My boyfriend Bryn and I were lying in bed. He kept reciting logic-based equations at me. I didn’t understand them at first, but suddenly they started making sense.
My mother was in my room at university. The author, Anne Fine, had sent us both letters. The one to me said very little, although it ran to two sides, and she’d enclosed some money. The one to my mother listed all my failings: my dyed hair, my boots, my offensive Nirvana Shirt (how does she know about that? I wondered), my lewd boyfriend . . . My mother looked at my food supply and accused me of eating too much. I looked at the pile of sandwiches I’d hidden on a plate balanced on the bin under my desk, planning to eat them later, and hoped she didn’t find them.
My old classmate Marion, my corridor mate Catherine and I went somewhere. When we arrived, I was surprised to find it was the Metro Centre, a shopping centre in Newcastle (which is a long way from Canterbury). We shopped a bit, then at about midday we had to walk outside to get to other shops. A man in his twenties said to me, “Have you ever had sex?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’ve been having it for the last seven and a half months.” He seemed surprised.
The next thing I knew, I was back in my room at university. I checked my watch; it was 9pm. “What happened?” I asked Marion and Catherine, who were there. They told me that they’d been so upset by the man’s questions that they’d cried for hours before going home. I was surprised, since they hadn’t seemed upsetting to me.
There were a few other people in my room, sitting loosely around a table in the centre. A goth bloke of about my age came in. He talked to me for a minute. “Your hair’s like mine,” he said. I was quite upset, since his was dark brown and in reality, I’d dyed mine black the previous night. I hoped he meant in texture, since his was kind of badly behaved too. He also said he had disapproving parents. But I couldn’t hear him too well, so I couldn’t really make conversation, so he left after that.