A bullet on a chain. It had belonged to my brother, and shortly after switching schools I began wearing it as a talisman. I fancied that it could ward off evil spirits and provide me with confidence into the bargain. Drawing strength from the surprisingly-heavy nine millimetre round hanging from my neck, I enjoyed many firsts; first house party, first kiss, first girlfriend, first break-up, first day in college, first unbeaten league season… Ok, so that last one was more a first for the Arsenal than for me personally, but it still felt incredibly momentous, alright?
Having such an unusual totem also led to my being interviewed, live on-air, by the now-defunct Spin 103.8 radio station. They had been asking people to get in touch regarding weird and wonderful lucky charms, so I texted in. They found it sufficiently bizarre to ring me up and quiz me all about it. Suffice it to say that I made a total tit of myself during the ensuing conversation, but thankfully no record seems to exist of that broadcast. Phew!
The item was eventually lost during a late-night drinking session in a pub. Funny how often losing something occurs when you are inebriated in public, innit? It might have been in Doyle’s…or Doran’s…or somewhere else beginning with ‘D’…a dungeon, maybe? Anyhow, It had outlived its usefulness, and I was getting sick of the strange looks I’d get whenever I tried explaining why I wore such an object on an almost-constant basis.
That’s when the purple & white bracelet made its appearance. I’m reasonably sure that I spotted the accessory on Bachelor’s Walk, presumably upon exiting the flat I was living in at the time. Dunno why I was so drawn to it…or why I decided to immediately begin wearing it, but the little band became a permanent fixture around my left wrist.
Symbolically, it was there to remind me of Amy – a girl in my original secondary school, the King’s Hospital, who took her own life at the beginning of Fifth Year, the year I had actually left for Ashfield College. We had no real connection – though she was a lovely person – beyond the unspoken, unrealised bond of suicidal depression. However, for the years I wore the bracelet before wear & tear tore it asunder, her memory served to keep me strong and to keep in mind, no matter how bad things got, that I had opportunities that she would now never have.
It was trite and self-aggrandising, cheap and thoughtless. To make a whole other person’s life and death into a motivational footnote, summed up in a tiny garment, is insulting and disrespectful. In my defence, I was a stupid young man – in my late teens and early twenties – and I was clinging to any sort of sentimental superstition that could get me through the day. The reality of Amy’s existence was powerful and poignant for me, in spite of the crude way I chose to use it.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…♥