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Super 8

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“And that of course is Mary,” he added, after a few seconds. The camera operator had been particularly taken with a coltish blonde ten-year-old in a blue gingham dress, white socks and sandals. Mary’s father was recording her birthday attentively. Would Judy have known that girl was Mary? There was something in the almond eyes and the broad face that connected the child with the woman to whom David and Judy now turned. They could see her through the French windows, in the middle of her garden, being photographed at the centre of a group of friends. She had her arms round the shoulders of the women on each side of her, and was radiating contentment.

“In fact,” David said, “They are all in the film. Or many of them are.” They turned back to the silent scenes of running, shouting, wrestling and eating that flickered on the wall. “Jenny is beside her right now.” He pointed at the image of a dark-haired waif, smaller than most of the others, who was holding Mary’s hand in the film as the two of them stood watching the others play.

“And Philip.” David pointed again, this time to a handsome assertive boy, already full of physical presence, who was organizing things in the 1960 party. He was hammering wickets into the lawn with the handle of a bat one minute, and then re-emerged with his hands on his hips, supervising the game.

“Is Philip here today?”

“Oh yes,” David nodded enthusiastically. “Come with me.” He took Judy’s elbow in a somewhat old-fashioned gesture and took her out into the sunshine. They paused for a moment on the terrace, and then set off towards a group of three couples holding plates. He homed in on an overweight man in a linen suit, who saw them coming and slightly detached himself from the group.

“Philip! This is Judy.”

“Judy?” Philip was readjusting, but prepared to be civil.

‘I work with Mary at the Department,” she ventured.  “David and I were just watching the home movies of you as a boy.”

That had come out a bit wrong. It sounded as though they were investigating him, or had a point to prove.

“Home movies of me?”

“Well, of Mary and her friends at birthday parties when you were all children. David was in them.”

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