I left school in May, 1976… It was the long hot summer, it was the summer when I discovered what that thing was all about… For three months I was engaged to a girl called Jane. I had failed 9 o’levels, due to the fact I’d not gone to school much in the last 18 months… I’d discovered how to bunk off shortly after my Brother had died in an accident, and after a while it became easier to not go to school than it was to go… An awkward meeting with the deputy head… In the eleventh hour I capitulated and went back to take my O’levels, but surprisingly to no avail, as even rudimentary schooling requires some attendance. Given that 1976 was a long hot summer, and I had no prospect of qualifications, I found it some what difficult to find a job. I happily took the £7.59 a week dole money, and lived off the hog. Booze, fags and the delights of nervous sexual adventure. By the time the results came out, and Jane was no more,( leaving the sedentary delights of my amorous endeavours for the better prospects of some guy that was a machinist at Enots) I discovered that the world outside school was not going to welcome me with open arms. I therefore had to come up with a better plan. I persuaded my school to take me back to do resits, and then A’levels.
I had the best of intentions. Then Marie happened.
I used to go home for lunch, as I lived near the school… I was feeling rather miserable a walked back into the school one September lunchtime… I was being berated by parents and teachers alike as I was still not reaching the required standard… I must work harder the familiar refrain shot at me from all sides… To be honest, I had a pretty nihilistic opinion on life and schooling in particular.
Anyway, I walked into the school around the back of the Sports Hall, where all the smokers used to hide out. I was hoping to cadge a fag. Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks,there before me stood a beautiful tall dark girl, a girl I had never met before. She had been in the school for two years, but I had not, so that’s probably why I had missed her.
She was stood chatting to my mate, Morgan who was looking censoriously at the rogue cigarette, anxious not to be caught in the cross-fire should a teacher suddenly appear.
I smiled at Morgan and said Hi. I looked at the girl and said,
“give us a drag”. She smiled and passed the cigarette, I took two long drags and then went to give it her back, just as Mr.Evans appeared around the corner. I cupped the cigarette behind my back, but to no avail. I got a clip around the ear, as he said, “If you want to smoke do it off school premises!”
So, taking him at his word, I turned around and began to walk off the premises. The teacher stood there non-plussed, and as I walked out of the gates I heard a voice call from behind me,
“Hey wait up…”
She, the immortal she, the only one, she ran up beside me.
“Where are you going?”
“Fuck this!”, I said, “I don’t know why I fucking bothered coming back, they still just treat you like a kid.”
“You Want to come back to mine? Have a coffee or something?”
“Who are you? I’ve never seen you here before?”
“I’m Marie. Morgan’s told me all about you.”
” Yeah, I just the talk of the fucking town… Renegade black sheep!”
We went back to her house, a funny pointy roof house I used to call the Witch’s Cauldron.
We sat and talked all afternoon, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. She introduced me to The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. She had me read aloud the chapter on Sex. I sat in an armchair, reading aloud from this bloody book, whilst she sat and my feet, stroking my inner thigh… I thought I was in heaven, and that she was some kind of Goddess, the most exotic and beautiful person I had ever met…
And 42 years later she still is!
God I miss you so much my beloved!