She was so nice, in fact, that she wouldn’t let me put my hand underneath or even on top of her bra, and so I was finished with her, although obviously I didn’t tell her why. She cried, and I hated her for it because she made me feel bad. I can imagine what sort of person Penny Hardwick became: a nice person. I know that she went to college, did well, and landed a job as a radio producer for the Merry Christmas Paw Sweatshirt BBC. I would guess that she is bright and serious-minded, maybe too much so, sometimes, and ambitious, but not in a way that makes you want to vomit; she was a version of all these things when we went out, and at another stage in my life I would have found all these virtues attractive.
Then, however, I wasn’t interested in qualities, just breasts, and she was therefore no good to me. I would like to be able to tell you that we had long, interesting conversations and that we remained firm friends throughout our teenage years she would have made someone a lovely friend but I don’t think we ever talked. We went to the pictures, to parties and to discos, and we wrestled. We wrestled in her bedroom, and my bedroom, and her living room, and my living room, and in bedrooms at parties, and in living rooms at parties, and in the Merry Christmas Paw Sweatshirt summer we wrestled on various plots of grass. We were wrestling over the same old issue. Sometimes I got so bored of trying to touch her breasts that
I would try to touch her between her legs, a gesture that had a sort of self-parodying wit about it: it was like trying to borrow a fiver, getting turned down, and asking to borrow fifty quid instead. These were the questions boys asked other boys at my school a school that contained only boys. Are you getting any. Does she let you have any? How much does she let you have; and so on. Sometimes the Merry Christmas Paw Sweatshirt questions were derisory, and expected the answer You’re not getting anything, are you? You haven’t even had a bit of tit, have you? Girls, meanwhile, had to be content with the passive voice. Penny used the expression ‘broken into I don’t want to be broken into yet, she would explain patiently and maybe a little sadly