First loves, what an imprint they leave.
Mine was at the tender age of nine and Jeremy Wilding, you still sprint across my mind sometimes. Where are you now - and did you ever realise what destructive emotional path you set me on?
I was the class geek. The one with sticky-out teeth and bottle-bottom NHS glasses (the pointy, Edna Everage-esque ones that came in pink, blue or green. Mum said I had to have blue because the pink ones made me look like a rabbit. I don’t know what she’d got against green). And, I hate to pin this on you, old flame, but you are the boy who set the blueprint from which each of my failed romances took their lead.
Here’s the agonising love story; Jeremy was an identical twin. At Whiston Saville Road Juniors we couldn’t tell them apart. I had to tolerate his brother Andrew in science lessons. Like all boys, he hated all girls. But one day, he came really close and whispered in my ear: “I’m not Andrew. I’m Jeremy. I’ve swapped so I can sit next to you...”
I was stunned. Why would anyone want to go to so much effort to sit next to ME? By way of an answer, he pointed to his milky-white thigh and turned back the cuff on his shorts to reveal a Biro heart bearing three words which were to change my life: I luv you.
I turned crimson and fell in luv right back out of sheer gratitude. It became the pattern of my relationships ever after. A lad showed me a bit of attention and whumph, that was me, falling head over heels.
I should have looked beyond the end of my nose all those years ago. It would have saved me much heartbreak. The real reason why he wanted to sit next to me? My specs. All that about boys not making passes at girls who wear glasses? They do when they can’t see the blackboard.
Turned out, Jeremy was short-sighted himself but not wanting to admit to it, he sat himself next to the one girl in class he could be absolutely sure would be able to see Mrs Thorpe’s looping chalk script. He used that inky heart to worm his way into my affections, the cad. Once smitten, I let him copy from my jotter.
Did he grow up to be a romancer, playing on women’s heartstrings? I often wonder. Though one thing I do know about Jeremy; he’ll be wearing glasses. I unwittingly spragged on him when the teacher queried our identical work. I guess he’ll always remember the girl who shattered his streetcred.