Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.
I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.
Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it's a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.
We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.
What I'm not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
I half closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I'd ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it, and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field and gradually get larger until I'd see it was Tommy, and he'd wave, and maybe even call.
It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.
You have to accept that sometimes that's how things happen in this world. People's opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.
It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we'd understood that back then-who knows?-maybe we'd have kept a tighter hold of one another.
Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go.
The problem, as I see it, is that you've been told and not told. You've been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.
I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart.
You're always in a rush, or else you're too exhausted to have a proper conversation. Soon enough, the long hours, the traveling, the broken sleep have all crept into your being and become part of you, so everyone can see it, in your posture, your gaze, the way you move and talk.
When we lost something precious, and we'd looked and looked and still couldn't find it, then we didn't have to be completely heartbroken. We still had that last bit of comfort, thinking one day, when we grow up, and we were free to travel around the counry, we would always go and find it in Norfolk...And that's why years and years later, that day Tommy and I found another copy of that lost tape of mine in a town on the Norfolk coast, we didn't just think it pretty funny; we both felt deep down some tug, some old wish to believe again in something that was once close to our hearts.
We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
You need to remember that. If you’re to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you.
It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I’d known, maybe I’d have kept tighter hold of them, and not let unseen tides pull us apart.
And so we stood together like that, at the top of that field for what seemed like ages, not saying anything, just holding each other, while the wind kept blowing and blowing at us, tugging our clothes, and for a moment, it seemed like we were holding onto each other because that was the only way to stop us from being swept away into the night.
A part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and-no matter how much we despised ourselves for it-unable quite to let each other go.
I think of my pile of old paperbacks, their pages gone wobbly, like they'd once belonged to the sea.
Even the solitude, I've actually grown to quite like... I do like the feeling of getting into my little car, knowing for the next couple of hours I'll have only the roads, the big gray sky and my daydreams for company.
And what made these heart-to-hearts possible--you might even say what made the whole friendship possible during that time--was this understanding we had that anything we told each other during these moments would be treated with careful respect: that we'd honor confidences, and that no matter how much we rowed, we wouldn't use against each other anything we'd talked about during those sessions.
And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind of world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
And if these incidents now seem full of significance and all of a piece, it's probably because I'm looking at them in the light of what came later...
It was like being given a maths problem when your brain's exhausted, and you know there's some far-off solution, but you can't work up the energy even to give it a go. Something in me just gave up.
When we lost something precious, and we'd looked and looked and still couldn't find it, then we didn't have to be completely heartbroken. We still had that last bit of comfort, thinking one day, when we were grown up, and we were free to travel the country, we could always go and find it again in Norfolk.
I can see,’ Miss Emily said, ‘that it might look as though you were simply pawns in a game. It can certainly be looked at like that. But think of it. You were lucky pawns. There was a certain climate and now it’s gone. You have to accept that sometimes that’s how things happen in the world. People’s opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.’ ‘It might be just some trend that came and went,’ I said. ‘But for us, it’s our life.
What he wanted was not just to hear about Hailsham, but to remember Hailsham, just like it had been his own childhood. He knew he was close to completing and so that's what he was doing: getting me to describe things to him, so they'd really sink in, so that maybe during those sleepless nights, with the drugs and the paint and the exhaustion, the line would blur between what were my memories and what were his.
What I wished more than anything was that the thing hadn't happened at all, and I thought that by not mentioning it I'd be doing everyone else a favor.
I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.
I needed to get familiar with sex, and it would be just as well to practise first with a boy I didn't care about too much. Then later on, if I was with someone special, I'd have more chance of doing everything right.
Even at the time, I realised this couldn't be right, that this interpretation didn't fit with the rest of the lyrics. But that wasn't an issue with me. The song was about what I said, and I used to listen to it again and again, on my own, whenever I got the chance.
Maybe all of us at Hailsam had little secrets like that -- little private nooks created out of thin air where we could go off alone without fears and longing.
I remember a huge tiredness coming over me, a kind of lethargy in the face of the tangled mess before me. It was like being given a maths problem when your brain's exhausted, and you know there's some far-off solution, but you can't work up the energy even to give it a go.
There was a time you saw me once, one afternoon, in the dormitories. There was no one else around, and I was playing this tape, this music. I was sort of dancing with my eyes closed and you saw me.' '...yes, I remember that occasion. I still think about it from time to time.' 'That's funny, so do I.
I quizzed him a lot on this point and i suspect the truth was that it was like a lot of things at that age: you don't have any clear reason, you just do it. You do it because you think it might get a laugh, or because you want to see if it'll cause a stir. And when you're asked to explain afterwards, it doesn't seem to make any sense.
If you were a boy and a girl and you were in love with each other, really, properly in love, and if you could show it, then the people who run Hailsham, they sorted it out for you. They sorted it out so you could have a few years together before you began your donations.