Monday, May 24, 1982

I have been here before

Art exam, part 3. I finished with an hour to spare and was actually quite pleased with the outcome. Mrs. Blakeborough gave it a vote of confidence.

I slobbed around the rest of the day, lazing in the workroom and bemoaning everything to Deborah and Steve and really not wanting to think about Mr. G's suggestion that I start on Poly applications. It's all too much, the whole hassle of interviews, forms to fill, etc.

I got home at four-ish and I’m wanting to say something about the ending of school, the closing of one era, the beginning of another, but what can I say but to relate Deborah’s comments: “This’ll be the last time I ever walk up this road”; “this’ll be the last time I stay behind at school.”

I watched John Nott on Panorama and I was suddenly struck by this thought. The rights, views and liberty of those 1800 Falkland Islanders is now of paramount importance and worth so much blood, but what of before? Last year they were begging for something more than HMS Endurance as defence but the government couldn’t give a shit; they were conveniently forgettable. But now the whims of these 1800 Favoured Few are magically granted. What about the other minorities back in Britain whose collective wishes might differ from those of Her Majesty's Government? What about the millions in Scotland who want independence? What about the thousands of British people who want a different way of life and society? It’s obvious they don't count. The whole situation stinks.

Maybe I’m just naïve. Mum says she's frightened and has a premonition that this conflict will escalate. “I hope to goodness I’m wrong.”

In the evening we watched J.B. Priestley’s I Have Been Here Before and it was excellent. It echoed everything I’ve been thinking about but took it further. Lives progress in circles or spirals that are doomed to repeat again and again unless, at the little crossroads and diversions, the knowledge gained in a previous cycle is used to break the pattern and a start a new branch.

We switched the TV off for the usual discussion, which I so much enjoy, and our words hinted at ideas so far away from the talks I have at school: passing feelings, intense but always fleeting, unexpected in mundane moments, feelings that I've been, done and felt all this before and that somehow, somewhere, all things fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Individual redundancies, universal eternities where “life endures,” and everyone grows old and dies, but the mind remains young and suddenly – a glimpse in a mirror, a reflection of a face – the shock and sadness that age is with you, that those others on the street with graying hair and middling figures; that's you.

The end of one era, the beginning of another.

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