In 1976 Chris and I went to Brazil. Chris was always more comfortable bringing me everywhere with her and that meant I went with her to see a famous healer who had ‘magic hands’, he could reach into somebody’s body and pull out whatever poisons were making them sick and not leave a scar or even a mark on their body. It was all really exciting, there was lots of noise and flashing colours all around and a thick sweet smell in the air. It was nighttime and there was a crowd of people in a circle watching the man with the magic hands, he was wearing white. I remember Christine holding me tight.
Somebody was lying on a table in front of the man with the magic hands who was standing above them. Then with all the noise and the thick smell in the air he seemed to reach into their stomach and rummage about. There was a small pool of blood around his fingers as he was working and then he pulled out a piece of grisly flesh, lifted it up and showed everyone. It was disgusting. That night left me with a strong and vivid memory that I could never forget.
Chris would often tell friends the story and when I was still very young. I asked her what she thought about that night. “It was all rubbish, he had some giblets or something in his hand before be started - I could see them,’ and then she said, “Wish you had seen it.”
There was a pause, everything slowed down, I remember thinking through what she had said. “I was there,” I told Chris. I was there. I remember the smells, the colours, the little pool of blood around the wound, there not being a wound after he had wiped away the blood, but she told me how she couldn’t take me, and how there was no way they would let children go to that sort of thing.
“Then where was I?” I said.
“Don't know where you were, but you can’t have been there?” She said.
It doesn't change the story if I was there or not, one of us just forgot a little detail, and I was only five.
Anyway, I was there and I always won at Scrabble.