Crying Over St Theresa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a 21st-century Sinner

Submitted: January 30, 2012

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Submitted: January 30, 2012




I spent most of my school days in a stunningly and seedily beautiful park, smoking menthol cigarettes (because they tasted better, apparently), with Simon who spent all his waking hours eating crisps; his hands; blazer; tie and mouth were always covered by their remnants. Simon liked setting things on fire, including people’s clothes (blazers burnt well, he discovered) and hair.

I only visited Simon’s house once, on a lazy summer-term day.  We played football in the living room and with a powerful kick I broke the arm off the statue of St Theresa of Avila.  This was the only time that I saw Simon show some care over a possession: the same boy who would happily rip cabling from the walls of the school, regardless of the distress it would cause almost cried over St Theresa.  We were startled by the arrival of the father’s black BMW pulling up the drive, and escaped via the French doors at the back and then sat on the communal green, under an oak, where we could see the house (but not be seen from it) and observe, whilst drinking what we’d illegally bought earlier that day.

To miss a test, Simon; a forgettable boy, called George, and I went to the nearest Tesco and bought a brand of cider called ‘K’ – the slogan was ‘K is for Kwality’ – and spent the whole morning, afternoon, and evening drunkenly wandering around the city.  We even mistook the Palm Trees for a pub; it only occurred to us that it was a residential home when George noticed the smell of urine.

I was always careful (or lucky) to avoid the punishments usually accrued by truants – in fact, I remained annoyingly respectable.  The safe thrill of danger that school provided was what I thrived on.  I could hide in toilets; hearing voices coming closer, knowing that they were the voices of cleaners who knew I shouldn’t have been there, but never gave me away.  The older boys, the prefects, were a different matter for they were rigorous and thorough in their application of rules and punishments.  I was once outraged at the unfairness of being punished for talking back to a nauseating, little, badge-wearing, creep of a prefect who had humiliated me in front of my peers. So I talked my way into becoming one of them and it amused me that I appeared to be setting an example to the younger boys whilst subversively using my position to further my own ends. 

After leaving school I passed my time falling over in old-men’s pubs and in losing my virginity to a prostitute where I was delighted to be offered cocaine though too timid to take it.  For extra funds I got a part-time job, and quickly joined the louche set.  The leader of the group was the charming and sickening Robert, who became a person’s friend within minutes of meeting him or her provided that person bought him a drink, usually a real ale.  I was generous: I bought rounds, and drank myself silly, kicking bins into toilets, to the annoyance of the owners of the gastro pubs I frequented. 

Often I had to crawl into work, swallowing ibuprofen and drinking from a litre bottle of orange juice.  But I enjoyed the blissful speed with which the days passed.  One merged into another imperceptibly just as I moved from one dark room to another.  I did not have to think hard about anything, but could let everything slide.  I took less care of myself and my finances, whilst buying anything that took my fancy. 

The louche set disbanded suddenly for manifold reasons.  There were culls at my workplace and it seemed that my type was no longer to be supported.  The Big Society was not made of people like me.  In fact, I was its sworn enemy.  The country had become more serious and I was still out for a good time.

© Copyright 2019 Hugo Beaumont. All rights reserved.

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