The smell of fresh grass. As far away from the big building as can be. I’m lying down, it’s magnified; the foil from a cigarette pack in front of me, it brings a smell to my nose that isn’t really there, I’m sure of it – some kid staggers away into the glare of the sun, skinny tie askew. He’s on a slant because I’m lying down. Everyone laughs. One of them passes me a large brown plastic bottle of shandy, but my angle is wrong and I don’t want to move, so I shake my head, no. Gravel leaves a pattern in my knee – an indentation of an asteroid belt. The bells and whistles and shouts are coming but they’re so far away. We look elsewhere – who lives in the house over the other side of the fence? I never seen them. Probably a pervert. I saw a ghost at the window once. No you fucking didn’t.
A loud echoey belch, beautiful. We’re all silent. Another little kid comes up and he squints into the sun or he’s got narrow eye holes like those slits they use to fire through in old castles. I don’t look at him for long because I don’t like the way my throat feels when I hold my head up but I hear him.
‘Can I have a fag?’
‘I want a fag off you?’
‘What year you in?’
I look up then – do I know him now he’s closer – but he’s at the sky, glancing between clouds. Then he turns and wanders back to the other side of the field, between the netball courts.
One of us throws a balled up can at his back, but it’s light in the breeze and lands far away from him, far enough for him to keep walking.
We’re the kings of this corner and for this moment we’re kings of all time. Our gestures and words and feelings are real and elegant and there’s not one of us now, wherever we are, who doesn’t feel their breath stop and heart catch, once a year or more, or less, to return to that flash, that moment, and feel the whole of it.