- You, age 10.
There was that dog that sort of came with the house when you moved in. It was black and sort of small. Medium sized, I guess. Nobody came to take the dog away when its master died so it became part of the house like the curtains or the stove or the shelving units.
Your cousin felt that way after he climbed onto the goalposts on the football field and fell off, catching his leg on the way down on some piece of metal that was sticking out and slicing a great fleshy flap into his thigh. You also felt that when you found your ex-boyfriend’s facebook messages to a girl he knew and they were talking about you as if you didn’t really exist.
When you were little you ate the pom-pom off your favourite red woolen hat. You were looking out the window and sitting on your booster seat in the back. You were sulking because you were still too young to sit in the front and a little bit hungry too. Your mother changed your nappies when you started to smell bad and thought you were bleeding intestinally.
Your best friend convinced you to go to a party down the road with her one night. She had her boyfriend over. You were both 14. Your friend had had so many boyfriends and you hadn’t had any. She wanted some alcohol so you filled up water bottles with anything that was in her parents’ liquor cabinet. It was called ‘rocket-fuel’ back then; I don’t know what it is called now though. You made out with some guy and he ended up having a big crush on you. Did I mention the party was at some indoor skate-park? You wanted a boyfriend but not him. You danced and vomited for ages in your friend’s bathroom in front of her mother.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
After the second term of a particular year in high school you watched The Lion King every day for two weeks straight. When you were eight you got a kitten that was orange just like you. You weren’t meant to get that kitten; you were just looking in on the way to get one of the black and white ones you saw advertised in the newspaper. This one was the runt of the litter though and was getting picked on by his brothers. It took three days to decide on a name, which only happened after you picked him up from under his two front legs. Simba.
The guy that used to live in your house had a wooden leg. He also had a long, black beard. You accidently wrote a poem about him when you were 10 or 11. You called him Arnie Lovell after two rooms in the Christchurch Arts Centre were you had creative writing classes. In your mind he lived alone in a forest. You didn’t remember writing the poem. It was your first out-of-body experience. You thought, wow I want to write like that forever.
You hid in the plastic tunnel at your Montessori kindergarten. It was raining and you were meant to be inside. The teachers were looking for you everywhere. You thought it was funny. It was kind of malicious. You were depressed for the first time ever because your mother didn’t pick you up early to take you to the bookstore.
You grew peas at the Montessori and ate them off the plant. You wanted to be the cat in the Christmas show and put a lot of effort into the audition but you didn’t get it even though everyone said you were the best. You cast the cat death-stares during the show then felt bad for it afterwards.
You had sex when you were sixteen. It was with a boyfriend and you had been only dating a month. He said he loved you so that must have counted for something??? After, you went to rowing training and felt the sex on your seat the whole time.
You had another dog, Harley. He was a black and white English Springer Spaniel. When asked what kind of dog he was you always said black and white English Springer Spaniel even though the “black and white” had nothing to do with his breed but mainly those dogs are brown and white so you thought you had to reiterate how rare he was. Your parents bought him when he was one year old, so you never got to experience the ‘puppy years’. You got to hold his leash though and when you did he galloped away and dragged you along the ground.
You didn’t have friends at primary school but you wanted to. You couldn’t talk to anyone because you had nothing to talk to them about; yet you befriended all of the Korean students though they didn’t speak a word of English. In year two there was a girl called Susan and she showed you her Gameboy and she had Kirby’s Dreamland on it. She went back to Korea and you cried but she sent you a big box of novelty hair-accessories. You have one bobble left now; it’s red and has teddy bears all over it. The elastic is starting to wear. You bought a Gameboy when you were eight and it came with Kirby’s Dreamland as if it was some kind of tribute to Susan. Then you got Pokémon and you weren’t so alone anymore.
The popular kids started talking to you when you were 11. It was kind of weird. You had mixed emotions. You were confused but mainly ecstatic. One of them even wanted to do a project with you at school! Usually no one wanted to do projects with you at school. You became their friend and they liked you because when you are comfortable around people you ‘let go’ and can be quite crazy. You found out a year later that it was all a big trick, a “project” they called it, to ‘befriend’ you and make you ‘cool’. You found out after they asked if you wanted to do it to another girl with red-hair who was considered the ‘biggest loser in school’ but you declined and told them that was a mean thing to do. They laughed.
That first dog doesn’t exist. Only in the poem about ‘Arnie Lovell’. Nowadays Arnie Lovell is a metaphor for your imperious depression.
You recall a day when your nana took you and your cousin to the air force museum. It was sunny and you had ice creams and spat machine guns from your mouths.