‘They’ll all come off at the end of September’ I’d said to a friend as we sat in my back garden in June, when the autumn seemed like it would never arrive. In the lime-green freshness of early summer the idea that everything will turn golden and die always seems inconceivable. But everything has its day. As I was talking I was stroking the two or three wristbands I’d collected from a few events I’d attended in the preceding weeks, and for some reason I hadn’t wanted to take them off. Over the next four months the collection expanded up my wrist taking in night clubs, beer festivals, memories and gigs.
In the morning I’d sort out any crumbled ones, check for breakages and apply tape where needed. It became something of a ritual to touch them and reaffirm my memories and experiences. The colour gradually faded and the indications of what event they’d been for washed off. The black marker pen memories greyed to near oblivion. But I could remember where each one had come from. They became part of me, a conversation starter – I even acquired a couple from events friends had attended – they became synonymous with me and my new life.
I knew that they’d have to come off eventually, but throughout the summer they’d driven me on to travel, do new things, taste the sweetness of life – a siren beckoning me to do more, and be more. They had become part of my new identity – I was the girl with the wristbands.
But, now the nights were cooling and darkening, summer’s lease was indeed expiring and it was time to draw this period of adventure to a close and start a new chapter.
At this time of year I always find it natural to want to hunker down, I start dreaming of candlelight, snug fires, cosy blankets and nights in reading. My forgotten recipe books start looking more alluring as I look forward to cooking comfort food and eating with friends and family. I want to be able to come in from the cold cuddle with my cat, take my son out in his wellies for splashy puddle walks and go conker picking.
And so my brain was already starting to detach itself from my drive for summer adventure. I no longer needed the crutch of my wristbands. I’d learned that adventures are there for the taking, I just need to be the one who chooses to take them, and I no longer need an armful of coloured bands to remind me to do that.
So it was on Sunday that without any sense of ceremony, but with a bouncy child shouting ‘mummy can I do it?’ I took a pair of scissors and one by one severed each band from my wrist. They fell curling in coloured heaps on to the worktop revealing a pale band of skin untouched by the sun. Looking now like nothing more than scraps of waxed paper, but to me, they represent a snake skin, I’ve sloughed off the old and started the new. It’s time to go blinking out into the autumn sunshine, or hang my head under the drizzle and see what possibilities the next few months will bring.