How quickly a month can transpire! I had hoped to complete the second part of my experiences related to touch, and perhaps offer some reflections as part of my process of making sense them. However, other things have taken priority and I don’t want to rush this one (well, this one particularly. I never want to rush when it comes to writing, or much else for that matter).
So instead, I'll offer a very brief column this month.
I was passing a McDonalds the other day, and it triggered a memory of Marvin. I had collected Marvin from his home on a Sunday afternoon and we were in the car, returning to the residential school I worked in and he, reluctantly, resided in. He was quiet, and I suspected he was feeling down. His mum struggled quite regularly with depression, and I know he worried about her.
As we neared the Forth Road Bridge, the sun was just beginning to set. I asked him if he’d like to stop off at the nearby McDonalds and have hot fudge Sundaes while watching the colours in the sky turning above the Forth (a major estuary from the North Sea that makes its way into Scotland). He, of course, said “sure.” Things weren’t so desperate as to suppress the adolescent appetite for McDonalds.
So we got our hot fudge sundaes and watched the afternoon turn to evening from the front seats of the car. I don’t remember if we spoke much, and if we did, what we spoke about. I remember a mellow feeling “maybe one that we shared, though Marvin didn’t usually do mellow. After we crossed the bridge, Martin said to me, “Man, they should really do those ice cream things the other days of the week as well.”
Fortunately, Marvin had a strong enough ego, and we had a strong enough relationship, for me to burst out giggling while trying to explain sundae versus Sunday. (I’m actually laughing out loud as I write this.) It’s also fortunate that the sundae is an American thing that hasn’t completely caught on over here, so Marvin didn’t have to feel like this was one more thing he’d missed out on due to his shitty start in life. We had a laugh together, and he revisited this a few times with me in the months that followed. “Do you remember when I thought a sundae was only on a Sunday?”
Sometimes we’re attuned to the importance of the little things and how they can stay in the memory, accumulating and fortifying kids in ways visible and unseen. I don’t know if Marvin remembers the hot fudge sundaes anymore. In fact, far as I can tell, McDonalds has stopped serving them over here. But you see, I remember and it fortifies me in ways previously invisible but now seen.