Somewhere in Reigate, in a smart house by the railway track, someone is dreaming. Pupils erratically jerk beneath sealed eyelids, and the mind conjures an image of a boy, gelled hair dishevelled and black shirt no longer crisp but creased and crumpled. He is sprawled on the floor in an untidy mass of mattresses, duvets and pink pillows.
For just a moment, the boy wakes; he doesn't need to sit up, but his eyes slowly open and he gingerly glances around as though he is scared of what he may no longer see. As though he feared he were still asleep. While the dream carries on, the boy is content with his view, happy within himself. He hugs his arms around his chest, and closes his eyes again - he doesn't want to move, and only lies awake and wallows joyously in his thoughts. The boy rests there, still warmly satisfied after looking round - he needs nothing more. He's just so glad to be amongst these wonderful people, so happy he had the chance to experience this, to feel this loved. He daren't straighten out his clothes nor push his hair to the side, but just feels so fortunate to have lived this moment.
And still, the dream is dreamt, silently projecting this boy in someone's mind. And as we're on this voyeuristic journey, the dream camera zooms out. Its view backs upward out of the ceiling, drops into soft focus then fades to black. It's still five degrees outside. The pressure remains unchanged. The boy is still somewhere, thinking how lucky he is. And the dream goes on, and I am the dreamer. I don't have to open my eyes. For I know just how the boy feels.
So I had arrived late again because of my hapless habit of just missing the last train to depart for a significant period of time. I must admit I wasn't expecting to enjoy myself in particular after barely escaping a three-hour detention (it was eventually postponed) and jocking a hockey match only to be able go to a band night packed with over-sexed pubescent imbeciles. I suspected that, after all I'd built it up to be (alcohol-fuelled ravishing of Catriona), I would be let down once again. The only reason I really chose to come back was because I couldn't face wasting my weekend again by not doing my looming English coursework. That, and it meant I missed Matins on the Sunday morning.
But anyway, I was saying something, wasn't I? After many frantic phone calls to the Banks household forced by hectic train scheduling, I decided to walk to David's house and meet him. It was the best thing to do, even if I would have to swiftly turn back upon arriving. Most importantly of all, I had to place Catriona's slice of my soul under her bed covers so that it could be discovered, all tucked into a manila envelope, upon her return that evening. I had become lost in creating a package for her at five am the previous night and hoped that, after all the birthday celebrations were over, she may return to find my gift of thought.
I arrived at the Banks household to discover many young girls (of whom I recognised none) standing in the kitchen. I failed to write a message on the window as the condensation had formed within the house, but one kindly let me in nonetheless. My task of depositing my present completed, I entered David's room and awaited Sammy Wammie's imminent arrival. The girls left, David ate, and we spoke of Alice Art Nymph and Rebecca. Then, belatedly, we decided to make our way to Redhill for the evening's entertainment. The journey was peppered with complaints from Samuel as we had not purchased him a ticket. I felt no sympathy, and only bordered on bitterness, as it soon transpired that he would gain the opportunity I so relished of staying the night at David's house along with his sister and a particular young girl named Sophie.
But anyway, we soon found ourselves in Redhill where we marched up, greeted the lads and entered the periphery of the music making arena. Here we came across several familiar persons, up to and including all the usual suspects you could think of (notably minus Dickolas) plus numerous proles from years below us and also, Megan's clique; seemingly dressed as the highly inappropriate playboy bunny with a pink colour scheme. After greeting radiant beauties such as Catriona, Sophie and Tara (all of whom I have special memories of [no, not that special]), I became aware of the conspicuous lack of alcohol in my bloodstream. Lacking in cash, I was unable to utilise the venue's bar, and it seemed that we were unable to vacate the building - for doing so would preclude re-entry. After fruitless arguments with the doorman committed to his orders and friends fearful of losing their tickets, I was most despondent, fearing I would be forced to remain for hours with no rejuvenating beverages. However, I somehow managed to weasel my way out after joining some ill-spoken pikeys who were threatening the staff with violence. I earnestly remonstrated and re-pleaded my case, threatening to summon the senior management. Eventually, only I was allowed to escape with a time limit of one hundred and twenty seconds in which to obtain some paper money. Of course, I succeeded.
After this, I became a very popular man, as I was able to purchase drinks for various underage pre-pubescents such as Alice as well as a celebratory alcopop for Catriona to get twd on. The annoying thing was I was only able to consume a few containers of alcoholic beverage before being totally busted dude by the evil meanie bar man who somehow spotted me handing over my drink to ickle Catriona. Not only that, but he was spiteful enough to steal the twd juice from her too >_< Still my immediate desire had been placated, and we went round having lots of fun.
I spent much of the evening having Sophie ignore me and, instead, talking to Tara (or rather playfully mocking her in reference to some ugly hatboy she fancied). Actually, she was great fun and really cute, which was nice as I had few other people to talk to despite knowing so many of the patrons. Sammie Wammie was talking to Costi and Banks boned Megan, while Catriona was busy making love to hundreds of willing males or mocking Cammie.
I watched little of the bands (because they were shit), only really catching Sikth (I refuse to emulate their alogical capitalisation) whom I smirked at with Tara. The young girls were slightly tipsy and started following around this guy, Random Dave, to shout abuse at him. It was all very embarrassing, but I knew their reasoning - Sophie had told me the whole story about him, her, Catriona and others after I spilled my re-guts out to her about Philly (even afterward, something I felt completely indifferent about). There was a man with a lip ring plus attachment, who Sam suspected to have hailed from his old school's production of The Minotaur Show. He was hideously abusive and also performed the Gay Handshake upon everyone, which was only slightly less amusing. Catriona kissed me upon the forehead, Tara realised that her handsome hatboy had left, and some others guys decided to be gee. After a while, we were all chucked outside where we congregated whilst someone decided what to do. It had been a fairly eventless evening, albeit a fairly enjoyable one.
I was convinced to convince my parents to allow me to stay, and felt stupidly smug when I realised Sam wouldn't be left alone with all the girlies. Still, I also had latent suspicions that little would be allowed to happen between the girls and myself and I was merely forcing myself to buy another train ticket and fail in my coursework. Alack. The idea of purchasing food was flirted with and, after a significant while, it was decided we would embark upon the journey walking back home. It was becoming chilly, so I kindly ventured my jumper, lending it to Kathryn, as she had asked and Sophie hadn't. I realised she looked exceedingly cute in it (as girls tend to do in your clothing) and began to talk to her which, for some reason, was the first time that night we had spoken. She was a learned linguist who liked classical music. And she had beautiful hair...
I tried to flirt with her and Sophie as we made our way through the streets of Redhill. Kathryn had a cute laugh, the voice of a Siren, and became prettier every time I glanced back into her eyes. However, I soon found out she was already taken, after a sheepish comment referring to the person she had been frantically texting. I sort of walked away, unsure of what to say any more. I thought the spell was broken. It was unusual enough that I had said anything at all to start with. Even more unusual that she'd been so ready to listen.
But anyway, as we embarked upon the latter stages of our expedition, someone foolishly suggest walking down the deepest, darkest, scariest alley as a "shortcut". I was promptly enrolled into the employment of walking at the front, lest someone be murdered here in gloomy pikeyville. After our first few trepid steps, I suggested we run ahead in order to surprise the others. And so, Sam, Tara, Alice and I sprinted down the alley, still fearful of finding anyone, and ran across a rickety bridge to lie in waiting and prepare a pouncing manoeuvre from behind some shrubbery. We saw them coming, and threw sticks in an attempt to alarm them. However, they unfortunately took the correct turning, and the four of us were left by ourselves, spilt up and ready to be picked off one-by-one by prowling horror movie villains in the process of trying to find our own way back.
Eventually of course, the groups were reunited, and we continued back to the house of David, where I was to be most gentlemanly for the whole evening. As we walked down that road, the one straight out of a catalogue of working families from Surrey, I looked up, no longer needing to search out that star. The girls laughed from both sides of me and made coquettish advances. My eyes gazed up just beyond the striking sodium luminescence and, looking at the most beautiful sight in the world, I offered up yet another of those silent players of thanks to my personal god. Personal god; the one I usually only choose to turn to when all hope has evaporated. Thank you, oh thank you.
Back at the house, we watched a hilarious film involving Thora Birch and Christina Ricci (it included young girls giggling as they spied upon pubescent males frolicking naked with the utmost homoeroticism in a lake). After that, I converted Kathryn to 24 and, as we talked, I was converted to adoration of her. I try not to only do her injustice, but it seems to be so rare that you can find a girl so beautiful yet so intelligent, cute, funny, suave and (not) single. Oh yes, did I say witty and pretty?
There was a telling lack of twd juice present, as everyone was completely sober and girly shrieks were sharp, not shaky and warbling. Despite this, Kapmandu had managed to bnoe the least fit of the eight girls and made love to Laura (who was still very nice) for the entire night. I, meanwhile, was amazed at the ease with which I was conversing with all these attractive females I barely knew, and took the opportunity to romp upon mattresses with them. I couldn't get enough of the way they so readily accepted me and the comfort with which we happily joked together. It is all so unlikely, I remember it as though it was through a drunken haze. I had no inhibitions and I conversed more comfortably than I would ever have out of my head on mind-altering chemicals. It was blissful. And boy, did it ever highlight the contrast between these girls and what little I know of people from King's...
24 ended, Sammie Wammie went to sleep after some light LJ h@><0ring and, soon afterward, was followed upstairs by Banks. I ended up talking with these girls if only to muffle the moanings and schlicks coming from Kapmandu and Laura. We watched television for hours and marvelled en masse at the fitness of the cutest music video ever - Blur's Coffee & TV. I happily became enamoured with Kathryn, looking wistfully up at her from behind my pillow and silently remarking to myself how special she was. How torturously perfect she was. God, did I ever fancy her...
Every moment, I had to check I wasn't taunting myself again with a cruelly fictitious fantasy, to make sure it was all real. I don't think I ever managed to truly convince myself and now, every action seems so far away. I don't understand quite how it happened that I was left alone to sleep among seven girls, can't comprehend my ease with it all and everything, but it did happen. The giggles continued well into the night, as though I'd known them for years. I realise this is my third worst entry ever, that I am utterly mockworthy, but I was drowning in ecstasy.
Sophie talked with me even though, at that time, I had a scary obsession with her. She and Tara happily chatted with me even though I barely know them. I'd never had so much fun being with people, just being together. At least not for a long while, anyway. We laughed and joked and mocked and quipped as though we always had. I almost felt we'd been friends forever. Each time I spoke, one of them managed to echo my soul, and Kathryn repeatedly reminded me that there are people out there who you could happily share everything with. She seemed like that stupidly popular, beautiful, easy-to-talk-to type of girl so many people are in awe of, but, god, so clever and she lacked everything hateful that usually comes with such popularity. She was a real heartbreaker, waaaaay out of anyone's league, but generous and so very intelligent too. In fact, everyone there was so cute and kind; it just felt so great fitting in with people I really loved. And it was overwhelming.
We turned off the television and lights at some absurd hour, and continued talking. It wasn't long before the conversation reached typically girlie sleepover topics. And I lay there, my head touching Sophie's hair, my body in between Tara and Alice and my hips making room for Kathryn's head, I thanked all my guardian saints and joined in. And we talked about guys and tampons; leg shaving, bras and hand jobs for hours with complete ease and stupid amounts of blushing giggles. And, of course, I loved every ephemeral second of it.
It was wonderful. I was there, squashed amongst the overlapping limbs of young virginal girls and we chatted joyfully about everything. I ruminated to myself about relationships, about people in general. I tried to make some sense of it all. I still couldn't get my head round the simplicity of it all, the incredulous ease I had with just being there. Catriona threw her bra at me, and then we went to sleep. The birds were beginning to sing, but I never wanted that morning to come. Thinking back in retrospect, I'm pleased the atmosphere was so amicable and lacked in hormone-fuelled rampant sexuality. It only made the whole experience more meaningful, more special. Even if only for me.
I woke after but ninety minutes' recovery time, and they all looked as beautiful as ever the moment they arose. Breakfast was consumed, and we watched a trashy kiddies' cartoon on video. And, as ever, people slowly started to drift away. Beautiful Kathryn departed with, "I'll probably never see any of you again," and I felt, with powerful intuition, that she was one of those really remarkable people you rarely get to meet. Soon after, I wished Tara good luck with her hatboy, hugged Catriona and bestowed my affection upon Sophie before departing. Sam had come downstairs and walked with me down the drive before we went our separate ways, me still thinking about how I need someone in my life. I have just over a year to go at King's, but one day I must be able to have someone. I also decided I'll go straight back to school, meet loads of people and make new friends, be sociable. I was convinced I could do it and I would make other people love me. I walked silently back to Redhill station, no music to line my ears this time. But I didn't need it. I looked back to the day before. I still had the memories... Forever etched in my brain.
Words are not timeless enough to express how I felt. Kathryn, Catriona, Sophie, Tara, Lauren, Alice, Sarah and Laura: thank you so much.
pull me in close look into my eyes smile at me when you stick in the knife.