Monday, 16 March 2009

7. :: "when put to action"

When Andrew was 6 years old he 'fell in love' for the first time. Thinking about it now, Andrew believes that it probably was not 'love' that he fell in, more a friendly and curious affection, or the first stirrings of something dirty or seedy. As a boy Andrew was not sure whether there really was a difference between boys and girls, was not sure why adults tended to pair together, one boy and one girl, and then stick with it. Most of the people he spoke to everyday were boys. He spent all his time with boys. Why don't adults do that? he thought to himself. He could see no reason why adults would close themselves off in little houses with one other person and not go out all day and play with other adults. This was what his parents' marriage had taught him.

Then came a point when the other boys started to notice other girls. Girls were always just off to the side. It was like segregation, but voluntary, and with only really young people. Playgrounds were separated into zones where girls went and zones where boys went. Then there appeared this third type of zone where boys and girls went together. They were pairing off, 5 and 6 year olds. Andrew did not understand what was happening. Football games became stretched and unfocused, playing army or pretending to be the red one from Mutant Turtles got lonelier and more pointless.

Andrew just could not get his head round it.

He got his head round it one day during lunchtime. Maisy Turner walked across the playground to where Andrew was sat with his friends. They were trading glass marbles, chipped and worn from use but effective when put to action. Andrew was annoyed to hear that Maisy Turner wanted him to follow her and play with her on their own. He put all the marbles away in his deep pockets and followed her away around the corner of the lonely wall which for some reason stood near the edge of the playground. The wall stood near the edge of the playground, not at the edge, built of red brick it was about 7 feet high and 12 feet long and there was enough space behind the wall to park a car if someone wanted to. Andrew walked around the corner with heavy feet stomping the gravel as if trying to break wooden floorboards. What is it already? he asked and Maisy Turner kissed him quickly on the mouth. Her lips were tight shut and pushed firmly against his. He was shocked and had not had time to close his mouth fully, her lips touched his tongue. It was not a real kiss but it was clearly something Maisy Turner has been thinking about for some time. She ran off. Andrew never really spoke to Maisy Turner again after that, and did not kiss another girl for more than 11 years when, coincidentally, he would also lose his virginity.