Her name was Anne Marie and her finger nails were covered with fascinating white specks. She lived in a house painted bright red, situated on the other side of the road from me. She was a year older than I and possessed a remarkable skill: she was an impressive bubble gum chewer. An expert in fact. We used to sit on the lawn in her garden, chewing Sweet Mint and blowing bubbles. One after another, our very own grand bubble blowing championship.
Big, bigger, biggest. Explosion. Repeat.
I was the loser, always, because nobody could stretch the gum like Anne Marie. Blessed with an impeccable chewing rhythm, her jaws were strong as steel and lubricated to peak performance with an abundance of synovial fluid. Combined with a remarkable lung capacity and perfected breath control, she produced bubbles so enormous they covered her entire face, her features appearing like a water colour sketch through the opaque film of pink gum.
Her bubble gum expertise made me completely doolally, and my infatuation with Anne Marie lasted that entire summer when I was ten and a half, and Anne Marie approaching twelve. Over that lawn with a boy and a girl blowing bubbles the sun shone at all hours every day.
So my memory tells me.