I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours ~ Angela Goodnight

[I’ve written it to fill the gap between my Junior School and the move to Gurney which took place in 1961 for those of you following our back story.]

As the sixties dawned I was entering my last year at junior school. At the end of this school year I would take my 11+ examination and that would determine whether I went to High School or Secondary Modern. I was pretty good in most subjects so my parents expected me to pass and go to the local High School. I already knew I had a facility for languages as I’d picked up some French from junior school and my granny had been teaching me some Cantonese.

Our gang had broken up, but Roger, Michael and I still went to the little woods occasionally and played out various adventures. Sometimes Rich joined us, but David’s family had moved out of the area and Leon had gone to a private boarding school so we only saw him during the holidays. Our secret hide still existed, but no longer seemed as important as it did a couple of years previously.

I liked Junior school and was good at running, high jump and netball winning a prize for it the previous year. Being quite tall helped and I still looked like a Lowrie matchstick girl so as thin as a rake.

The school itself was built of red brick and comprised a series of six or seven classrooms off a central corridor with the school assembly hall off to the rear. Green iron railings ran along the front of the school, separating it from the road. At the back of the buildings was a playground with a couple of climbing frames, swings and hopscotch grids painted onto the tarmac. It was a new experimental tarmac which had some ‘give’ in it to protect children who fell from the climbing frames.

At one end of the playground was the school canteen and at the other end was an outside toilet block which was freezing cold in the winter. Quite often the pipes and even the toilet bowls were turned to ice and it was an endless job for the caretaker to keep them usable between the end of November and the middle of March.

As usual I was unconventional and spent most of my time on the climbing frames instead of the swings. Once more my lack of trousers annoyed me and boys quite often laughed when they saw my knickers when I hung upside down from the climbing bars swinging by my legs. It really bugged me and seemed desperately unfair. I think I was developing a knickers complex.

[The climbing frame actually gave me my first sexual experience. I remember climbing up one of the diagonal struts which kept the main frame stable. The strut was a metal tube about an inch or so in diameter and it climbed at about sixty degrees to the horizontal. I used to grasp it at the bottom and climb up it with my hands and legs wrapped around it. On one occasion I suddenly felt an interesting sensation between my legs. It was nice. I wanted it to continue and climbing up a few inches and sliding back down made it even better. I did it over and over again until I felt the need to pee and slid down to use the toilet. Sliding up and down that strut became a pleasurable daily experience at break time. It is very difficult to remember things which occurred when you are a child and I had forgotten this experience until I was reading this section back for the autobiography.]

One sunny day we were in the writing class and Miss Collins had us writing stories about what we’d done in the summer holidays. We could also draw pictures to go with the tales. I remember being proud of the fact that I’d done three straight pages of writing without a single picture and Miss Collins often praised me for my use of English.

When the class finished we had our break which comprised fifteen minutes in the playground with a bottle of milk, about a third of a pint. If you had a note from your parents you were allowed to have orange instead of milk, but most kids drank the milk. I had brought a couple of digestive biscuits from home to have with my milk. Usually they were digestives, but sometimes they were rich tea and, if I was lucky, they’d be custard creams or bourbon biscuits. Even less often exciting jammy dodgers.

After break I was early back to the class one particular day and a boy called Malcolm Shaw showed me some pine cones he had brought in for the afternoon nature class. We’d dealt with cones the previous week and learned that when they dried out they opened up to let the seeds fall out. Malcolm’s cones were wide open.

“Why don’t we wet one and make it close up,” I suggested and we ran along to the wash basins at the canteen end of the school.

Malcolm tried holding one under the tap, but it didn’t make any difference. It just stayed open.

“Probably needs longer,” he said.

“I know,” I said, reaching into my pocket and extracting the polythene bag in which my biscuits had been, “let’s put one in this.”

I opened the bag and Malcolm dropped the cone into it. I ran the tap to fill the bag, filled it far too full, took the rubber band which had sealed it, gathered the top and tied it with the band. We started back to the classroom.

As we arrived at the door, one of the pinecone’s scales pierced the bag and water started to squirt out.

“Quick. It’s leaking,” I shouted and we both ran back to the cloakroom leaving a trail of water following us.

We ran around the corner at the end of the corridor straight into Miss Ivory, bumping into her and causing the bag to drop to the floor and burst. The cone went skidding off into the cloakroom.

“What are you two doing?” she demanded, brushing water off her skirt.

“We were trying to make the pine cone close up,” I said.

“Don’t give me that. You were obviously squirting water around and now someone will have to mop it up to prevent people slipping. Go and stand outside my office.”

As we walked off, heads down, I turned and saw her retrieving the soggy bag from the floor. Another child came around the corner and she told him to find Mr Bagshaw, the caretaker and tell him Miss Ivory wanted him to mop the spilled water.

The child ran off towards the caretaker’s room and she marched swiftly after us to her office.

We sat outside on hard wooden seats. The door bore a sign, “MISS PATRICIA IVORY BA BSc MA,” and underneath, “HEADMISTRESS”.

She arrived, unlocked her door and took her seat behind the large oak desk. We stood in front of it looking contrite.

“Now I cannot have pupils running around the school squirting water at each other. Not only is it messy, but it could make someone slip and really hurt themselves.”

“But Miss Ivory, we weren’t squirting,” I said.

“Goodnight. I saw you. Don’t lie to me.”

“We were trying to make the pine cone close up,” ventured Malcolm.

“You could have done that in one of the sinks.”

“We tried,” I said, “but it wouldn’t close.”

“Enough of this. Don’t lie,” she said and stood up, walked around the desk and opened a cupboard, removing a plimsoll.

“Goodnight. Bend over the chair and hold the back of it.”

I knew what was coming. I’d heard of it before but never had it myself. The slipper. I leaned over the chair and braced myself. She came around and stood to my left, lifted my dress and brought the plimsoll down hard onto my backside. Ouch! And again, it really hurt. A third, a painful sting and I bit back tears. Fourth, loud and painful and I cried out, “ouch!” A fifth and I was beyond sore. The sixth seemed harder and really stung. I started to straighten up.

“I’ve not finished, Goodnight. You were the one doing the squirting. Bend over again,” she said forcefully.

I suffered two more strokes and was told to stand by the door.

“Your turn, Shaw.”

“Please miss, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he appealed.

“Bend over.”

Six strokes for him, but not the extra two. Why should I have had to have an extra two?

“Now let that be a lesson not to squirt water in the school corridors. Now go and tell Miss Collins where you’ve been. Dismissed.”

We wandered out towards the classroom. My backside stung something dreadful, but I wasn’t in tears like Malcolm – and he’d had trousers and pants. I only had knickers to protect me. Again the unfairness of wearing a dress struck home.

I don’t think I will ever forgive Miss Ivory for that dreadful injustice and my bottom hurt all afternoon. After that event Malcolm and I had a certain rapport and we talked about everything from football to stories, reading to arithmetic, chess to school sports.

Eventually the difference between boys and girls came up in our conversations. I remember him telling me he’d show me his cock if I let him see my cunt. I remember laughing and telling him to get lost, but I thought about it over the next few days, which seemed an age as a pre-teen, and decided it could be fun. I was also curious. I had seen my father’s penis, but this was someone of my own age. I was interested. Definitely curious.

One day after school, during a hot afternoon, we went onto the bank behind the outside school toilets where we couldn’t be seen. We both sat down facing each other and I remember telling him, “you first.”

He pulled his short trousers and underwear down to his ankles and there was his tiny penis. It was small, only a couple of inches long and I don’t remember seeing any pubic hair and only a tiny sac which had no testes in it yet. I didn’t know that was the reason at the time, of course.

He pulled at his foreskin to hold it up and said, “your turn.”

I remember, for a second, I thought about getting up and running off, but I’d promised. Even then I had a strong sense of fairness and living up to my responsibilities. I lifted my dress and pulled my knickers down to my ankles.

He leaned over and said, “I can’t see anything,” which of course was true. At my age all you could see was the slit. Everything was inside.

“What’s inside?” he demanded as if he’d been cheated.

I decided he rightly had a point, took off my knickers, spread my legs, leaned back and opened my labia with my fingers for him to see.

“Can I touch it?” he asked

I replied, “Me first.”

He shuffled closer and I clearly remember holding his penis and feeling there was something like a bean which moved around inside the skin. I pushed his skin back and saw the top of it, his glans and he objected, saying, “That’s not nice, Ang,” and I swiftly let it go.

Malcolm leaned over me and I rocked backwards letting him see me properly and he prodded me as if my vulva were some kind of wound or a pink slug. His finger didn’t do more than open my inner labia and he gave a sort of distasteful prods as if I was something slimy only actually making contact for fractions of a second at a time.

That was it. Our investigation was over. I pulled my knickers back on and he pulled up his shorts and the adventure was complete.

That was my first sexual experience with a member of the opposite sex. I only ever told my mother and never really had anything to do with Malcolm afterwards. I thought it was, somehow, distasteful or dirty. I’d have liked to ask my mum some questions about it, but couldn’t see how the time would ever be right.

As it happens that summer my friend, Joan, who lived around the corner had her first period and told me how she’d been bleeding and how horrible it was. This fired me up to actually confront my mother about these matters.

I came home after school, probably just short of eleven years of age as I was an August baby so was a year advanced to most in school, and I told her, “Joan’s having a period. What’s a period?”

Mum was a bit taken aback, but soon recovered her composure and took me up to the quiet of their bedroom. There were two wicker chairs and she pulled them around so that they were opposite each other, had me sit in one and she sat in the other.

“Angie, I think it is time for me to tell you a little bit about sex. Do you know what sex is?”

“Yes, I’m a girl and that is one of the sexes,” I volunteered.

“Anything else? Tell me what you know. You’re not in any trouble, I just need to know where to start.”

“Boys have Willies. I touched one of the boy’s Willies last week and he touched my peehole.”

I could see that this made my mother anxious.

“Did you do anything else?”

“No. There was something inside his Willie and he didn’t like it being touched and I let go.”

“Did he touch you?”

“Yes. He sort of prodded me, but didn’t seem to like it.”

“Anything else?”

“No. I didn’t really like it, then Joan told me she was having a period and bleeding and things.”

“OK, Angie. We’re going to spend a little while understanding about sex. OK?”

“Yes.”

“Right, listen carefully, but don’t be afraid to stop me if you don’t understand something. If dad comes home we’ll stop and finish another time. Understand?”

“Yes,” I said, wondering why we should stop talking about it if my dad came home.

“Right. First of all you should keep the bits between your legs private. You shouldn’t show them to anyone else so what you did with Malcolm is wrong and he shouldn’t have let you touch him, either. I touch daddy, but that is because we’re married, otherwise I wouldn’t.”

I wriggled uncomfortably in the seat. Mum got up and fetched a round mirror from the dressing table and told me to come over to her chair and I sat between her legs. She told me we were going to look at my special places and had me take my panties off. With her looking over my shoulder, she positioned the mirror so that I could see my peehole. She got me to stretch my legs wide apart and she reached around and separated my outer labia. She touched them and told me their name. Then she opened my inner labia and I could see a deep cleft between them. Again she named my inner labia, opened them further and pointed at a tiny slit which she said was a urethra and that was where my pee came from. She then opened the bottom part and I could see another possible opening, but bigger than the other and closed. She called this my vagina. She told me that it is a tube stretching into my body which is normally collapsed so the entrance is closed. She also told me the name for all of my sex bits – my lips and vagina and peehole – is the vulva. She explained that others might call it their vagina, but that the vagina was only the internal tube. All the other stuff was the vulva and I’ve never forgotten that since. She told me to feel the entrance to my vagina and push against it gently so that I could feel that it was the opening to a tube. Touching my vulva gave me odd feelings. It wasn’t nice.

She got me to put my panties back on and sit in the other chair again. Then she explained that there were eggs deep inside me and each month one of these eggs made its way into a special place called the womb. If I was not married then the egg would die and once a month it would cause the womb to bleed and that was what a period was. She said I would start them soon and they would happen every month.

Then she went on to say how, when you were married, like her and dad, and loved each other very much, you would want to make a baby. She said that dad’s penis, the real name for his Willie, would fit into my mum’s vagina and he would put some seed into her. The seed would move up into the womb and if there was an egg there it would be fertilised and a baby would start to grow.

When the baby was ready to be born it would come down the vagina and that was it.

“How can it get out of such a small hole?” I asked.

“Well, when you are close to becoming a mummy the hole grows to be large enough to let the baby out.”

“Was I in your vagina?”

“Yes. You came through it when you were being born. It was lovely for me to see you being born.”

I remember going very quiet then I said, “OK,” and that was it.

My mother told me to ask her or daddy questions any time, but never speak about it to strangers or any boys except daddy, as it was a very private girl thing and I should never let anyone ever touch me there until I got married. No one. Never.

That was how I discovered what sex was all about.

– o O o –

Academically I passed my Eleven Plus examination and this gave me the opportunity to join a High School or Grammar School at the beginning of the next school year. I must admit that I had some trepidation about that and then my father brought home more news which was to turn our lives upside down for the summer. He had applied for and got a post as deputy headmaster at a school in a small town called Gurney on the south coast of England. Suddenly we were preparing to move.

Packing cases were everywhere. China being wrapped in newspaper with kitchen implements. Books being put into small manageable boxes. That afternoon a huge Pickford’s lorry arrived and a gang of workmen began loading the furniture, beds, cooker, fridge, twin tub washer, packing cases and the myriad contents of a home collected over more than a dozen years.

By six o’clock everything was gone and my mother was standing in tears in the empty lounge of what had been our home and her and my father’s first house. I cuddled her with dad until the tears stopped and he guided us out through the front door for the last time.

We climbed into our Vauxhall Wyvern and I sat on the back seat surrounded by boxes and coats, bags, pot plants as we began our journey to the coast. Teddy, sat with me in a pullover I’d knitted for him and I held onto him tightly for security as trees and fields sped past the windows.

We had a competition for who would be first to see the sea and I have a sneaking suspicion I won because mum and dad wanted me to. There was the sea, rolling waves of the conjunction between the English Channel and the Atlantic on their inevitable journey to the beach and cliffs of the coast. The road started to fall towards sea level and we entered the small town with daylight beginning to fail.

We passed along a main road fringed by large semi-detached houses until it made a sudden right bend past the railway station, with two green gasometers behind. A steam engine with three carriages was standing in the station and I remember looking around to get a glimpse of the front of the engine as it vanished from view behind a petrol station combined with a car showroom.

The road swung to the right and came alongside the River Storn, a road to the left crossing to the other side. The river, behind a substantial low wall with iron railings, also curved left, the road following it with shops, a hotel, inn and more shops on the right. We came across a small triangular central park where the road split. One went off to the right past a bus station which could be seen at the top. Another road ran to the left of a Lloyds bank and hugged the river. A sign said ‘Storn Beach & Car Park’ in that direction.

We continued up the main road now bordered by shops on both sides until it reached the top where there was a huge white post office building, some hotel buildings and an Art Deco cinema called La Scala. One road went straight on from here following the downs towards a place called Linnet Bay, but we turned right and the road descended through the golf course with holes to both sides, eventually arriving at a conjunction of roads. Two going off to the right and in land, one running left along the side of the golf course towards Linnet Bay and the other, which we took, up a steep incline with a large church on the right.

No more than one hundred yards up this road dad indicated left and we turned into a residential road which I saw labelled ‘Linnet View Road’. Just a few houses along on the right was a white semi-detached house with a curved bay window and brick-built porch. Dad slowed down beside it and said, “That’s our new home Limpet,” his pet name for me gained because of how I used to cling to him when I was younger.

He moved on, accelerating down the hill until he reached the bottom where we turned into the Linnet Inn car park. We were staying here tonight and possibly tomorrow night as well if we haven’t got everything ready to move in. What a great adventure.

In the Inn, the landlady produced egg and beans on toast for us and afterwards we turned in for the night. I had a single bed in mum and dad’s room which felt odd. I’d always had my own room at home and it was strange to be sleeping in a room with them. I had trouble falling to sleep and it wasn’t helped by my dad snoring. Eventually sheer exhaustion knocked me out.

– o O o –

The next morning we were all up and about by eight thirty and sat in the Inn’s dining room awaiting a regular breakfast feast of eggs, bacon, black pudding, fried tomatoes and fried bread with heaps of toast, jam, marmalade and gallons of tea or orange juice available. I’d never seen so much food at breakfast, but dad said we had to eat up as we wouldn’t get much lunch.

“Want to go and see the sea, Angie?” dad asked as he demolished his last slice of toast and old English marmalade.

“Yes, please,” I replied, a huge grin crossing my face. I’d been wanting to go outside since first thing and once I’d washed I’d sat in the bedroom window viewing the surf. I’d seen men standing on the waves which my mum said was called surfing. Amazing.

“OK,” mum said, “let’s go and get our jackets. It looks windy out there,” and we went back up the stairs to our room.

We left the Inn and, although it was windy, it was actually very mild so we left our coats open. Exiting the Inn’s grounds through the gate in the wall, we crossed a quiet road and entered the car park, traversing the lined tarmac on our way alongside a small stream which was tumbling its way towards the sea. We couldn’t catch sight of the sea from this vantage point as it was hidden by a large concrete beach shop and café on the right which hadn’t opened yet and colourful beach huts on the left. We were heading towards the gap between them.

We emerged from the car park on to soft golden sand which stretched away in front of us to where the rollers were cresting, crashing and bursting onto the beach, churning up the sand and causing the water to slide rapidly towards us until the power was spent and it retreated lazily to whence it had come. To the right, cliffs fringed the beach, rapidly climbing more than two hundred feet and comprising jagged dark brown rock. Spurs of rock also ran out into the sea on the right of the beach as evidence of erosion.

To the left the cliffs rose gently to more like one hundred feet and continued parallel to the sea into the distance with many more spurs pointing like accusing fingers into their nemesis, the power of the surf.

I ran directly towards the sea until I arrived at the wetter sand and then heroically dodged each of the waves as they ran ashore in pursuit of my feet. I could hear mum and dad laughing as a stronger wave managed to beat me to my race.

“Don’t get your sandals too wet,” my mother shouted, but it was too late to worry about it now.

The surfers were amazing. I watched two of them in black wetsuits, leaping onto their boards and riding the waves in towards shore, the first one taking a huge tumble which caused his board to fly into the air, while the other managed to balance perfectly as he scooted forward into shallow water, nonchalantly stepping off the board, grasping it once more, turning and beginning to swim back out into the sea by lying on top of it.

As we walked to the east the terrain suddenly became rocky and we investigated some rock pools. Dad pointed out snakelock anemones, a hermit crab, some ordinary crabs and shrimps. We even saw a blenny in the next pool. He showed me how to gently lift rocks in the pools to see if there were crabs underneath. One stone I overturned had what seemed to me to be a huge crab, about three inches across and dad showed me how you could pick it up to look at it more closely without getting nipped. When I think back to it, this one was still only a baby.

It was great fun.

“Want to live by the seaside then, Angie?” he asked.

I nodded vigorously and held his hand as we turned and started back towards the Linnet Inn.

By six o’clock that night I was in my own room above the door of our new house and hanging a blanket over the window until we got curtains.

The next day my mum and I visited an outfitting shop in the town and we spent the morning buying everything on the list for the High School I was to attend. A lovely tailored blazer was first. So pretty with pure gold piping around the edges and the school crest emblazoned upon the pocket. Next a couple of pleated dark grey skirts, one with a kilt-like apron and the other normal. We found knee-length matching socks from the list, two cardigans and a pullover, several blouses, a school tie in gold and blue plus a boater hat, scarf, blue raincoat, heavier overcoat, black shoes, dark blue knickers and vests, shorts for netball and sports’ skirt for hockey plus their appropriate tops, socks and plimsolls. Finally a satchel, a pen box, ruler, parker fountain pen, blue-black ink, some pencils, rubber, pencil sharpener, protractor, set square and one or two other bits and pieces. The shop said they’d deliver later in the day. It all cost a fortune and mum had to write a cheque for more than a hundred pounds.

Another shop was visited to buy prescribed reading books plus good dictionaries for English, French and Latin. Seemed daft to me to have to learn a dead language, but dad said it would help me with many other languages, too.

When we got home I found that dad had hung some really pretty curtains for me in my room and had bought me a desk where I could do homework. Homework – that was definitely a new concept for me. He also showed me how to tie a Windsor knot in my tie which looked really good when done properly. Most kids, he told me, tie a schoolboy knot which not only damaged the tie, but looked untidy.

The next day I turned twelve and we had a special birthday dinner with my favourite toad in the hole dish plus a cake with twelve candles. Dad also promised me that we’d go to the bike shop to choose a new bike with fancy gears in a week or two. I’d need gears because everywhere seemed to be up and down hills in Gurney.

That weekend we walked the coast path from Linnet, past the pretty Mark’s Bay and along to Westcote Mouth Bay where we investigated more rock pools before heading home. On the coming Tuesday I’d start my new school.

Twelve year old Angela GoodnightCome the day, mum got me all dressed up in my new uniform and we headed out of the house, turned into Ferguson drive and down towards the Links road. From there we made our way up Golf Drive.

Suddenly there was a call from behind, “There’s a shortcut through here,” a female voice called.

We stopped and turned around. A girl, also in school uniform, was standing beside some steps which led up onto the golf course. Steps which were to, much later, become an important part of my love life.

“There’s a path across the golf course to school,” she said. She was probably a year older than me, stood a little taller, was thicker set with dark brown hair and fair complexion, “Come with me if you like.”

I looked at mum and she nodded so I walked down to the girl and offered my hand, “I’m Angela Goodnight. We’ve only just moved here. This is my mum.”

“Hello Mrs Goodnight. I’m Joy Feldon. Did you just move into the end of Linnet View Road?”

“Yes,” I said, “How did you know?”

“My parents own the Linnet Inn where you first stayed. You can come to school with me if you like.”

“Is that OK, mum?”

“Yes, of course. Come straight home after school, won’t you.”

I nodded and climbed the steps with Joy.

“You’re not a first year?” I asked.

“No. Year two. You’ll be in Mr Marsden’s form as first years. He’s also the mathematics teacher.”

We crossed the fairway and came to another road called Gerard street where there were quite a few pupils of varying ages making their way towards the school.

My first day was OK. It seemed strange being the youngest kids after having left the previous school as the oldest. I’d made friends with another girl in my class called Linda Ley who lived near the cinema, but her other friend, Pat Gorman didn’t seem to like me very much and, during afternoon break I heard her say, in a derogatory manner, that I was Chinese and you can’t trust the Chinese. She was saying something similar to a number of girls and boys standing together in the school hall.

A few days later, during netball she shouted out, “Come on Chinky, pass the ball,” and made other unpleasant comments, calling me the yellow peril, Chow Mein and chopsticks. None of it was very nice and I remember crying about it that night in my room. It was really starting to bother me.

Joy Feldon was OK, but didn’t really want to be hanging around with a first former so I was becoming a little isolated. I think Linda, and another girl called Jane wanted to be friendly, but this Pat was making it quite clear that she didn’t think anyone should be friends with this slanting-eyed chink! I realised that I was being bullied. I’d never experienced such behaviour before.

As it happens, things conspired in my favour to ease the bullying. Pat turned her ankle while playing netball one day, a few weeks after the start of term and had to be carted off for an X-ray. She’d fractured it and this meant that she wasn’t in school for several days and when she did return she couldn’t do any sports, having to sit in the library with her plaster cast while we played netball and hockey.

Without Pat I suddenly found that I was becoming very popular, especially as I was good at both sports and could also help people with Latin and French. It seemed that I was a natural at languages and was soon becoming a source of help with homework. Several times Linda, Jane and Marcia came to my home and we sat around the kitchen table together doing our language homework. Jane also helped me with my maths, which was not my best subject by a long chalk.

When Pat had her plaster taken off she suddenly found that I was friends with everyone. There was a brief power struggle until, one afternoon, she called me Chinky and Jane said, very firmly, “I don’t think Angie likes that, Pat and, frankly, neither do the rest of us.”

My gosh, I’ve never seen someone go such a shade of beetroot so rapidly. Her mouth dropped open and she was obviously lost for words.

I stepped in quickly, “Don’t worry, Jane, I can put up with it.”

“No, why should you?” said Linda and there was a chorus of “no” from some of the others. Pat ran off and left the rest of us standing there. It was an extraordinary turnaround.

When we left school that afternoon I noticed Pat was alone. She normally walked with Linda as they lived near each other. I made an excuse to Joy, who I usually accompanied across the golf course, and ran to catch up with Pat.

“Pat, hang on,” I called.

She slowed and I came up alongside her.

“Why don’t you like me, Pat?”

“I don’t even know. Sorry,” she replied.

“Why not start again?”

“Really?”

“Yes, I don’t mind the names. I just don’t understand why you don’t like me. You don’t know me.”

“No. Sorry.”

“It hurts.”

“Sorry. I won’t do it again.”

“Right. Fainites,” I said and waved my hand in front of her face with my fingers crossed. The age old childhood cry of truce.

“Yes, fainites,” she replied, crossing her fingers and knocking her hand against mine.

“New start tonight? Linda and Jane are coming down to mine to do the Latin homework. Want to come? We usually have some squash and stuff, too,” I stopped at the point in the golf links wall where the shortcut across the golf course starts.

“Oh, yes. Thanks Angie. Sorry I’ve been a pain. What time?”

“No more sorries Pat. About six-thirty. The others won’t be there until about six forty-five so you’ll already be there and that will defuse any ill feeling there might have been if you turned up after them. Then we can all be friends.”

“That’s really clever, Angie. See you then. Do I need to bring anything?”

“No, just your Latin and French books, see you,” I said.

“I’ve got to go to my auntie’s house because my parents don’t get home until later otherwise I’d walk with you. I only live around the corner from you.”

“That’s OK,” I said, “see you later,” and I climbed onto the golf links and started to make my way home. After being the outcast, suddenly I was everyone’s friend. I felt a whole lot better.

Angela Goodnight, 14th March 2015