don’t be nervous because that’s perverse


artroom offcutsThis is another Thing I Like. It’s a sort of photo montage stuck on a piece of plasticky linoey stuff, made up of art-room offcuts, given to me by Aimee, a girl I went to school with. We were at boarding school together. She gave me this in 1995.

On the back of it she has written:

To Katy

Congratulations for youre achievement.

Love from Aimee xxx

I think I remember what the achievement was, but the thing was she was always bringing me stuff. Funny stuff, mostly, and she would draw things.

Once she slipped a note under my door, saying don’t be nervous because that’s perverse. I think it was scholarship exam time. That line still comes to me out of nowhere sometimes. In my head, when I say it to myself, nervous rhymes with perverse. Actually, perverse (pervous) rhymes with nervous. It works best that way. It’s become a kind of mantra. Plus this little concave montage has been blu-tacked to many a wall over the years, taken pretty much everywhere I’ve lived, like the worry dolls.

Aimee always had paint stains all over her seventh form uniform – standard issue white linen shirt and ankle-length navy skirt. She came to boarding late in the piece, as a last-ditch attempt on her parents’ part to ground her. She was a little bit unhinged, and not in the affected artful way we all tried on then. She refrigerated her own urine and then drank it; that’s one thing I remember. She told some farfetched stories that couldn’t not be true. I think she might have also plastered herself naked to a ranchslider door once, in protest, in the presence of her parents, which may have something to do with how she ended up at boarding school, bestowing handmade gifts deep from within the darkroom, sellotaped to board.

Anyway, I just found this tonight, buried in the corner of the sunroom where I Dare Not Go.


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