Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Love (Page 1 of 2)

ILB’s posts about love, crushes, limerence and suchlike

Connections

I started a new job this week.

It is, to use the common parlance, about bloody time. I’m aware some people have been off work for much longer, but – as much as I complain about it – unemployment does not suit me. I’d be happy sitting at home drinking tea and playing HuniePop, with the occasional foray into sex blogging, but I need the routine and innate satisfaction that my chosen industry gives me.

Before you ask, no, I’m not in porn. I’m also no longer an actor. But still.

Like most other things in my life, this came along basically by chance. I got the call last week, and this week has been effectively a trial week. I was told I’d get more work this morning while making the coffee that’s been sustaining me.

When I mentioned the workplace a couple of weeks ago, my mother (who has the same sort of mental Rolodex as I do) instantly mentioned somebody I haven’t thought of for years. She had worked there too, and might have been able to give me some information. Did I want her contact number?

What my mother doesn’t know is that I already have her contact number.

For a while – and when I say “a while” I’m referring to the fact that I’m not entirely sure how long – I was sort-of-kind-of trying to date her. My mother, who had seen her crying at work and felt her parenting instincts kick in, invited her around for dinner at one point and I promptly spent the entire evening flirting being friendly. A month or so later, we went to see my mother in concert together (she was in a wind orchestra for a while); after filling up with millionaire’s shortbread, we exchanged numbers.

I wasn’t sure where to go from this point. I was recently out of a relationship and didn’t really know how to ask someone out (long-term readers may remember that I don’t). But, after weeks of dithering and indecision, my dad – who is a wizard – told me to ask her out.

But I’m an idiot who doesn’t know how to do that, so I asked my mother to ask her if she would like to get a coffee with me at some point. Mother reported back that coffee sounded nice, and to just text her to ask.

Which is, incidentally, what I should have done to begin with.

We never did go for a coffee. Our available dates didn’t match up, and the one time they did, she had a death in the family during the preceding week. She eventually moved into a relationship, as did I, and what we were left with was a distant friendship.

So I got in contact with her. Her cheery voice shines through her texts – in every letter. Her use of emoji radiant. Her positive attitude infections. By my second day at work, I felt confident in dropping her name. Everyone has something positive to say about her. Everyone says hello, so I have more excuses to continue texting.

Maybe I’ll get that coffee after all.

Missive to a Miss

Between ten and fifteen years ago I had a stop-over in Manchester on the way home from… somewhere up north; I forget where, exactly. I know Manchester with a kind of vague familiarity which makes it seem both navigable and forbidding.

Seeing as I only had about 45 minutes to kill, rather than heading out to do anything interesting, I walked down a street I knew from Piccadilly Station, into a corner shop, and bought a sandwich, a chocolate bar, crisps, a Sprite and an issue of Batman: Legends.

On my way back to the station I pulled out my Nokia 8210 and started writing an SMS message.

[Pause while ILB feels himself age exponentially and is suddenly confronted by his own mortality. As you were.]

I’m in Manchester briefly for a stop-over from [wherever it was]. How are you doing?

My message was, as far as I was aware, loaded with subtext. There was a lot to be said in “how are you doing?”. Quite clearly, in fact, my text had a much deeper meaning. What it genuinely said was something like, “hey, I know we’re friends, but I’ve genuinely got a crush on you and I wanted to tell you that from a safe enough distance so I don’t get hit. Manchester is very far away so it seems like the right time.”

Except that was all hidden. Hopefully, however, she’d get the message. It was Valentine’s, so obviously she would.

I’m not well, she pinged back. Laid up in bed with a terrible virus – well, you’ve got to end up in bed with something on Valentine’s 😉 I hope you are okay!

It wasn’t the message I was expecting to get back. But then again, it wasn’t a bad message, either. I was sorry to hear she was unwell, and so I thought I’d respond, trying to avoid the obvious “I’d rather it were me in your bed” comments which I would never have had the balls to send in the first place.

I’m sorry to hear that, I tapped back. Maybe I can see you soon once you feel better? Happy Valentine’s!

Yes, that seemed safe.

I swiped back in at Manchester Piccadilly and was just scanning the board for whichever train would get me southbound as soon as possible when my text alert sounded again. My heart, which was already beating painfully fast due to the fact that I’d sent an unsolicited Valentine, ricocheted around my chest for a while before it settled down enough to get my hand into my pocket.

Happy Valentine’s to you too!

I stood there in something between shock and awe. Here, on a screen in front of me, was a response to a Valentine which didn’t consist of revulsion, ignorance or outright rejection. From someone who I actually fancied. On Valentine’s Day itself. With an exclamation mark!

What could this mean?!

I found my train, got a double seat to myself, set up my lunch and fired up one of the CDs I’d brought with me to keep me entertained throughout the journey.

But I didn’t reply to her message… for I had nothing else to say.

Or, at least, I did.

But I wasn’t going to, was I?

Watering Hole

You’ve got infinite patience
And the scent of the sea
Love these days when I’m near you
Watering hole, watering hole

Scene: It’s 8pm or thereabouts, and it’s autumn, so it’s already dark outside. I’m sleepy – leaning to the right, my head resting against the cool glass. The rain rolls down the window, and as I let my eyes blur, the watery shades of cars going past become little, indistinct lights. The M1 is busy – it’s always busy – but I’m in my little bubble here, so I’m all right.

I’ve got James’ seventh studio album Whiplash in my Sony Discman, my trusty, battered headphones putting up a valiant effort and filling my ears with the familiar music. I’ve listened to this album so many times in the past couple of years. Among all the tracks, hidden behind things like She’s a Star and Waltzing Along, sits Watering Hole. I have no idea exactly what the recording process for this was. But it’s trippy.

The rumble of the coach’s wheels, the whoosh – whoosh – whoosh of the cars beetling down outside, the constant patter of rainfall on the pitch-black windows and the deadpan mumble of Tim Booth all blend into one.

I may be chill, but I’m not content. The weekly coach trip back to London means that I’ve had to leave Rebecca, once again. The trip there, on Friday evenings with my magic box, is a fun one, full of anticipation and excitement (and perhaps a little horn). On the way back, it’s a feeling of deflation. I may, of course, be filled with good memories, accomplishments, achievements and a general good feeling (and, let’s be honest, probably well-fucked, too, as we tended to have sex just before I left).

But it’s not a good feeling. Nothing positive is awaiting me at home. I have work tomorrow and I hate it there. I’m not fond of school right now, either; it’s far too stressful and doesn’t really let up. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, but that’s about it. Whiplash is my saving grace. I’ve got Gold Mother in my box as well, so I might put that on next.

I do this every week, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise. It doesn’t, really. I’ll do it again next week. And the week after that. And the week after that, as well.

A cloud shifts and the dark, rainy M1 is temporarily bathed in milky moonlight. This makes me feel better, for some reason.

And I start planning next week in my head.

Trichofurarimania

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.

QuoteQuest & KOTW: The ILB who Loves to Love

We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

tim robbins

I’m a horny sex blogger. I write posts about porn, oral, and dirty sex. I love sex, even though I haven’t had any for years. I’ll talk about it. I’ll promote it. Hours can pass and I’ll still be discussing it… with no filter. Thirteen years of sex blogging does that to a boy.

And yet I’m still thoroughly aware that, love sex as I do, my focus has always been on love.

I mean, it’s in my handle, c’mon.

I’ve always found it easy to fall in love… possibly too easy. It’s never been easy to actually be in love – successive teenage crushes on which I never acted making me increasingly upset as life went on. In a few years, I went from occasional glances to out-and-out pining, and finally to going home every single day to cry for an hour because I was in love. Since the age of about 13, in fact, there hasn’t once been a time where I didn’t have, if not genuine love, an “official” crush.

I didn’t, however, actually entertain the idea that my affections would ever be reciprocated. Despite my Head of Year (to whom I was quite close) telling me that people would be flattered, I was convinced – fairly quickly, as it matters – that I was unlovable. It didn’t do to be fancied by ILB. I was fairly convinced, throughout my miserable ecstasies, that those who I loved must have been constantly wondering what they did wrong.

If they thought about me at all. I’m not sure if any of them did.

Careful! Or I’ll fall in love with you!

innocent loverboy

Love, to me, has always been associated with guilt. I’m still sorry to the people I loved. But I can’t take any of it back. I may have fallen in love easily, but it’s not like I could control it.

In the more recent years, even though I’ve been in genuine, actual, real long-term relationships, I’ve still struggled with the concept. My dark moments tell me that, no, I can’t be loved. Girlfriends have cheated, or cast me adrift, or become so critical that every night was a challenge. Every time I get close, life seems to conspire to remind me of this. I am unlovable.

I’m trying, and believe me that I am, to convince myself otherwise.

It isn’t easy.

But I’m working on it.

QuoteQuest

…as mustard

“Oh, you are desperate, aren’t you?” she said, although with a coquettish little smile which made it clear that she wasn’t averse to this.

I mean, of course she wasn’t. She liked the fact that she could make me hard in a matter of seconds. And she was sitting on me. There wasn’t much left she had to do.

“I’m not desperate,” I protested. “I’m just… keen.”
“You’re keen?”
Keen. That’s the word.”

I didn’t elaborate; neither did I do so while we stayed there, curled together on the big chair, or during dinner later on, or watching the requisite amount of Nickelodeon followed by Have I Got News For You that evening. I didn’t elaborate, although I probably didn’t need to, later that night as I closed my lips around her pert nipple. By the time my very hard, very warm and very thick penis was inside her, the time for elaboration had long passed.

Although I didn’t think to tell her why I was keen (“I’m horny and you are hot” was certainly part of it, but maybe not all…), there was certainly a reason. As there was for every single time we had sex.

I’d been very tightly wound for most of the week. We all knew I’d be having sex on Friday evening, and with her. And we knew where we’d be doing it, and for what it’s worth, there was always a ballpark figure as to when. My friends, who knew all this, liked to tease. My token black friend had, that evening, texted “Got any action yet??” while I was still on the coach. I hadn’t even left London.

There was also the fact that I was perhaps the third, or fourth or fifth (it’s unclear; I can think of about four, but who knows?) in my year to lose what Lightsinthesky charmingly termed the “flashing V”. I didn’t brag, nor did I go into too much detail (…says the explicit sex blogger), but it was well-known. Some people were aghast; some were confused; some were repulsed. The most common reaction was polite bafflement, which I would take.

I would also take the gentle teasing in good humour. It wasn’t the relentless taunting to get a reaction my bullies had done a few years prior. At the very least, having a serious girlfriend made me interesting. Nobody, especially me, had thought I’d ever get one. My parents, even, had a bet going as to whether Einstein, Robinson, or I would be the first to have a girlfriend. It looked like a close-run thing.

And, of course, I’d Completely Given Up.™

Having a girlfriend gave me the sort of attention I so desperately craved. I wasn’t just the smart guy any more. I was the smart guy with the active sex life. I would object to people terming her my “bird” (because, as a human being, she wasn’t a bird!), but at the end of the day, I liked the sort of explicit mysticism that came with this. And it made my final year of a difficult school life one in which I was, for the first time, genuinely positive.

But it was the constant talk, the references, the questions – and the suggestive texts from her with a heavy abundance of 😉 – which wound me up. That, and the fact that I didn’t masturbate and would watch soft porn during the week anyway… and the fact that we had a sort of routine worked out. If I made it through the week, onto the train on time, and then the coach, and if I made sure that she was getting as much pleasure as I was, then we’d both be satisfied – messy, exhausted, drenched in sweat, and (in her case) full of cum – but satisfied.

And that’s why I was so keen.

On the way back home, I got a call while walking through Victoria Station from my token black friend, “in case you was getting any action with your bird.” He seemed rather put out that I was already back in London.

But it didn’t stop him asking questions.

I think he was keen, too.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer

I don’t remember her name. In all honesty, I don’t remember much about that night. What with the amount of free alcohol involved, I’m almost certain she doesn’t remember me at all… but I don’t drink, so I remember her.

It was the first and only time I’d ever been to a party held by members of the British aristocracy. I wasn’t aware, for a few years, that I was friends with Lord Grey’s daughter. She had mentioned a signet ring a few times, but I didn’t think much of that, either. I think it was the mention of the name of her house that tipped me off… but, in any case, I was surprised – if pleased – to be invited.

I told her once that I had a crush on her, so I think she may have felt weird about it. That was never mentioned again, though, so…

In any case, there I was, on the dancefloor getting down to Make Me Smile by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – incidentally the song I’d gotten dressed to that morning – and waiting for the inevitable roar that accompanies Mr. Brightside, as a song about being cheated on is really what you want accompanying a joyous party.

Wait, what was this blog post about again?

So, yes. I don’t remember her name. I remember that she was shorter than me (but then a lot of people are); I also remember frizzy hair, a wide smile and, of course, that she was very pretty. But then everyone was. Everyone who’s unattainable is fucking beautiful. In my defence, she started talking to me first.

“Hey!” she beamed. “How old are you?”
Yes, it’s an odd opener, but at least it’s one I was able to answer.
“Hi! I’m nineteen,” I said. “How old are you?” I added, a split-second before realising that this was probably a rude question to ask.
“You’re nineteen?” she said, aghast. “You look older. I’m thirty.”
“You look younger,” I said, as I assumed that was the right thing to say. She certainly did look younger than thirty; I wasn’t sure whether to feel flattered or insulted that she had decided I look old. I settled for being politely befuddled.
“I want a drink; do you want a drink?” she ejaculated, at which a servant (yes, I know) appeared with a tray of beverages. I took a Diet Coke, which was probably the only thing without any alcohol in it.
“So, I…” I started, at which point she interrupted with, “see you later!” and swanned off. Which was probably a good thing, as I didn’t really know what I was going to say.

“ILB! Come dance!” yelled my aristocratic friend from the middle of a mill of bodies.
“I thought I was?”
“No, you’ve just been talking to…” [I forget her name, as I said above!] “…come here and dance!”

I took a swig of my Diet Coke, and went to dance.

About an hour of wearing my legs out later, she found me again. She had had a little more alcohol by this point.
“Here’s an observation,” she said over the music (which had somehow become exponentially louder – I suppose that the manor house we were in wasn’t exactly in a residential area), “you’re nineteen, I’m thirty, and that shouldn’t matter!”
“It doesn’t,” I agreed, “time is a concept.”

I didn’t talk to her again, although as my level of blood sugar began to wane, it slowly began to dawn on me that I may have been being flirted with. It’s the right environment to do it, as well – if everything goes wrong, you can use the music as an excuse to get out quick. But this wasn’t your average student disco – it was a birthday party at a manor house, hosted by the aristocracy – so what exactly was she trying to achieve?

Let’s assume, for impossibility’s sake, that she was flirting with me, but put off by the fact that I was indecently young, and that I reciprocated. Now let’s assume, further to that, that we pulled. Where were we meant to go from there? Everyone was going to be in sleeping bags in a huge marquee out on the lawn after the party, so what exactly would we do? Get into one together and hope that nobody noticed?

As it turned out, it didn’t matter. She vanished after a while. As it turned out, she lived in the local area. So she just walked home.

I quaffed a few more Diet Cokes before realising that I’d forgotten my sleeping bag… and that Meg, who had driven me up there, had hers clearly visible.

So I did end up in a sleeping bag with someone else that night, after all.

History Crush

It was the summer of 2004 and I was walking down the crowded History corridor on the top floor of my university (the only corridor related to History – it was a squashed department, as my tutor was continuously telling anyone who would listen). Perhaps “walking” is not the accurate verb – nobody could call what I was doing walking. A more appropriate description would be a sort of ungainly quickstep to avoid the hustle and bustle.

It had also been my last lecture/seminar of the week – on a Friday morning, so I had the rest of the weekend off – and I was considering my options for lunch. I was to-ing and fro-ing between cheese and onion sandwiches or chips’n’cheese from the on-campus pizza place… but, before a decision could be made, my 1337 crowd-dodging skills failed me, and I walked headlong into Sherri.

Sherri, to her credit, didn’t seem to mind that I had walked into her. She never seemed to mind too much about anything, really. But her bright and breezy demeanour was precisely what endeared her to me; it made a change from the neo-Gothic blackness of what my relations were going through at the time (and the ambiguous indifference of the people in hall with me).

“Oh! Sorry,” I said, for want of something to say.
“It’s okay, it’s okay!” she sparkled, flashing me a huge smile with lots of teeth.

There was a pause which seemed far too long.

“Well…”
“Yes…”
“Sherri…?”

I hadn’t meant to say her name before walking off. The fact remains, however, that I did… and now I had to think of something to say. She was looking expectant, so…

Sherri, I have a crush on you. No, that was too direct. I wasn’t even sure that I did have a crush on her. I was clutching my History notebook at the time, and that still had my ex-girlfriend’s name on the back, in permanent marker (and it never came off, either). I could have said I fancy you, but that was far too ’90s. I even considered something odd like, hey, I had a dream where we were kissing, isn’t that funny? but that just sounded creepy when it popped into my head.

Whatever I was going to say, the fact remained that I had, in fact, rehearsed the scenario of exchanging more than simple pleasantries with Sherri more than a few times in my own head, and coincidentally, the bit of the corridor in which we were standing (blocking the doorway) was the precise location we had envisioned it.

“I like you,” I’d say. “In that way. But I don’t want that to change anything. I just wanted you to know.” I’d walk off, and there would be a few minutes of walking down the stairs and through the campus from different angles. In the end, Sherri would run after me, and catch me off-guard with a kiss.

I mean, obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Nobody had a crush on me. The fact that anyone at all would want to kiss me was beyond the reach of human understanding. Sherri, whatever else she might have been, was completely unattainable, just like all the others.

“Are you going to be taking the History module on World War I next year?” was what I eventually got around to asking. It was a fair question – I was going to be taking it despite the fact that I was doing an English degree – and I would have liked to see her again, for fairly obvious reasons.
“Oh… no, I don’t think so,” she answered. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“Right, well, yes, of course,” I said, although what I meant to say was something like, That’s a shame, because I have a crush on you and I want to work with you again next year. I didn’t say that, of course.

We parted ways, and I walked down the staircase and back towards hall, via the pizza place so I could, having made that one decision, get my chips’n’cheese. Sherri didn’t chase after me and catch me off-guard with a kiss. I spent the rest of the day in my room, singing, wanking, cursing, and trying to wash my ex’s name off the back of my notebook.

I never saw her again.

Wrap

Some time around 6am, I have a dream about my pet millipede, Big, who died when I was in my teens. He’s not actually in it; I’m singing a song to the tune of something like one of the more melodic numbers from Hamilton. It goes something like:

Look at him
So smooth, so round
Look at him
So sleek, so sound
(I want to see)
Look at him
So tough, so cool
(I have to see, just let me see)
Look at him
Just to hold him
To hold him once more…

I wake up and, not for the first time, I realise that I am crying.

I don’t know why I’m crying. I have nightmares about being cheated on; they make me cry. I have half-dreams-in-my-naps about odd sexual situations; they make me horny. I don’t appear to have any others. Maybe I do – I just don’t remember them. There’s no way of knowing, is there, unless someone invents a video dream recorder?

Girlfriend wakes up to the sound of me crying. I can’t explain exactly why I’m crying. I don’t know myself. Big was a good millipede. He lived a long and happy life, and died of old age. I took very good care of him (and I’m still looking for the only extant photo of us, looking at each other. I know it exists somewhere.); he’s not someone I should be sad about.

She asks; I can’t explain. She rolls over and wraps an arm around me. I cry until I can’t any more. Tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking my pillow. I’m lying there, my duvet half off, some of me hot, some of me cold. Paroxysms of grief, perhaps, or just the fact that my dream was set to music. Sad music makes me cry.

Her arm doesn’t move. She doesn’t say a thing. She just lets me cry while she holds me.

I feel a little better that I’ve got someone holding me. I go back to sleep, and for a while when I wake up a few hours later, I barely remember my sad dream at all.

We have been together for eight years. It was our anniversary yesterday (and we had a good day, for what it is worth). And yet I am still discovering things about her that I had forgotten. The fact that I fell asleep in her arms is one of them.

She may be many things, but one of them is a source of comfort. And, when that counts, it counts for so much.

Star Guitar

A person of interest
You’re a person of interest
Won’t say I’m in love, yeah
But certainly impressed

It had been a long day. I hadn’t even been too interested in most of the bands playing, and in truth, I’d only really been to see the band Music Man was in. I was, to use the technical term, a fan – and he was a friend. The fact that I got to miss a day of school to sit in a theatre and watch rock bands was probably a plus, as well.

The garage crew (who eventually won the contest) were the absolute worst. I may not have been a fan of garage, but my token black friend (who was seriously into the So Solid Crew, et al.) corroborated the fact that they sucked. In fact, most of them sucked, with the exception of Music Man’s band and a couple of more punky girl bands from schools I didn’t know existed.

And then I completely forgot about everything else.

She walked onto the stage already wearing her guitar – although she was also wearing a school tie, which I suppose was some sort of attempt to look as indie as possible. For some reason, and to this day I don’t know exactly why, I was completely transfixed.

I don’t recall the name of the band, nor do I the song they played. I remember liking it, but nothing more than that. I do, however, recall staring from my seat in the raked stalls, completely oblivious to anything Lightsinthesky, Music Man, or my token black friend were saying. Rhythm guitar… she played rhythm guitar. Of course she did. I played rhythm guitar too. I just wasn’t in a band. But then she didn’t know that.

She didn’t know me. But then I could change that.

As luck would have it, she ended up standing two stairs away from me after the bands were all finished playing and the judges were deliberating their wrong decision. So I, courteously I hope, introduced myself.

“I really liked your guitar playing,” I said. It wasn’t entirely a lie; I mean, I enjoyed the performance. Her guitar playing was part of it. I couldn’t quite divine which guitar part it was, but still.
“Oh! Thanks!” she beamed. “I’ll give you a hug for that.”

Oh, look at those beautiful eyes…

And she gave me a hug. I was new to hugs at that point. I’m a seasoned hugger now, but back at 16, any sort of physical contact was a bonus.

That’s so nice. So warm and soft.

And after that I just kind of… stopped. I mean, what was I meant to say then? Perhaps ask her to introduce me to some of her friends in the band? Maybe ask her how long she’s been playing the guitar for? I mean, there was a common interest. I could have even told her that I liked her style… because I did; the tie was a bit incongruous, but maybe that was the point.

And that hair. So long and so shiny. I just want to brush it.

Maybe I could say it. “Hey, I just met you, and I’ve no idea what you’re into apart from rock music, but I’ve got a crush on you, so maybe you might consider going for a…?” What? A drink? Is that a thing people do on dates? I’d never been on a date.

But I didn’t say it. Lightsinthesky pulled me onto the dance floor for a mosh to the metal band that had won the second prize. In all fairness, it was my first mosh. I certainly had something to share at Woodcraft that evening, even if I eventually had to demonstrate how to mosh by throwing myself against the wall.

As things started to dissipate and the harried security guy tried to break up what was threatening to turn into a mass crowd surf, I found myself looking around to see if she was still there. She was – on her own. On the stairs where I’d been talking to her. But the event was definitely coming to a close, and I knew that when it did, she’d walk out of my life, possibly forever.

But then I shook myself. I’d looked at someone, become attracted to her, actually genuinely had a conversation with her and got a hug in an exchange for a compliment. At 16, that was pretty much the furthest I’d gotten with anyone.

“What are you looking at?” asked Music Man, emerging himself from the moshpit. “That girl with the tie?”
“I… yeah. Yeah. She…” I said eloquently, before realising he’d gone. In fact, lots of people were going, and I found myself being chivvied along with them. In fact, if I wanted to go to Woodcraft at all that evening, I’d need to go home.

On the way out into the cool, welcoming air, she looked my way one last time. I gave her a friendly wave, and in return, she gave me a big, bright smile.

What a smile, I thought to myself all the way through the bus ride home, as my heart slowly began to tear itself into a million little pieces.

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