No. 6 The Printer Apprentice

Steve was 3 years older, an apprentice for a local printing firm. I’d fancied him for the years he was at school till he left. Julie had been seeing his best friend Sam for at least two weeks. We would bunk off school and sit with them in the Wimpy bar, watching them eat lunch then hang out in the park. I’d been bunking school for months – when the weather was shit we’d hang out on Julie’s council estate, it was much more fun than the cul-de-sac. I loved being with her, talking about boys. Our weekly school dinner money bought a Mars bar, a packet of Walkers cheese and onion crisps x 5 and ten cigarettes which Julie and I shared, one after lunch every day. Julie’s Mum was usually at work in Bejam Frozen Food in the high street but she smoked too and didn’t mind us smoking.
“Fancy coming to a party?” Sam asked us one lunch session. He coughed and a bit of burger shot out of his mouth and landed on the froth of my milk shake.  I was so excited.
The next Saturday the four of us dressed as St Trinian’s, Jane and I wearing miniskirts and stockings and carrying hockey sticks I’d nicked from the school PE cupboard and went off to the party that wasn’t fancy dress. Sitting on a sofa Steve sucked on my neck till I had a huge love bite. He fiddled around in a pocket of his grey tight fitting school shorts and handed me a brown paper bag. Inside was a steel stamp he’d made at work with the words “LIZ 4 STEVE” cut out. We had sex in a big bedroom at the party that was probably the parents’ cause it had a bible on the bedside table like my Dad’s.
Steve was full on, it went on for ages and I was a bit sore which was good.  The next day I told Julie and Mr Ridgeway (on the BT party line) all about my soreness “Wow” Julie said then I went into town and bought an ink pad from W H Smith and stamped “LIZ 4 STEVE” all over my bedroom walls.
Two weeks passed and Steve never rang, I thought perhaps he’d lost my number but realised that he could have asked Sam to have asked Julie. I went back to Smith’s and bought a poster of David Essex and a map of the world and covered the walls as much as I could.
That week continued to be shit. On the Monday I arrived home from school at my usual time and Mum was on the phone to the truancy officer.
“Where have you been?”
“School”
“Get upstairs you fucking buggering kid”
A few minutes later Mum came into my room, sat on the twin bed next to mine and cried then went downstairs to make tea. I got the sense she had wanted to say something, but couldn’t but she must have called Dad because he was home unusually early.
“Me and Harry used to skive off school but we always did our work. Your granny… ” I didn’t listen to his story and that was that, nothing more was said about school. My parents tried to stop me seeing Julie but the punishment only lasted till the weekend. I met her down the Wimpy that Saturday morning, hoping to see Steve but knowing he didn’t go there Saturdays.img_0790

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