one picture. I know with absolute certainty that I had seen the advert before. I had one final flash of looking into a panel pint pot backlit by sun, then like a tantalising, unachieved sneeze the images stopped. The skimming stone skittered and sank. I always feel slightly bereft afterwards, and intensely moved. Ever since that memory journey I see the green everywhere, and whenever it happens, my pulse quickens. I must have been very young when my eyes saw those things, because I cannot conciously remember any of those little moments in time. I know they existed, but I cannot pin them down, and perhaps that is precicely (or rather vaguely) why they are so poignant.  The advert is now framed and tucked away in my kitchen, almost out of sight, and I hope that one day I might glance at it and be granted another skim down memory lane. Who knows?The-Gimlet




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