Launch Pad

A collection of drawings made with tech pen on paper.

A five minute cycle ride on my solid rubber tyres, over the grey black grit pavements of a new 1960s housing estate (gravel rash and plasters), and I'm there. I park my bike around the back and go in. My girlfriend, with longest blonde hair and bluest eyes - really, not false memory - has invited me to her house.


I'm going to call her Louisa Denholm. We held hands on the way to school. The hair, the eyes, the hand-holding, that's all I remember, except ...


Her parents (her dad's a professional football player - bragging now) are out, and there's a babysitter. It's the 16th of July 1969, I'll be six years old in August, and today, the launch of Apollo 11 will be on TV ... Or it's the 20th, and they're about to land on the Moon.


The only enduring certainty I have, over fifty years later, is the deeply engrained sense of humiliation which I still attach to the events of that evening.


There must have been pop and crisps, and black and white images of a rocket, or lunar lander; however I couldn't swear to it on my Modern Marvels of Science annual. The real memories start when it's home time. The sitter says, "it's time to go, John", but for some unremembered, unknowable, unfathomable reason I refuse to leave.


Displaying socially inappropriate behaviour (being a little shit), I stood my ground and dragged my feet, until no uncertain words were spoken ...


In that moment, something was spoiled, in a helplessly unrecoverable way, and with crimson cheeks and blurred wet vision I ran away on flighted, panic stricken, rubbery legs. Beyond that day there is no Louisa Denholm, everything is redacted, no neural connections; leaving me to puzzle over the enchantment which compelled me to persist.


On arriving home, I was reminded of my bike ... and had to return, knock on the door, and ask if I could please get it back ...