I have just returned from visiting my junior school for the first time in seven years.

I was actually terrified about going back. My best friend, who I met at the school when I was four years old, but continued until she was eighteen after I left aged eleven, took me on a tour to see all my old teachers and all the old classrooms. It hasn't changed. My teachers remember me, I chatted to my reception teacher for nearly an hour about our classmates. I remembered her as much younger. She's the same age as my mother now. I loved her so much, and I have so many wonderful memories of her, so it hurt a bit that it took her a push to remember my name, but after that it all came flooding back to her. She remembered my parents, what I was good at, how close I was to my best friend, my haircut, even my aptitude for spelling.

It was as if I'd never left. I saw the Junior Magistrate (some strange convent school role) who sent me a lovely card when I left, telling me to always remember where I came from. She remembered me and I'd never forgotten her. I saw my Third Form teacher, who'd completely forgotten me. I saw my Upper II English teacher, who remembered me as if she'd taught me yesterday. She hasn't changed either. 

I am so thankful that I have had such a wonderful education. I will always remember the teacher I had at that school when I was eight years old. She was a wonderful woman who had had a difficult life. What I didn't know at the time she taught me was that she was battling breast cancer, and she died last year. My memories of her are fond, and I will keep them close to me always. All of these women, every last one, were, and still are, the women who shaped my life.


Heat. Fans spinning. I breathe in.
The air matches my temperature.
There is no sense of separateness.
I feel the pulse of the house.
We are one contiguous system.

Sawdust stirs on the window ledge
matching the grit in my fingernails.

A roaring hunger.
Stiff whiskers search the corners.
A ridged oesophagus arches.
Paper lungs inhale sawdust and fur.
Clattering retreat. Quiet. Holding a breath,
Standing in darkness again.
Fans spinning.

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