Sun. May 22nd, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

HOLMSEY: Unrequited love…

3 min read

We’re all heading back to the 70s, says the Governor of the Bank of England, but don’t fret; it wasn’t that bad.

I remember a bright spring day; 1976, the entire school seemed to be on the newly-mown playing field and, as the sunlight reflected on her beautiful blonde hair, I decided she was the one for me! Everyone liked her, but I was completely infatuated; I was sure this was the real thing. I’d had mild crushes on girls before, but this time I imagined the two of us spending the rest of our lives together – a home, maybe even children. She became my motivation too, to impress her, I wanted to be successful. I was only 15, senior school year 5, the object of my teenage fantasy was in the year below. By unwritten convention, that’s about right for a first love age gap.

You may remember something similar happening to you in your teens but, trust me, I had it really bad! When my timetable allowed, and sometimes when it didn’t, I followed her around the school like a lost sheep, accidentally and awkwardly bumping into her for a few precious moments between classes. At lunchtimes, our school had hot and cold food choices, modern or traditional; stressfully, they served them at opposite ends of the campus. She was effortlessly one of the cool kids, and they usually made the informal choice, not for them those outdated meat, two veg, gravy and spotted dick dinners that I always craved. Using my developing logistical skills, more often than not, I managed to get myself in the right place at exactly the right time, to join her and her friends in the lunch queue. On the best days, I got to sit at her table, spending 30 minutes or so desperately trying not to stare, while impressing her with my newly emerging wit.

Sadly, there is no happy ending to this story; there was no romance; we were friends, and friends we remained. I did go round to her house a lot, and I’m sure her lovely Mum and older sister must have guessed, but the object of my affection seemed totally unaware of my enthusiasm, let alone my suitability as a potential boyfriend. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone how I felt, and certainly not her.

Shamefully, there were two girls at school who I knew felt the same about me as I did her, but because I was already besotted, I completely ignored them.

When we left school, my love and I kept in touch, and astonishingly, last week, was her sixtieth birthday. She married a really lovely guy, and they have three wonderful children. In 1976, no-one could have told me I would soon ‘get over it’ or that this was ‘puppy love,’ (the title of Donny Osmond’s nauseating 70s hit,) but if they had, I would have ignored them. If only I’d known, then, that those intense feelings would soon fizzle out or, remarkably, that I’d actually marry someone in the year below hers!

In 1976 I was oblivious to the economy; I was preoccupied with my teenage angst. Of course, I know now that the people I really love earned their place in my heart over time. One of those poor confused girls who had a crush on me at school was a David Cassidy obsessive; she even thought I looked like him. I know, these days, no-one would possibly mistake me for a former teen idol, but, 46 years on, whenever I see my first love, she hasn’t changed a bit.

Undeniably, she’s a little older, but she’s still the girl I fell for, and I think that’s lovely.

I’d rather think about that than our economic woes.