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The year was 1986: George Michael had big hair and was singing with Wham! Kids all over the country were nervously sitting the new GCSE exams. Margaret Thatcher was busy fucking up the country, but took a day off to open the new M25 motorway – the biggest car park in the world. And I fell in love.
I was 19 and in the second year of my teacher training degree. Although we were affiliated to Hatfield Poly, our campus was in Watford, so us girls would bus over there on a weekend, or they’d come to us and crash on our floors. Not that any of us ever slept – we were too busy with parties and live music, end-of-term balls, country pubs and finding lurve. Who am I trying to kid? We were students. All we wanted was beer and sex.
Oh, they were halcyon days…
And smack bang in the middle of this was Perry Bacon. My First Love. Aged 18, studying chemistry and The Finer Points of Theakston’s Ale. I don’t remember how we met. Oh yes, I do. I was dating his mate, David. He was a bit of a knob, too.
Perry had ADHD, but in those days we just called it annoying. He was funny and loveable and smart. Always laughing, generally causing mayhem, and usually chucking beer. Oh yes, whenever I saw him, we’d end up in an infantile, enthusiastic beer fight. What can I say? We were kids. It was foreplay.
And each night apart we’d feed our food money into cramped campus phone booths and smile our way into the early hours, whispering our fears and breathing our dreams along the phone line.
And the funny thing was, we never once spoke about being in love. Never once said the words out loud, or acknowledged it, even. We were friends. Good friends who just couldn’t stop snogging. I bought him a huge floppy teddy bear and that’s how we communicated: ‘Come for the weekend? Theodore really misses you!’ or ‘Tell Theo I need a Bear Hug!’
And one day, two years later, it was over. I don’t remember the details, but we were on a train travelling through London. I was crying and then he was gone. Or maybe he left, and then I cried. But there were certainly tears. And he definitely got off the train. And I’m pretty sure it was London.
I bloody loved that bloke, and I often wonder: whatever happened to Perry Bacon?