I was five. You must have been five as well at the time. We were in the same class together: Miss Moore’s small year one class where we learned proper handwriting thanks to the small TV that was wheeled in for half an hour day or learnt maths; the proper maths. The stuff that was actually useful in everyday life. I sat a few tables away from you – the proudly named Grand Piano table. We (that is, Lucy and Oliver and Charlie) would scoff at the other names, like Piccolo and Clarinet. Our table was Grand Piano, the most important in the orchestra that was our class, Miss Moore conducting us through that terrifying first year.
I didn’t speak to you during playtime either. You left with Lucy and Michelle and I didn’t have friends at the time, so I sat by the large oak tree, looking at you playing, wondering why boys thought girls had cooties. A single touch could infect you. You better watch out with those cooties around. You always bought packed lunch, and I got mine from the long queue at the canteen, hidden within a forest of older boys and girls, all more keen than I was on getting their hands on whatever Cookie had made that day. I sat down by myself and ate and watched as you barely took notice of me.
You kissed me at Christmas, under the limply hanging mistletoe. Your parents knew my parents and we had come over. It was Christmas Eve, and I even remember the rain outside. Moments like these stick with you, no matter what age you are. I can even remember the dress you wore. Our parents laughed and cooed and went “aww, come here Henry! It’s just adorable!”
It made me blush, then I regained composure and made a show of wiping off my mouth and asking mummy for mulled wine, which provoked another round of laughter and coos.
The years passed, and we had done a project together sometime in our 4th year in school. You still stayed with Lucy and Michelle at playtime, but the boys were more keen on pulling girls’ hair and, in the case of that Jaime Pauley, pulling girls’ skirts.
I queued up for lunch again. It was a Friday and it was the best day because they served us fried chicken and had jelly for dessert. I sat with Charlie and Joe and we talked about Star Wars, and flying motorcycles, but I watched you a few tables away, elegantly unfolding the aluminium foil your mum wrapped your sandwiches in, out of the pink My Little Pony lunchbox. The same one you’ve had since first year. I remember these things.
There was that Valentine’s Day we had, in year 5, where we made cards for people we didn’t actually care for, at least not in any way more than we did to our friends. I gave you one, put it in that little cardboard letterbox we had made. You read it, showed it to Michelle who laughed and said that it was probably from Reggy, who was the boy in the class no one really spoke to. I went up to you after school, and told you that it had been from me. You giggled in a way I couldn’t quite understand, said something that made me smile, and ran off home.
I'm not gonna finish this either. I just know it