high school sweetheart


I am in Year 8, and the battle for supremacy between my group of friends/rivals has finally claimed its’ first victim. Me. I’ve lost my 100% record. I am not in a top set. I’m in Set Two for maths, and decide to immediately tell my teacher to move me up to top set because I know everything. He does not move me up to top set.

I’m ace.

He moves me up to top set. I smile, and take pride in my vindicated excellence. As they announce the sets for next year’s science. Oh no! Set… Three!!!!!! I sigh, and enter Year 9 masquerading as a miscreant. Only not swearing or melting shoes. I sigh, and see Key at lunch, who blazes me for my set three-erie. I grit my teeth, and decide to game on. I will not lose the battle of the intelligentsia! Not when I know everything! I tell my teacher I want to move up to top set. He does not move me up to top set.

I do Year 9 SATs. And am ace.

He moves me up to top set. I smile, and take pride in my vindicated excellence. As they announce the sets for next year’s English. I grin. A native top setter! This is what school is all about! The redhead doing my top set-tee science work with/for me asks why I’m smiling. I explain, and she smiles. I smile a bit more. Woody sees me. And raises his eyebrows.

I stop smiling. And sigh. For Woody suspects.

Redhead is delightful. Nice. Pretty. Sweet. And dating my mate in the year below. She’s taken, and clearly without standards! She could have a guy that knows everything. She says something funny, and I hide from Woody and smile. I’ve fancied girls before. But never actually got on with one. This is new, and strangely comfortable.

She’s a woman.

And it’s comfortable. This is uncharted territory! She’s nothing like the other twelve girls I fancy. She’s… wonderful.

She is what school is all about.

We’re talking about greebo bands when Redhead suddenly changes the subject.

“So I broke up with Year Below.”



I smile. And realise I shouldn’t be smiling. And smile some more as a velociraptor in a lab coat walks past us staring and pushing a trolley of hydrochloric acid. Woody looks over. I try to hide my face from him, and to console Redhead, who is warmed by Woody’s star trek-based words of comfort. I sigh, and decide to start watching Voyager.

It is a few months later, and Redhead is more than ever my science lesson panacea. I am sliding in slowly, and even got her to come to my baptism. Things are going well, when Redhead confides in me a new secret.

“Hey Dan, do you know Fatness?”

“That fat musician?”


“What do you think of him?”

“He’s fat.”

“…and also… a musician!”

“Yeah, I suppose he’s alright.”

“Well I’m…. kinda his girlfriend.”


Woody looks over, and smiles. I don’t smile. Not even close. I decide to do what I always do in these situations. I gamble, and wait. Wait for Redhead to finish with Fatness so she can come back to me. The valiant and gallant (or ‘galliant’) hero of one girl’s future who doesn’t yet know it.

It is a few months later, and I am in a German lesson at college when I get a text from Redhead. My closest can’t-get-too-close friend. Who is also my no-longer-innocent friend.

I hate Fatness. He doesn’t even know everything.

I press read, and watch my Nokia 6210 bringing me some good news today with its’ muscly arm screen. And it is definitely good news.

“Hi Dan! How are you? Erm. I’ve broken up with Fatness. Do you fancy going for a drink with me on Tuesday night?”

I take a deep breath, and reply.

It is The Night. And I have a date. Probably. Nobody’s called it a date. But it’s a date, right? I decide to play it cool. And to follow TV’s advice on what playing it cool means. I grab the leather coat. And the white trainers. And meet her at the pub. Where we sit, and chat. And drink. Not alcohol – because, really? Have you ever tasted that stuff? Tastes like the inside of your bladder.

Redhead may have drank alcohol.

Redhead definitely drank alcohol, before popping to the toilets to ‘freshen up’. I decide that this is a good thing, but decide to check with resident girl guru Greenhill. Nokia pipes up.

“Yeah Dan, that’s a good sign. Just walk her home at the end and give her a kiss.”

Eep. A…a… kiss?

Redhead returns, and we hang out some more, before deciding to walk home. It’s cold, but I’ve got my leather jacket on so it’s fine. Redhead is cold. But it’s only probably a 20 minute walk back to hers from the pub. She’ll learn to bring a coat next time. We are chatting and walking with technical brilliance when something happens. Something terrifying.

Our hands brush together!

Oh no!

I don’t know what to do with this! But… but… I know everything! What the heck!? I decide to ignore it. And keep walking. Until we reach her home, where we hug, and she says goodnight.

Before standing there.

In the moonlight.

Staring at me.

Looking gorgeous.

Hang on…. is… is… this… my moment? Does she want me to kiss her? But how do I do that? How the heck do I kiss a girl? I’ve never done that before! Can I call Greenhill and ask him? She’ll probably notice. She’s literally just standing there staring at m….

“Well…. goodnight I guess.”

She turns and walks into the house, with downcast eyes.


I watch her walk into the house and sigh.

I guess I don’t know everything.

I walk home, and decide not to ask to move up to top group German.



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