The Sprinkled Pepper Diaries Archived
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 You are here (, , )

This is for Georgia, who said she didn’t understand.

1. I stood on one side of the wooden gate; she sat on a bench some way away on the other; our eyes met.

She was four years old at the time, four-and-three-quarters to be precise: a round little face, pink waterproof overalls, her hair in bunches. I was almost twenty-seven: deep in transition, not any longer the person I had been before, not yet the person I would become. She looked at me, and in that moment she was as big as she was little; I looked at her, and in that moment I was as strong-and-brave-and-true as I was lost-and-scared; and as her clear, steady gaze was matched by mine her eyes seemed to say, “oh good, you are here.” As if she had never expected anything less from me but she was happy to see that I was carrying out my part of the plan nonetheless.

She was five and a half when she told everyone I would be her teacher. We didn’t quite believe her, but she knew what she was talking about. She was six-and-a-quarter on the morning she walked down the wooden plank bridge we had build for the start-of-school ceremony. I stood on the other side: twenty-eight, finding my way, ready to catch her.

In the three-and-a-half years that followed, the years in which I was her teacher, I sometime thought back to all of this — always with wonder, often with the sense that I was exactly where I ought to be.

2. Places can do this too: take for example the East Coast of Scotland, or, to be more specific, the hills of Fife as seen for the first time through a train window, on the summer of my first big adventure. It had been grey all day, and raining on and off, but as we left Edinburgh the sun burst through the clouds giving me my first experience of that common but exquisite British summer experience, sun-after-rain, causing my heart to burst into something as well, something like joy-after-having-been-scared. The sky was blue, and high, and ever-present, the hills were greener than green, the sunlight slanting and golden yellow, and it was all so new to my southern self, so delightful in its differentness to everything I’d known — and yet a part of me was resonating with a strange sense of recognition, as if the landscape itself was whispering to me, saying, in its own quiet way: “you are here.”

In time this feeling faded –these days the railway line from Edinburgh to Dundee does not call my name in the way that it once did– but for a summer or two Scotland was the place to be, and Dundee sometimes felt like home.

3. This is what Athens is doing to me at the moment, what it is doing to me again — it has done it once before, which is perhaps why it is so good at it. It seems to be singing to me with a hundred voices, all of them saying the same thing: “you are here.” What am I to do but listen?

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:43 pm [3 people said all this]
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 The start of something (, )

June 2001. Thessaloniki.

I ran up and down the corridor, so full of joy that it was overflowing; I simply couldn’t help it, I had to run. I ran up and down the corridor like little children do, or like my puppy would, later, when he came to live with us. I ran up and down the corridor, thinking ‘they like me they like me they like me,’ disbelief and relief and excitement mixing in my heart, all framed by the improbable but quietly insistent idea, lingering somewhere in the back of my head, that this was the beginning of a new era in my life.

This was just as well — I really needed a new era. Everything I’d known and loved and relied upon was falling apart or losing its meaning, or both. I did not understand why it had to be like this, and it scared me so much I could only think about it in short bursts, but I knew it; and I knew I had to find a way out of the life that I had had, or go down with it. I did not want to go down with it, this I also knew, and so I looked for a way out with all the determination and hope my broken heart could muster — which was rather a lot. What people perceived as my braveness and adventurousness later that summer was fuelled, largely, by a desperate need to reinvent myself.

So when I packed up the story of the previous few years’ birthdays, labelled it ‘My life in six wishes’ and posted it off to a large number of mysterious strangers on the internet –all claiming to be as interested as I was in that equally mysterious thing, ‘life as Belle and Sebastian fan’– I must have put some of myself in it, and it must have shone a little, because there I was, running up and down the corridor; and pausing, breathless, to attempt to explain to my puzzled mother why it was that the fact that five people wrote back to say that they liked what I said meant quite so much.

I wrote something, and five people wrote back to say that it had touched them. Much more than I knew at the time, this was indeed the start of something.


If Honey (without whom the large number of mysterious strangers that was known as the Sinister mailing list would never have come together) or Linda (who was one of the five people who wrote to me) are still hanging around after all this time I would like to say this one more time: thank you, and thank you, and thank you. ‘The start of something’ is many things, I am sure, but also a very wordy song by Voxtrot that I have loved very, very much.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:43 pm [say something]