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Charlie Chester I

Charlie Chester I acrylic on canvas board 40 by 30cm

No 12 in the 'Strange and Troubled Past' series

(trigger warning: if you are easily upset or offended then don't read on)

I love swimming, I wish I could swim every day, usually I only get to swim about once a year though. I'm going to make it my goal to swim more this year though and the town we have just moved to has a lido.

I got to thinking about swimming when I was younger, so many nostalgic feelings came to me. The smell of chlorine, that little shallow pool of cold water you had to walk through when going to the pool area, Getting to use lockers was always a novelty to me. I remember the sounds getting louder as you walked in, the sounds of people having fun echoing all around the large enclosed space.

Then a not so fond memory popped into my head, I hadn't thought about it for years.

When I was around ten years old I used to go swimming straight from school with a lad, I'd say friend but I didn't really have friends as a child, just people I tolerated. He would have referred to me as his best mate... alright!, I'd have probably called in the same but like most humans he just did my head in.

We used to go swimming then afterwards go to the café which was upstairs overlooking the pool. It sold these things which were like warm puffy crisps that were sold out of a glass box into paper bags, I remember them being called grits but that's probably wrong. Whenever I've mentioned these to anyone, no one else knows what I'm talking about. Afterwards we'd get a can of coke and a wham bar for the bus home.

This time my friend and I had been going down the water slide then had had enough and were just playing around in the water. There was this guy doing laps of the pool, in my memory he looks a lot like Fred West. All of a sudden he pretended to try and catch us making a roaring sound, we screamed like ten year old boys do and swam to the side and pulled ourselves out of the water and sat on the side.

Then we turned it into a game and were pretending he was a shark and he was playing along with it. We'd wait until he was swimming away then jump in the water, he'd turn around going 'Arrgghh' in a growling tone and we'd both shout 'Shark!' and swim away and climb out onto the side. We'd see who could get closest to him and still get away.

I got too cocky, too close, he caught me.

'Nooo! the sharks got me!' I yelled to my friend.

That's the last thing I said in that moment with childish innocence.

The guy had his hairy arms around me so I was trapped, I was facing away away from him, this all seemed like it was in slow motion, he was doing a mock evil laugh.

Then it happened He pulled me in close then I suddenly felt that he had an erection, he was pressing it against my butt, I couldn't get away and he was pushing it right between my arse cheeks. I'll never forget how that felt through my trunks.

Full blown panic set in, I started flailing my arms about and screaming. My friend was laughing from his victory seat on the side. I somehow managed to get free and swam as fast as if there were a real shark in the pool and got up onto the side.

I said to my friend 'He tried to bum me'

my friend did this weird thing he used to do when he got over excited and rubbed his hands together wringing them and staring at them and going 'Whhhhoooaaaahhh' Then he looked at me with his jaw cocked to one side and said really slowly 'Charlie Chester' then laughed manically.

I laughed back at him and shook my head and called him a doylem.

The guy had swum to the other side, waited for a few minutes (probably for his hard-on to go down), then got out of the pool and walked calm as you like to the changing rooms.

I didn't go swimming for quite a bit after that.

The experience had creeped me out but not affected me that much but I was scared that I'd see him again if I went back, I didn't want to see the shark man again.

I never told anyone about this and I never really thought about it much since. It's weird how memories can just pop up again all these years later.

Ten was a weird age for me, I was growing up and enjoying more independence and going places on my own. In other ways though I still wanted to be a child and play and be lost in my imagination. Two years later I'd be drinking, taking drugs and staying out until whenever I wanted.

Like I stated, this moment didn't seem like such a big deal to me at the time and I don't want to blow it out of proportion and make it into something bigger that it was because I know some people have gone through seriously awful things in their lives and this is nothing in comparison.

The reason I include it in this series is that, over time I think I've come to realise that It did affect me a little. One minute I was playing and was acting like a child, the next moment my innocence was gone and I was all pissed off and introverted, thinking why the 'eff' did that have to happen.

It was just another reason to think that the world was a shitty place and I couldn't trust anyone.

Still, musn't grumble, it's all material and I think it makes for a good painting.

Now onto the next one.

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2 comentarios

Mac’s Art Mojo
Mac’s Art Mojo
12 may 2022

Another great painting and another horrific childhood memory. I remember going to the local swimming baths, as they were called then, now completely gone, when they had little changing cubicles all around the poolside. I remember the little disinfectant pool you had to walk through, sometimes it’d be brown and your feet would turn a horrible yellowish colour. I hope you are finding this all as therapeutic as I find it captivating. There are so many things you bring up in your stories that I can relate to in some way. I didn’t have the same experiences, but they manage to sometimes trigger memories of my own. Thanks for sharing them Jack.

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12 may 2022
Contestando a

Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I love to hear memories from other people sparked off by what I've painted or written. Writing these blogs, I always feel a bit sick after posting them, thinking what am I doing but then I think life's too short to be worrying what people think. It means a lot when I feel they have somehow connected with people. Thanks.

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