Friday 22nd May 1992:
A Very Important Day
Leading up to this day it had been noted, amongst my classmates, that I got on particularly well with a boy in our class called James. Mostly James and I got on because we made each other laugh - a lot - and we were very easy in each other’s company. This must have been a rare thing (we were 11) and clearly our friendship stood out because our meddling classmates decided we should be boyfriend and girlfriend, and James and I agreed - without ever speaking directly to one another about it.
In fact, we never spoke to each other again. OK - that’s an exaggeration. We did speak again, months later, once the whole sorry thing was over. In fact, James and I were great friends throughout our teens and remain in touch today (thank you, James, for allowing me to use your real name here). But the month or so we were ‘together’ (by which I mean the exact opposite of together) was excruciating and confusing in equal measure.
My diary entries are a mix of excitement: “I have a boyfriend!” And fear: “I’m going to the youth club - I hope James doesn’t ask to dance with me.” I even wrote a list of things I didn’t want to happen in our 'relationship' (see one of the photos below. Cringe.)
We were together for exactly 5 weeks. We became an item on a Friday and 5 Fridays later James ‘chucked’ me and asked another girl out at the Youth Club - what a love rat! Not one word was spoken between us from the moment we became ‘an item’ to the moment we broke up. Despite clearly not wanting to go out with James, I was incensed that he had chucked me and wrote this in my diary: “He is just a user and if someone else goes out with him I’ll leave it to them to find out what he’s really like.”
A couple of weeks after our demise we left the safe haven of Primary School and once the summer holidays were over we found ourselves in the Big School - the local Comp - and James and I were the only members of our old class to get into the ‘top set’. I think the summer holiday acted as a reset button, and though we didn’t address the weirdness of our unwanted and unasked for relationship directly we silently - as silently as we had got together - decided to never speak of it ever again (until we were teenagers and thought it was the funniest thing ever). We quietly picked up where we left off - and where we were much better off - as friends.
Here are some of the (excruciating) extracts:
(JBB = his initials - and 'Brodders' = his nickname)
"He's just a user but if someone went out with him I'd leave it to them to find out what he is really like."
Just underneath: "Hi Dudes" - I was moving on.
(This photo makes me nostalgic for my 8-colour pen which was ALSO SCENTED.)
Quotes From My Teenage Diaries is an ongoing project as I re-read and reflect on the diaries I kept from the age of 11 to 16.
There's a Facebook page too and soon - I hope - there will be a podcast.
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