Remember your first date? Were you nervous? I was absolutely terrified. I remember it like it happened yesterday.
I turned up, shiny as a new pin having been washed and brushed until I glowed like the kids in the Ready Brek advert on TV. I wore my best Wrangler jeans, hipster style, complete with leather belt and gleaming buckle.
My ‘look,’ was topped off with a pair of highly polished Chelsea boots and a 'flower power' shirt that wouldn't have looked out of place hanging in my Gran's bay window
My hair was long, and parted in the middle as the fashion of the day dictated. I had made sure I was wearing clean underpants, although there was absolutely no chance that the object of my affections would be interested in them, let alone their contents.
My mum's much delivered advice, about going out in clean pants in case you were run over had obviously managed to worm its way into a subconscious area of my brain which the maths teacher's strictures on algebraic equations had spectacularly failed to find.
I stood there for what seemed like hours.
My vigil began in brilliant sunshine, but as the clock ticked the rain clouds gathered and a steady downpour washed away my optimism as swiftly as it cleared the old cigarette stubs from the gutter
Thinking back, had she actually turned up, she may well have missed me. I was standing in a flowered shirt, in front of a show garden bursting with some of the biggest blooms I'd ever seen. It wouldn't have been a total surprise if she had mistaken me for a bunch of dahlias and thinking she had been stood up, gone home.
Anyway, as history records, she didn't turn up
Unbeknown to me, five minutes after I had finally plucked up the courage to mumble the words I had practiced for days on end, 'would you come to the pictures with me on Friday, Pauline?' she had accepted a better offer from the class swot who had sworn her to secrecy in case I went looking for him to exact revenge. I also think he offered to give her a hand with the algebraic equations that had floated over my head like a mathematical zephyr.
My ideal date back then!
I had been secretly in love with Pauline for weeks; I couldn't think of anything but her. My concentration was shot. I struggled in lessons. The algebra stood as much chance as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.
I remember having to walk to school at least twice because I had let the bus go without me as I stood at the bus stop, dreaming about some unlikely rendezvous
I wasn't imagining sex; she was far too nice a girl for smutty thoughts like that.
This was different. This was my raison d’etre. Our relationship was written in the stars. My destiny stared back at me from behind those soft, dark brown eyes.
I daydreamed of walking through summer meadows and along endless sandy beaches, hand in hand
She would laugh delightedly at my amazing wit, gasp in wide eyed wonder as I recounted tales from my heroic past. She was in awe at my comprehensive knowledge of the laws of football. Keats-like poems, made up on the spot, made her heart ache with love and longing. Algebra was nothing to us.
I didn't ask her why she stood me up although I had plenty of opportunity over the coming days; she was in my class for half a dozen subjects. Instead I assumed an air of injured dignity. I wore what I imagined to be a look of pained loss.
My heart was broken.
I drew a large broken heart on the cover of my jotter and coloured the oozing blood, deep red. I tried to ignore the sniggering of my classmates, who by now knew the whole sordid story. They had been primed by the vicious, grinning, gloating class swot, who not only got to take MY future bride to the cinema, but had copped a crafty feel on the back row in the process.
My heart, like the roughly drawn organ on my jotter, was in pieces
I was rescued from mooning around, lovelorn, for too long by my maths teacher who asked me, (in front of the class,) if I was constipated and on hearing my denial told me (and the class,) that the look on my pain-etched face could only have been put there by constipation or period pains and as I took gym with the boys, he was certain it wasn't the latter.
Algebra from way back when
I stuck my head in my algebra book, cursed the world, God and Pauline and attempted to understand why the fact that 2(e + 3) = (2 • e) + (2 • 3) = 2e + 6, was in any way relevant to my life or future prospects.