I was online chatting to somebody the other day. We were good friends at school, but you know how it is, you just lose contact, don’t you? In part this was due to me being a cleverarse and getting my A-levels while he had to re-sit the exams a year later. He’s done rather well, actually. He’s a pretty top level epidemiologist just called out of retirement because of Covid. Mind you, one of the worst drivers for whom I sat in the co-driver seat. He’d admit this freely. In fact he just did.

We were talking about young women we knew back then. There were the obvious ones, the ones he and I and my friends sort of rotated about. Come on. You’ve been teenagers, you know how it works.

BUT. Big but. I was reminded of somebody a bit special. A real sleeper.

She was called Catherine (no names, no packdrill) and she complicated things in the maelstrom of events that was Susan. She was so different.

She operated on the outskirts of the circle of friends, female and male, I had. Reticent, quiet, lacking Susan’s crushing ceaseless sarcasm. Not cowed, or bowed down. Just quiet.

My friends used to say, ‘But she never SAYS anything!’

‘She does if you can be bothered to speak to her, you moron. She’s just a bit shy. Pay her some attention, for fuck’s sake! She can be very funny! STOP IGNORING HER!’

And she was ludicrously pretty if I’m honest. Reminded me a bit of Julia. Did I make a tilt at her? No. Not once.

Point one. She was so alluring, I mean majorly hot, I didn’t think I’d even get a look in. But point two, nobody would get a look in without putting a ring on her finger. No ring, not even a snog. Hiding to nothing.

But I did like her. I liked her different persona. She wasn’t like the others, certainly not like Susan, the company Siren. She was really interesting if you got to talk to her away from people who were trying to impress others.

My friend doesn’t get it, he never got Catherine. Another of my friends, who took a tilt at MY then girlfriend, he had a crack at Catherine. Didn’t even get off first base. Hahahahaha.