And then I was ten
With her long blonde hair and her well-set, sparkling, big blue eyes, you would find it difficult to believe that the little girl was on commission from the devil himself, but she was.
Sent to cause pain and emotional destruction to all girls of similar age in the little inner London primary we attended, she rained misery down upon us like shards of ice chipped from her cold, cold heart.
She was a child model. Her name was Flangerabbit Moronface.
That’s not true. I have given her a false name, in case she finds this, hunts me down and skins me. Because that degree of evil doesn’t fade even with the best part of twenty years grace. I bet she’s still out there, torturing kittens, having blonde hair and big blue eyes and making the whole world miserable about it.
She had, and I wish I knew how she did it, an incredible hold over the girls of our little class in our little school. She managed once to convince us that it would be cool to make a circle in the dust of the dirt part of the playground, just outside our classroom. So she had us, about 7 of us, Walking Around in a Circle while she watched us, reporting on our progress, and shouting instruction at us.
This is what happens in non-progressive prisons. This is not fun. How did she ever, Ever convince us that this would be a fun thing? Why did we ever, Ever obey her?
No, I know why. Because she was beautiful, and confident, and if you wanted to be in her ‘circle’, you wanted to please her to be so. It drove me crazy that we all bent over backwards to be liked by her. It drove me mad.
I wanted to be friends with people because they wanted to be friends with me. Not because they were the prettiest girl in the class, or the best dressed. But at the same time, I wanted to be liked. And if she was the hardest to be liked by, then so be it; I wanted to be liked by her.
So we would bow down to her. When she decided to take a new dislike to us, and spent the day making fun of a coldsore, or an item of clothing, or something we said, or the way we said it, we would accept it, and bow down even lower, and do whatever it took to make her like us again.
I was about ten when my rebellion started.
Slowly it started to dawn on me that if Flangerabbit Moronface didn’t like me, it might not, actually, be the end of the world. Because, taking all things into consideration, she was really deeply, deeply unlikable. In every possible way I could think of.
I remember when she was the fawning star of a kitchen roll billboard and magazine advert campaign. It was a bad brand of kitchen roll, let me first say that. She forced us all, stating intention of the withdrawal of her favour if we didn’t acquiesce, to obtain a copy of this advert – by buying some godforsaken women’s magazine, as far as I remember – and have it stuck up on the inside of our fliptop classroom desks.
We each had a tiny shrine to our vapid classmate, by order.
I think my first active step was the refusal to tie her shoelaces.
She had a habit, when the shoelaces on her perfect shoes became untied, of asking one of her satellites to bend down to the ground and do it for her. One day, at the corner of the building, while taking our aloof turn around the playground, she asked, and I refused.
She asked again, and I refused. She looked mean. I looked petulant. She said nothing. I said less. The other satellites held their breath. We stared at each other, and at the shoe, and at each other. It was a stand-off the likes of which West London had rarely seen. Apart from perhaps in those race-riots of the 1960s. But this came very close.
And after that, it got easier and easier. I wasn’t so much in the circle as I had been, but that tuned out to be not so bad. I used to like reading more than talking about barbies anyway. Ah, how times have changed. And although Alison Flangerabbit Moronface was consistent in her cowiness, the satellites were still my friends, at end of day, and really, although I have strayed far from this understanding now, it’s easier to tune out people who don’t like you than you would have ever thought.
My beloved is going to laugh like a drain when he reads that. This is not something I manage to live by. Still.
Flangerabbit was the only person in the world I have ever, Ever had a physical fight with. It was about a week before we left primary school and went to different schools, never – as I know now – to meet again.
It was a game that someone had made up. We all stood in lines, each line representing a different shop. One person had to call out the names of products (or things, I have no idea) and whoever was representing the appropriate shop had to run to the hill at the top of the playground and back down again.
I will leave you short of the whole sordid detail, excepting the fact that I was representing the Butchers and She the Bakers, but there was a brief argument on the best origin of Mince meat, and after only a few fierce verbals, the arms started flying, and we were into windmill heavy girlfight hell. Hairpulling, shouting, scratching. I didn’t care what happened to my face. She did.
I can’t remember who won the actual fight.
But let’s face it, taking everything into account, the whole history of Flangerabbit Moronface and the Satellites and Me, I will confidently say, at end of day, I won.
And what kind of twunt says mince comes from a bakers, anyway?
(What is this ’28/28′ thing? What the hell is going on? Confused? Ah, well then, you should read this. It will inform you. Also, it has important birthday information)