In 1984, my Sunday evening entertainment was Northgate Methodist Youth Fellowship. I was thirteen, and without knowing it, an atheist. The whole God thing bemused me. Now, I sang all the songs, and listened to all the sermons. I even tried 'opening my heart to the Lord', but it was something better done in the presence of an anesthetist, I thought. The whole malarkey was ludicrous.
However, there was one thing that kept me coming back.
I was besotted by her. She was, by any teenage measure, lovely. She had long brown hair, deep dark eyes, and a womanly confidence that belied her thirteen years. She had breasts too!
Being new to this puberty thing, I had no idea what to do with this obsession. Even if I did, the shackles of shyness wouldn't have let me.
So, I did what any self-disrespecting geek would do; pretend, as hard as I could, that I wasn't interested at all. I opted instead, to rely on Brownian Motion. I dreamt that she would randomly bump into me at the back of the church hall and spontaneously fall in love. That way, I'd needn't risk rejection and confirmation that I was the Sunday league to her Premiere.
Eight-thirty each Sunday, the fellowship walked home. A great gaggle of us tripped up North Road. The Boys, being boys, pushed and shoved. The Girls, being girly, gossiped out in front.
One summer night, my Brownian strategy paid off. By some serendipity, our groups hadn't split and I found Emma next to me. She didn't look at me of course. She was laughing with the cooler guys to the right. They did buzz around her.
As was my way at the time, I dropped back behind the crowd. Not a chance, I thought. Emma slowed with me. Again we found ourselves together. You'd have never seen it, but inside I exploded with joy.
So, we walked home together, the two of us. All the way up North Road, left on to Thompson Street and way past the Crematorium. A whole fifteen minutes of her and me. I could have died with happiness.
"Bye", we said awkwardly outside her front door. Nothing more. Not a jot.
The next day at school, she didn't acknowledge me at all. I did the same, of course.
So it went for the entire week, until Sunday evening. On the way home I hung back, chicken like, hoping for a repeat of the previous week. It seemed that night, my 'prayers' were answered, as she loitered with me again. Emma chose to walk home with me. Yes me!
Once more, we did nothing at her front door other than say bye to each other.
So it went, for the entire summer. Sunday evenings, Emma and Scott walked home at the back. Mid week, Monday through Friday, they ignored each other. Each Sunday they loitered at her front door, both knowing what they should do, yet neither of them having the guts to complete on the deal.
Until one autumn night, she lost her temper.
"Oh for Christ's sake!" She said, and grabbed me behind the neck. She pulled me on to her and kissed me in open mouthed relief.
My first real kiss.
Now, tunes have a habit of sticking in one's head. That night, that moment even, the Art of Noise 'Close to the Edit' was running through it.
So it was, that my first snog went like this;
"Hey! Hey! Hey!"