The Time When I Controlled the Clouds


Here’s the story of past, future, and lampposts.

I remember when I controlled the clouds. Kids say, ‘I know what I want to be when I grow up.’ But you see, standing in the playground, looking up at the summer clouds I was controlling, I wasn’t thinking anything of the sort. I was thinking, ‘My life will never be better than this.’ And I thought that, I treasured that thought, until the moment I realised I actually wasn’t controlling the clouds. It was a dark day, that. Ironically, thanks to the clouds. Not only had they crushed a childhood belief, they were now taunting me. You’ll be delighted to hear I am far less stupid these days. Except last week, when I walked into a lamppost in the middle of an empty field, but that’s another story…

I really don’t get why they don’t put thick padding around lampposts. There are people out there who repeatedly complain about the hazard they possess to those of us who can’t walk in a straight line without walking into a huge lump of metal. It’s usually the complainers that are the ones who walk into lampposts. I really don’t get why they don’t stop whining and instead, try looking up once in a while. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe the lampposts have a hidden agenda. ‘Yes! Three weeks lamppost collision free!’ Next thing you know, you’re standing next to a lamppost one day and it falls on you. I actually saw a lamppost fall over once. Been terrified of them ever since. ‘Killed by a falling lamppost’ is certainly something child me feared would happen to adult me…

One may question the sanity of a child who believes he can control clouds. I think it’s quite sweet. There’s a loving innocence about that. I had no friends in primary school. We had no music devices or game devices. No mobile phones. No internet. But we were advanced enough to realise that what our parents did to pass time was outdated. Marbles. Let’s play marbles. No, bad idea. The bullies would shove them somewhere not very pleasant. But we didn’t have what we have how. We were in a limbo phase. Between the two. Cloud control. Makes sense now, huh?

It certainly went better than my other endeavours in primary school. I discovered girls. That was interesting. There was a weird phase when I didn’t quite realise what was going on. I saw a few girls staring at me. ‘Oh no! I have some jam on my face!’ ‘Oh no! I’m having a bad hair day!’ ‘Oh no! My zipper is undone! She can see my doodle!’ So then I started staring at them. Not for any particular reason, it just seemed to be what was happening, so I went with the flow. So then you had different kids staring at each other for different reasons. I can only imagine what they thought when they made first contact. “Hi, do you want to come round my house for dinner?” One girl once asked me. “Not really, I’ve already ate”, was my reply. Seriously. I had no clue what tree she was barking up.

I saw that girl recently. Gee, it was, oh, about 10, 12 years since I last saw her. She’s beautiful. Well beyond my league. Heck, a turnip is well beyond my league. I was gutted. I never make the right decisions, which is probably why I’m so indecisive. Probably. The house we were living in back then, one of our neighbours had identical twin girls who went to my school. I had funny feelings toward them, but I didn’t know what they were. I didn’t act on them because I kept getting the twins confused and any guy will tell you that is one golden rule. Do not date an identical twin. I saw one of them recently, too. You know the story.

There was another girl whose house I did go to, but I can’t remember what happened. I remember going in the front door, then I remember coming out, some hours later. What happened in there? I always wanted to know. I know I’ve never kissed a girl. At least I think I do. But maybe, just maybe, in that house I did. I just don’t know. Needless to say, as a constant worrier, I do wonder if some strange conspiracy is afoot and my memory has been wiped. Maybe I uncovered the lizard people. Or maybe that girl was a dude and I blanked that memory for good reason. She sorta looked like a guy. Hmm…

I’m at a weird point in my life. I’m looking back at those innocent childhood days with a subdued smile. Yeah, you might have been in the bushes with a girl or skiving by the beck with booze and cigarettes (yes, many kids do this at that young age in this country), but I was staring at clouds. Being baffled by girls. I was looking after children. And yet there’s another part of me thinking, ‘What if?’ When I saw those girls recently, it was depressing. It’s cool when you look back at a childhood sweetheart as an adult. ‘Yeah, I’m Mr. Awesome. I kissed that girl.’ But for me it’s, ‘Yeah, what a jackass I am.’ And on top of this, I’m looking to the future. I don’t have a job. I don’t know what I want, and the more I think about it, the less I know. I don’t think about the future, I live for the moment. And I’m going in to that future completely blind.

I mentioned looking after children in primary school. One time, when I was in Year 5, I was tasked with looking after a very small and very shy little boy. Adorable. Absolutely tiny and terrified of everything. He’d just started, a transfer, no friends or anybody, really. Didn’t talk much. Just like me, really. I used to play with him on breaks, take him to dinner at lunchtime, help him out, keep an eye on him, stay with him at after school club because he wanted to make friends but wanted someone there who he knew. I used to make sandcastles with him in our sandpit whilst we waited for his mother to come and pick him up. I got him talking and he started to make friends. Against all expectation, I somehow did it. I think back to all those moments he gave me a cuddle with great fondness. Anyone would’ve done it, that’s not the point. That was the last time I felt like I knew what I was doing. I think back to staring at clouds, and I really wish life was that simple again.

We all have regrets. We all wonder. What if I knew what those girls wanted? What happened to that little boy? I’ll never know. Why did I think I could control clouds? What happened in that girl’s house? And what will happen in the future?

When I was a kid, I never thought about growing up. I was too busy wondering why that girl wanted me to have a second dinner. Among other things. And as an adult, I’m too busy trying not to think about growing up. Because it’s terrifying. But unlike in the past, I don’t have regrets. What one piece of advice would I give my younger self?

Don’t worry. Don’t dwell on what you do. Focus on making it right. Keep moving forward. And when a girl asks you for dinner, for God’s sake accept, you twit.

I’m having a funny few weeks, readers. Just live and be happy. That’s my advice to you this week. Oh, and do watch out for lampposts…

British writer, Philip Pullman CBE, FRSL (b. 1946), once said, “You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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