Author's note: I wrote this a few years ago and then never did anything much with it, but I just came across it again and figured I might as well post it here.


25 January 1956

My birthday. I'm twenty eight years old today. Jeanne took me to lunch and

No, honestly, never mind all that. I'm older than I've ever been before, and I know that sounds absurd but I've been thinking about ...


(Resisting the impulse to write that as small as possible, may have gone overboard? Don't laugh, Susan. Don't cry.)

If it wasn't real, why is the dream so clear in my mind? Not the big things; there's still something impossibly silly about Kings and Queens and treaties with the dwarfs and battles and feasts and magic horns. They called me Susan of the Horn, how absurd!

But sometimes when I'm restless, I put on my coat and go for a walk, and as often as not I give in and take the tube across London to the tower. I walk around and around, and I think about Cair Paravel the last time I was there, when it was in ruins. That's time for you, always taking something away.

I'm invisible in the crowd, leaning against the railing like a tourist, but if I look at the ancient stones and close my eyes half way so everything's blurry, I can almost smell the ocean. The salt smell of the ocean always pervaded Cair Paravel, from the tip of the tallest tower to the lowest balcony overlooking the sea, the one with the best view of sunrise. Oceans on Earth never quite match the familiar smell of the Narnian sea, there's always something not quite right about the smell.

If it wasn't real, where do the quiet memories come from? I can pretend we made up Kings and Queens, but who could make up the scent of an alien sea? And yet

But I was talking about being older, wasn't I? I remember one holiday, after the first time but before the second - it was Peter and I, telling each other stories and pretending, like children do. It was I who wanted to know, but Peter who remembered the anniversaries and then days and weeks, and who did the maths to figure out how old we were to the day, the day we returned from Narnia.

"Fair lady, you appear remarkably young for twenty eight," Peter said, and we both laughed.

It was a year later, of course, so I was twenty seven when we came back. And now I'm twenty eight and my double life is gone. From now on, everything is the first time.

I'm not sure I like that.

I wish I could tell them I miss remembering Narnia, after all these years. But I just bet they would call me self centered; I miss remembering myself.

(All right, enough. Don't wallow, Susan.)