What’s this?
A hair!
She left a hair on the board!
It’s mine now.

The impending splash (2000)

The silver girlone of the unfortunates I had a crush on – was, through no design of her own, the unwilling recipient of yearning, angsty poetry. I spent my time, during breaks and lunch, in the library writing it.

We had a sort of routine. Einstein would sit there, saying very little; Lightsinthesky would be working on one of his unspeakably violent sci-fi novels or trying to draw what the inside of a black hole looked like; Music Man would be writing things in ɿɘvɘɿƨɘ, ɒƨ wɒƨ ʜiƨ wɒγ; Man o’ War and our token black friend would be engaged in some sort of discourse about the events of the day…

…and I’d be writing my poetry.

Whether or not the silver girl, with whom I later became friends, was ever aware of what I was doing was uncertain, but I’m fairly sure she didn’t know. I certainly never showed it to her; I also had the only hard copy of what was essentially becoming an anthology of woe (although I typed it up, thirty poems later, for my GCSE English teacher to read). Life kept chugging on, but my crush stayed doggedly stuck where it was, and so the poetry kept coming.

The Christmas holidays came and went, and for those two weeks I refrained, before writing one on the very last day about how she probably hadn’t thought about me, not even once.

Eventually, after months of complete inaction and some incredibly embarrassing moments, I wrote The Impending Splash. This was a completely fictional yarn about going swimming with her (ironically, since going swimming with her was how I originally noticed her attractiveness), waiting for my turn on the diving board (again, ironic; I don’t do diving boards) and noticing, before picking up and keeping, one of her hairs (although where I’d put it while wearing nothing except Speedos…).

It’s only yesterday that I realised how creepy that sounds. Certainly her hair was pretty, but I didn’t actually need to own any of it. Take that to its logical extreme and there’s some stalker-level stuff there.

You may be pleased to hear that real-life ILB didn’t then start following the silver girl around looking for loose hairs to plunder. In fact, I stayed far away from her in case she suddenly became physically aggressive in some attempt to exact revenge for my desire. As the years went on, and we gradually became friends (me ardently following her career as she became briefly, but deservedly, famous), my love waned, and with it went my desire to touch – maybe not take, but at the very least touch – her hair.

And then, after a GCSE Science class, she left some of her hair behind – having briefly brushed it before getting off her seat. Loose strands drifted to the floor, little blonde wisps… and I was the only person to notice.

Go on, ILB. You know you want to.

“Hey, ILB! You coming?” Einstein called from the corridor.
“Right,” I replied, bustling off after him, leaving the silver girl’s hair where it lay…

…making sure, as I did, to touch it – ever so briefly – with my foot.