The Summer of Love

Reads: 176  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 5

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Jobe Rubens

Simon Caldwell's search to find his very first girlfriend.

It was a blazing afternoon in midsummer. From a cloudless blue sky the sun shone down upon a sweltering crowd and the brilliant canvas sheets of the marquees. It was Saturday the 6th of June, their summer fair, and today they were going to get girlfriends.

The four of them stood in shirtsleeves and grey trousers, their backs to the two-storey building where they had spent their first year at this ancient school. They gazed across the vast space of the school field where they ran and played in their lunch breaks, and where the cadet force paraded on Tuesday afternoons. Today it was covered by lines of tents and stalls packed with a heaving mass of school students, parents, and random tourists eager to see this island of privilege from inside the gates. To the left the bank climbed ten or so feet to a higher terrace of flower beds, paths and benches; behind that stood Elizabethan classrooms in grey stone surrounding the cavernous Great Hall.

They were fifteen, academically precocious but unbelievably ignorant about girls (the strange, distorted life of a single-sex grammar school). They had all just taken their public exams a year early and would soon be entering the sixth form together; they were all budding mathematicians.

Charles was tall, lanky and spoke with just the faintest traces of the local accent - his father was a medical doctor. Harry’s father owned a laundry business and had come down from Yorkshire; his son retained the accent in its educated form. Martin was the new boy amongst them, he had only arrived at the school last year - his family was something in finance. Simon Caldwell, son of a manual labourer, knew at once that four young men pack-hunting for girls had zero chance of success. He decided to quietly strike out on his own: he had always been a bit of a loner.

Simon discreetly peeled off, wandering through the crowd with senses alert. He had watched girls at the bus stop, had even talked to one or two who were neighbours, but really he had no idea how one went about this. His meandering path took him through the jostling crowds towards the science block at the far side. There he turned left towards the main buildings and looped around to retrace his steps at the foot of the bank. There were benches here too, and on one he saw a girl by herself, dark haired and pretty, of course.

Instinct propelled him to sit beside her: somehow it was not difficult to strike up a conversation. She went to a posh girl’s school, she lived quite close on one of those broad avenues behind the school which hosted University departments and the homes of those who lectured there. The realisation slowly came to him that she surely had the same purpose in mind as himself.

They were walking together towards the first-year building. By some magic they had ended up hand-in-hand. Simon spotted his three friends in the crowd, still in a group, still unaccompanied. From them came raucous laughter: ‘Look, Caldwell’s got a girlfriend!’ It was the kind of school where boys called each other by their surnames.

Simon smiled in response, relishing his triumph. Before they had to part she gave him her full name, address and telephone number. He had done nothing except hold her hand but Simon was in heaven.

Simon now faced a major hurdle: the reaction of his parents. His home background was shabby compared to that of his peers at school. His father laboured in the steel industry and worse, was in thrall to some fundamentalist evangelical sect. His mother was neurotic, seeing danger around every corner. She was fiercely protective of her son who through some miracle was going places, who had a future.

That evening Simon summoned up the courage. He chose first to speak to his father, who he considered to be marginally more rational.

“I met a girl this afternoon, her name’s Rosemary. I want to go out with her.”

There: he’d said it.

To Simon’s surprise his father was unfazed. It was almost as if he had been expecting this conversation, praising Simon for having it out man-to-man. Simon inwardly cringed. His father discussed logistics in a matter-of-fact manner, “You’ll need an increase in your pocket money,” and called his wife to join the conversation. Here all semblance of rationality ceased. His mother erupted in a woefully familiar rage. The whole idea was unacceptable: her son was opening the door to immorality and evil!

Simon didn’t really know what she had in mind though the idea was breathlessly exciting. What could be so bad anyway about hanging around on street corners?

For the next few days the atmosphere in their cramped council apartment was strained but in the end Simon got what he needed: grudging acquiescence. With great trepidation he summoned up his courage to phone the number:

“”Is Rosemary there?”

“Who is it?”

“Simon.”

“Yes she is, Simon, I’ll just go and get her.”

A mother’s voice - amused and wry.

They would meet at her house the next Saturday afternoon.

It would not end well.

---

Over the next few years Simon would discover that posh girls, those with impeccably liberal middle-class parents, were always allowed to entertain boyfriends in their own bedrooms at home. And thus he was left quite alone with Rosemary in her cosy, tasteful room with its stout brass bed, quilted cover and fluffy toys.

Rosemary looked at Simon expectantly, with anticipation that suggested experience; Simon looked at Rosemary with mounting panic - what exactly was he supposed to do? In class he could use the chain rule to differentiate composite functions and integrate by parts. But here was not school, and this was not maths.

In desperation he improvised, put his arms around her and lifted her from the ground several times. Why? This was not part of any repertoire he had ever seen on TV or at the movies, or even read about. Simon truly did not know why he acted as he did. And neither did Rosemary, who realised she was dealing with a madman. Recoiling in horror she shrieked, “You idiot, what do you think you are doing!”

And thus Simon was summarily ejected from her room, from her house and from her life.

Like many of the mathematically able, Simon was profoundly unempathic. He gave no thought to subsequent conversations in the Rosemary household, quiet decisions made by a protective mother who knew very well what fools young men are.

Simon was stupidly perseverant. He called again. This time her not-so-whimsical mother stated brusquely that Rosemary was not in. After several more attempts (and he really was that naive) he was simply instructed to stop calling, her daughter was not interested.

It was over.

Reality struck home at last: ‘I am so sorry, Rosemary; you deserved so much better from me,’ he thought. And he berated himself for such a missed opportunity: stupid, stupid!

He was matter-of-fact with his parents, ‘Didn’t work out’; his parents thankfully didn't row back from the new order of things. Simon determined that it was simply necessary to find a replacement girlfriend - and to do better next time. He applied himself to research in a more systematic way than hitherto.

‘Harriet’, he thinks, ‘you were treated with a great deal more sophistication. I remember the first delicate touch of your soft lips, lightly brushed with pink lipstick, pressing upon my own.’

"Two stars," he said to Harry later, "in a five star system."

END


Submitted: December 17, 2020

© Copyright 2021 AdamCarlton. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Jobe Rubens

Poor Simon. Posh girls - we have loads of them in my town - look-but-don't-touch kind (noses up in the air). Then they get jealous if you talk to another girl. It's a circus when you're so young.

Thu, December 17th, 2020 10:31am

Author
Reply

Everything is such sweet torture when you're young and it's the first time...

Thu, December 17th, 2020 3:57am

Craig Davison

There are no POSH girls in my town, thank God! They are mainly uneducated scrubbers (forgive my judgemental terminology) who shun me. For some reason I am now obsessed with women with PhDs, but they live in cities I'm too afraid to visit.
Good story. Thanks.

Thu, December 17th, 2020 10:50pm

Author
Reply

Amusing. There must be a middle way - girls with first degrees in social sciences making their moderate ways through life in the suburbs might work?

Thanks for the comment. The story is mostly self-laceration; I'm a super fan of 'posh girls' :)...

Fri, December 18th, 2020 12:39am

hullabaloo22

An entertaining read, Adam. There were plenty of posh girls and guys where I grew up... perhaps the beginning of my insecurity and inferiority complex.
I tried to avoid have anything to do with any of them because it always ended in excructiating embarrassment.

Fri, December 18th, 2020 6:59pm

Author
Reply

Thanks for noticing my little story :). I'm interested in developing Simon Caldwell's life experiences over the next few stories. The next one will be my Christmas story (bleak) probably on Monday.

People have focused on the class thing, posh vs not, but I felt the story was more a lament for the incompetencies of early adolescence... I'm sure we've all been there.

Fri, December 18th, 2020 2:37pm

88 fingers

Posh women are to high maintenance. Give me a woman who can dress up nice for an evening out. But look just as good in a flannel shirt and jeans, eating a taco and drinking a beer.

Tue, December 22nd, 2020 6:17pm

Author
Reply

That has been my experience too - a long time coming I might add.

Tue, December 22nd, 2020 11:01am

Stellanotte

What a wonderful coming of age story. I love the descriptions of the kids and adults, and I laughed out loud when Simon decides to lift Rosemary off the floor for absolutely no reason but being a kid. Great story.

Wed, December 23rd, 2020 7:22pm

Author
Reply

Thanks! These are truly the trackways of our youth :(. Opinions differ chez moi as to whether Simon is désagréable or merely gauche!

Wed, December 23rd, 2020 11:32am

Facebook Comments

Other Content by AdamCarlton

Short Story / Romance

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Thrillers