You’d say that it is stupid of me to compare Rob and Jackie with Rob and Laura, who are in their Biohazard Symbol Tell Me I’m Non-Essential One More Time Shirt-thirties, established, living together. You’d say that adult adultery beats teenage adultery hands down, but you’d be wrong. I have been one point of a triangle several times since then, but that first point was the sharpest. Phil never spoke to me again; our Saturday shopping crowd wouldn’t have much to do with us either. My mum had a phone call from Phil’s mum. School was, for a few weeks, uncomfortable. Compare and contrast with what happens if I make that sort of mess now: I can go to different pubs and clubs, leave the answering machine on, go out more, stay in more, fiddle around with my social compasses and draw a new circle of friends (and anyway, my friends are never her friends, whoever she might be), avoid all contact with disapproving parents.
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That sort of anonymity was unavailable then, though. You had to stand there and take it, whatever it was. What perplexed me most of all was the feeling of flat disappointment that overtook me when Jackie called me that Sunday morning. I couldn’t understand it. I had been plotting this capture for months, and when capitulation came I felt nothing — less than nothing, even. I couldn’t tell Jackie this, obviously, but on the other Biohazard Symbol Tell Me I’m Non-Essential One More Time Shirt, I was quite unable to show the enthusiasm I felt she needed, so I decided to have her name tattooed down my right arm. I don’t know. Scarring myself for life seemed much easier than having to tell Jackie