By Alex Townley
I THINK I’ll take her into Champney’s Wood, Natasha. She said to think of somewhere and I can’t see her squashed into the gazebo in the kids’ playground, sharing a bag of chips with Dave and Kevin.
We’ve both got a free period after lunch on Wednesday so we can walk down there and get back in time to not miss any lessons. I reckon it’s far enough that no-one else would bother.
And she likes the trees, all those colours, and we can probably lie down without getting wet.
I’ve been planning it for a while, but I didn’t want to seem too keen, and I wanted to make sure it was what she wanted, but I think she does.
And she’s got more experience than me, she’s done this sort of thing before. Well not exactly this sort of thing, but she’s got experience, with men, I’m guessing, whereas I’m pretty much playing it by ear. A few dodgy pornos, and stories Kevin’s told me about what he gets up to with Lorna when his parents are away. I’m pretty sure neither of those are solid sources.
I reckon if I ask her myself what she likes and what I should do that will work, after all it’s good to ask questions, that’s how you learn, that’s what she’s always saying. And it’s worked with kissing, at least from my end, and she seems into it.
It’s weird not telling anyone. I don’t know who I’d tell, but everyone else tells me about stuff, stuff I don’t really want to know. Sometimes it’s stuff that makes me not want to look at their girlfriends, or really want to look at their girlfriends.
But you don’t know if it’s true. It’s worth a wank in the shower, but you don’t want to give it much stock, just in case it’s all bollocks.
And Natasha’s the real deal. I know she’s not going to feed me a bunch of lies. She’s got more to lose from this than I have. She keeps telling me, like that makes it more exciting. She keeps saying we shouldn’t, and then next thing I know she’s pulling me into the art supply cupboard, and we’re snogging up against the life size model of a Dalek some technology students built about ten years ago when Doctor Who was cool.
Only having it a secret is alright, it’s fine, but after a while I just wish I could tell someone, because there’s things I’d ask, like is it normal to only see each other at college? Does it matter what I call her? Am I the only one?
I’m pretty sure I am, but people do talk about her, there was a kid in Year 12 when I was in Year 10, people talked about him and her, but nothing solid. I used to watch her face, before us, before her and me, and I couldn’t see it. I don’t reckon there was anything in it.
I’ll tell her Wednesday.
I’ve had a text from Karen. She never texts me. She barely talks to me, even at the breakfast table when Mum and Dad are on best behaviour and telling us to be nice to each other.
She says there’s rumours going round about me.
I don’t know. I mean we’ve been careful, but if Karen’s hearing things then everyone’s hearing things, she’s not exactly top of the gossip list.
Shit. Now I don’t know whether to tell her, because I don’t want it to stop, and I reckon she’ll stop it, get scared and back off.
Maybe after Wednesday.
The sun is shining, and I enjoy it, walking along the road in the middle of the day. I think how I should do this anyway, just walk up to Champney’s Wood in my free periods, it’s nice.
And she’s meeting me there she says, which makes sense. I think maybe she’s heard there’s rumours too.
I didn’t speak to Karen in the end, but she started giving me these looks over her Coco Pops, like she felt sorry for me, and I don’t need anyone feeling sorry for me. I’m meeting a beautiful woman on a sunny day, to, well, maybe to, y’know, go all the way. Maybe.
It’s cold mind. I pinched the picnic blanket from home, which means it was stuffed in my locker all morning, and I didn’t dare get anything out in case anyone asked me about it, so I didn’t take my art homework in.
I tried to explain with my eyes, but she told me off in front of everyone. I guess that’s on me, she’s not psychic. Anyway, makes it less obvious.
I get all the way there. To the car park we agreed, and I find a quiet spot away from the road under some trees, where the sunlight is green through the leaves, and I put the blanket down and lie on it for a while, to test it out, check there aren’t any brambles.
People go by, but they don’t see me. I’m tucked well out of sight.
I wait for an hour before I decide she isn’t coming. It rains all the walk back.
Karen tells me later, about the police. How they came right into her classroom, in front of her pupils, and asked to speak to her. And the head, Mr Blakedown, was there too, he took over the class. It was perspective apparently, kids were joking they got a new perspective on her.
It all happened before I even left the building. Before I started walking. She would have come if she could. I know she would.
That kid, the Year 12 kid from before, he had a breakdown apparently, reported her to the police. They called it grooming.
Kids look at me now in the corridors, but they don’t know anything. The police haven’t said anything, and I haven’t said anything. There’s nothing to say. We didn’t actually do anything, not really.
When I think back on it, sometimes I think walking out to Champney’s Wood is the only real thing I’ve ever done. Lying there under the trees, staring up at the sky through the green.
I go there now, when I want to think about her, remember her.
© Alex Townley 2019