Oh, my. He was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Up until then, she had posters of David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, plastered all over her bedroom walls, to swoon over. All glowing smiles, with shining teeth and shining hair. “If I ever met one of them in real life, I’d just faint,” she’d say to her thirteen-year-old self. Donny would say, “Hello.” And she would just surely pass out with the excitement of it all. Or, when David would tell her how was he glad to meet her, she would surely crumple at his feet.
The new girl in a new school, she cast furtive glances at her new love. Sean had the most dazzling smile. Even nicer than Donny or David. His curly hair just brushed the collar of his school shirt which was incredibly daring and rebellious when all the other boys adhered to the school rules and had short back and sides. And, he had the extra appeal of a wonderful swagger to his way of walking. He looked good and he knew it. She could feel the confidence oozing out of him. And, he smelled great too. He was sitting at the school desk just in front of hers and when the classroom breeze shifted just a little, she could catch the scent of aftershave. She tried to catch his attention in little ways; dropping a pencil for him to pick up for her or “accidentally” kicking the back of his chair. He would turn around and she would offer a sweet apology, her eyes the size of saucers so gorgeous was this boy. “How could anyone be so gorgeous in real life,” she’d wonder. At home, she’d play the love songs of Donny and David and imagine it was Sean singing to her. In the school playground at break time, she’d prance around like a demented ballerina to catch his attention. Then, one time, she saw him walking towards her. Her young wee heart battered against her rib cage as she felt the rush of blood to her face. And, like a lightning bolt from the very heavens, Sean asked if he could walk her home from school. Up the hill to her home, past Saint Eunan’s Cathedral and her trying to hold up her school socks without looking like she was trying to hold up her school socks. It became a regular thing. And, on the 26th walk home or so, she said to Sean, “Cheerio,” as usual. “See you tomorrow. Thanks for carrying my school-bag for me.” Sean should have said, “Cheerio. See you tomorrow”, Instead, he lunged at her head with his. There was no time at all for her to react. Next thing she knew, his lips were clamped on her face, somewhere between the outer socket of her left eye and her cheekbone. “Slurp”. “Slurp, slurp, slurp”. “Lick, lick”. “Slurp”. She must have clenched her eyes in shock. She had to drag them open, just as he had forcibly pulled his bull-dog, lip-hold off her face. She heard the sound of suction being released. Her face was burning at the main slurping point and burning even more with embarrassment. She looked at him. He looked at her. And, then he ran away; down the steep hill, past St. Eunan’s Cathedral, his jacket and hair flapping behind him. He never asked to walk her home again, and she was too shy to ask him why? Slán,