by Sandra Davies


The whole of that summer had been permeated with music and colour and, as Donovan kept saying, with freedom.   And such sky high buzzing happiness.   Donovan's ‘Colours' seemed especially written for me - and yes of course I knew how corny that was - but that was the way I felt then:  light, light as air, light-hearted, and sufficiently full of fun and confidence to allow myself to be corny now and then, to allow myself to enjoy what seemed to be every day sunshine and clear blue skies.


I was just eighteen, had been eighteen on the eighteenth of May, and I'd left school a fortnight later, four weeks early, hadn't gone back after the last exam — what was the point, just to say good bye, good riddance to boring teachers and classmates I'd be glad to see the back of?   Fiddle diddle dee!   For the whole of June I'd no commitments, no plans — and the whole of my life ahead of me — blissfully anticipated.    Even better, I was free from parental observation since they'd gone on a six week Silver Wedding anniversary cruise, leaving, trusting me to look after the house while they were away.  



There was also, now, freedom from the self-consciousness of virginity.   No longer green, because I'd promised him ‘as soon as my last exam is over' and he hadn't forgotten ... although I didn't like to admit, even to myself, that it hadn't been quite as sparklingly wonderful as I'd imagined it would be ...

But of course, now that it was done there was also the freedom - my generation's freedom - from such old fashioned beliefs as ‘wait to be asked' and ‘women don't enjoy it' (which, of course, I expected to disprove during this coming month.)



As the month went on I learned more about freedom.   Other things.   Learned that freedom needs understanding, control, responsibility.   That it takes time to learn its limits, time to learn to use it to be strong and that it was so easy to make mistakes along the way.

I learned that I was not so in control of my desires, my body, my mind so as to be able to enjoy this freedom to the full, not as much as I thought was my right, as had been implied was inevitable.   Not yet confident enough, for example, to feel free to interrupt, to suggest, to demur;  not free of his desires his urgency (‘in the morning, fiddle diddle dee, when I rise')

And if he truly was my True Love, why did I so often feel unhappy, so ‘blue' as other songs had it, so often doubtful about his truly caring for me?   Why did he not understand my doubt, my lack of conviction, my nervousness about his insistence on giving his sperm the freedom to hunt, to chase, to find ... and to successfully penetrate?



And five, six, weeks later, in the yellow light of a vomiting dawn (him not yet risen, fiddle diddle dee, his yellow hair still spread across the pillow, his yellow nature already plotting, I well knew, how and when to leave) I found that freedom shudders, blurs, disintegrates, and disappears.   True love?   Not when he has the freedom to deny, to lie, to walk away.

And under conscience, under ‘right for life' my freedom disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared, and became instead a word I rarely used.  Rarely without thinking at any rate.

Donovan ‘Colours' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX3AnhefltM