I remember………………………. everyone i have ever slept with

This is based on an exercise used by the OULIPO writers.

50 sentences, all starting with the words, I remember.

1.I remember everyone I have ever slept with, even though I may have forgotten their names.

2. I remember your arms and legs star fished across me as you slept, their weight impossibily heavy for such a tiny baby.

3. I remember the first time, afterwards, a shame faced entry into a sitting room where everyone knew our business.

4. I remember the last time with R, with nothing left to say, we took refuge under the duvet on a wet september day.

5. I remember sharing a bed with B, she carefully placed pillows down the centre line, a demarcation of distance.

6. I remember making love with a man so thin that sex left bruises as his bones drilled into me.

7. I remember the man who would knock on my door at midnight and fool that i was, i would always let him in.

8. I remember spooning against A, his aubergine skin against mine, so dark it made my Irish whiteness glow in the soft light of my bedroom.

9. I remember summer afternoons with J, lolling on a grubby matress on the floor, we stuck our feet out of the window to cool ourselves and waved at the passers by.

10. I remember another J, in a tent where we pressed our hands against each others mouths so that we would not wake the other campers

11. I remember setting my alarm on days when I needed no alarm so that I could wake before a lover and watch them sleep.

12. I remember my daughter starting each night, fiercely independent in her own room, by daybreak, always back in my bed and always expressing surprise when she woke, blaming her night time journey on the terrors of her well loved stuffed bear.

13. I remember, drunk on cava and sun, sharing a bed with my mother, we talked and giggled until the children told us to shut up and go to sleep.

14. I remember the stone cold dyke, sprawled across my pillows, fully dressed as she watched me through half closed eyes.

15. I remember K, she of the impossibly long hair and the dazed expression, sleeping over in her tiny bedroom while the eyes of the sacred heart followed our every move, while she confessed that she could see almost nothing, but was too scared to wear glasses in case the mean girls teased her.

16. I remember sleeping in the arms of a stranger on the night train to Berlin.

17. I remember sleeping with my husband of 3 days and wondering if we would ever consumate our marriage.

18. I remember sleeping with yet another J and wondering idly, why we always slept at my house and not hers.

19. I remember sleeping with A in a tipi and waking to find snowflakes drifting across our sleeping bag.

20. I remember waking panic stricken and finding only the absence of R in my bed.

21. I remember a caravan in Norfolk and A pretending to be asleep while waiting for Christmas morning.

22. I remember sleeping in a car with H, but edgy on E, we twisted and turned and finally admitted defeat and went out to re-join the all night dancers.

23. I remember dozing with the un-named Greenham women while we waited for morning and another eviction.

24. I remember lying awake while K snored, snores so loud that it seemed impossible that a single human could make this much noise.

25. I remember Ns’ bed, so dipped and broken that we rolled together into an inevitable embrace.

26. I remember sleeping with an almost famous comedian who insisted on leaning his double base case at the foot of my bed. It loomed over us all night.

27. I remember New Years Eve 1999, D threw pillows at my head when I talked in my sleep.

28. I remember Ms’ home made bed – 6 feet off the floor , we slept like over-sized birds in a wooden nest

29. I remember sleeping with P or more accurately not sleeping with P, as he became more nocturnal, I went to bed earlier each night, some mornings we passed in the corridor as i got up and he went to bed.

30. I remember lying in bed heavily pregnant, my unborn daughter kept me awake even then.

31. I remember the drawings that P made me while i slept.

32. I remember sharing a bed with my sister, we slept top to tail but lay awake to watch the bedroom fire.

33. I remember another R, we would listen to the shipping forecast late at night and he, claiming to be a sailor, would tell me tales of the sea, in retrospect, I see that many of these stories were fictions.

34. I remember watching the old cat as she struggled to make the nightly leap onto the bed.

35. I remember M who in my freezing flat, wore his badly darned yellow jumper as some defence against the cold.

36. I remember another cat, who while i slept, gave birth to 3 tabby kittens.

37. I remember J waking me to tell me that the IRA had got Margaret Thatcher and our dismay when we discovered she was still alive.

38. I remember an un-named man who woke me to tell me that my cats were staring at him.

39. I remember sharing the bed of an older woman, companionate, i dozed, while she railed about the husband who had recently abandoned her.

40. I remember A who swore me to secrecy.

41. I remember another A, we shared a bed because the room was too small to fit another bed.

42. I remember J, a lover so lacking in any talent for the task, but a baker of fabulous bread.

43. I remember the night I lured a model home and the look of disbelief on the faces of those who watched
us leave the club.

44. I remember the husky dog, who as the night went on would move herself further and further up the bed, until, finally, her head would rest on a pillow.

45. I remember the 2 Js, the convenience of 2 lovers with the same name.

46. I remember B, slept with me on Mon, Tues and Weds and with his wife on other days.

47. I remember small bear, wearer of tiny knitted trousers to stop his sawdust stuffing leaking into my bed.

48. I remember staggering home from a dentist, mouth full of blood and H who lay on top of the blanket, patting my hand until the pain killers kicked in

50. I remember C who shared my bed whenever she missed the last bus home to her unfeasibility suburban home.

All, many, some of these may be true, un-true, mis-remembered.



About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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