You were the only guy I ever really fancied. I had this wild crush on you that freaked me out… mainly because I spent most of my adolescent years trying to suppress my burgeoning lust for girls! Oh and of course by ‘fancy’ I mean I was kinda obsessed with you! It’s what us teenage girls did. Decide on a boy to have an unnatural fixation with that week, and then emotionally blackmail him to love us back. I tried to keep my balance with being ‘just a good friend’ and an adorable but complete fucking nutcase. Kevin Batchelor was the only guy who knew I liked you… and now in hindsight this means you also knew (as well as the entire school!) I’m still embarrassed for my naïve 17 year old self.
You made me laugh. Like loads! We never really spoke until sixth form, and it was then that I realised how much I wish I got to know you sooner. I was too busy trying to be one of the ‘cool kids’ under my alias of ‘rude gal!’ Trust me... If I could go back now, I would most definitely give my teenage self a Chinese burn.
I remember sharing my Cadburys Marble chocolate bar with you in the common room. You seemed nervous. I as usual was far too chatty and garishly loud. I too was nervous.
You text me one night after school and it was such a big deal to me! We oddly talked about our favourite chocolate bars. I couldn’t decipher if we were trying to flirt even if we were making an excellent mess of it… or whether we both just got giddy over food! We spent a whole hour discussing chocolate and eventually music. You told me about this RnB and Garage nightclub in London you always hoped to DJ at. I said I would be your groupie because I was apparently a little bit slutty at 17!
The next day at school you pretended that you didn’t really know me and avoided eye contact. This secretly upset me but I still shared half of my chocolate bar at break time.
As I sat in your car at Jenni Edwards 17th birthday party I knew I had just made a big mistake. Huge! You turned on the radio to drown out the awkward silence. Telling you I fancied you was a truly shit idea. An idea manifested after drinking a bottle of Lambrini I swiped from my parent’s drinks cabinet. I asked you if you had anything to say and you replied “no” continuing to stare out of the window. Heartbroken.
I got over it with copious pineapple Bacardi Breezers and ‘getting off with’ most of my girl friends that night. Because ya know… nothing says heartbreak quite like a bit of girl on girl action! Yes yes… I was just another Saturday night casualty of teenage binge drinking.
On the last day of school I gave you my notebook to sign. From afar you looked like you were drawing a silly picture and I remember screaming at you in a jovial tone, “Be nice!! I don’t want dirty images of tits and penis in my book!” You just looked up at me and gave me this. I smiled.
I was sat on my bed in my overpriced flat I couldn't afford when you text me. I had already moved to London and you were DJ-ing in the city and asked if I wanted to come. Cash in on that 'groupie' request a few years back! I remember being really happy you got in touch but I had plans that night. Instead you sent me a link to a track you mixed. It was 30 minutes long but I listened to it from start to finish and then transferred it to my iPod so I could play it again on my commute to work the next morning.
Time moved forward. We grew up and apart like most childhood friendships. I heard that you married and then became a father. I wasn’t even jealous! :) As for me, it turned out that kissing my girl friends ‘as a joke’ when I was 17 because I was an attention seeking whore, was just practice for the life I live now! Good job you did knock me back all those years as that could have been awkward!
And now you’re gone. Gone far too soon and it’s effected me more than I thought it would. We hadn’t spoken for years except the odd ridiculous comment on Facebook that told me you still had that sense of humour I adored… but that was it. My heart hurts for your family, wife and two boys. Life is so fucking crazy that I just don’t get it. First Martin and now you. Our little friendship group at school is shrinking in size... When did life get so ugly and real?
I played your mix tape again last night. 10 years later. 30 minutes long. Start to finish...
You were bloody awesome. Be good up there and I'll save you some of my chocolate bar.
Love love, Shem x