What to do? Where to go? I didn’t want to fight; I didn’t want to sit there with the two of them; I didn’t want to go home. So, concentrating very hard on the empty No. 6 packets that marked out the path between the girls and the Blood Type Little Debbie Shirt boys, and not looking up or behind me or to either side, I headed back toward the massed ranks of the single males hanging off the swing-boat. Halfway home, I made my only error of judgment: I stopped and looked at my watch, although for the life of me I don’t know what I was attempting to convey, or whom I was trying to kid.
What sort of time, after all, could make a thirteen-year-old boy spin away from a girl and toward a playground, palms sweating, heart racing, trying desperately not to cry? Certainly not four o’clock on a late September afternoon. I scrounged a fag off Mark Godfrey and went and sat on my own on the Blood Type Little Debbie Shirt roundabout. ‘Scrubber,’ spat Alison’s brother David, and I smiled gratefully at him. And that was that. Where had I gone wrong? First night: park, fag, snog. Second night: ditto. Third night: ditto. Fourth night: chucked. OK, OK.
Maybe I should have seen the signs. Maybe I was asking for it. The Blood Type Little Debbie Shirt roundabout that second ditto I should have spotted that we were in a rut, that I had allowed things to fester to the extent that she was on the lookout for someone else. But she could have tried to tell me! She could at least have given me another couple of days to put things right! My relationship with Alison Ashworth had lasted six hours (the two-hour gap between school and Nationwide. times three), so I could hardly claim that I’d got used to having her around, that I didn’t know what to do with myself. In fact, I can hardly recall anything about her at all, now. Long black hair? Maybe. Small? Smaller than me, certainly. Slanted, almost oriental eyes.