She is out of my league.
I know it, but that’s ok, I’m seventeen and awkward and geeky and everything and everyone is out of my league.
I’d had a hard time of it at school. I’d been bullied at school for years and this hasn’t done my self esteem much good.
Actually, I don’t have any self esteem. That’s ok – I’ll get some of that later, when I’m an artist, I know I will, but for now I’m focussing on just getting by.
At the moment I’m working in a factory. They print junk mail. I work in the reprographics department.
It’s not what I want to do, pretty far from it, but it’s only a short term thing until I get my art together and when I do get it together everything will be fine, I can leave this shitty factory and paint and draw and…
Her hair is red, long, wavy. She is slim, willowy, and she is beautiful.
Out of my league.
her name is Mariah and she is the daughter of one of my mother’s friends. Our parents are religious, Catholic. I used to be religious, which is to say I was fucking terrified by my mother’s warnings that we’d see the Devil in the mirror or I’d go to Hell for wanking, but I’m not religious any more. Several years of being treated like shit makes a person doubt the existence of a loving God in white robes gazing down from a cloud, totting up a teenage boy’s petty misdemeanors and preparing a cosy spot in the bowels of Hades for him to burn for all eternity because he nicked an Iron Maiden cassette from Woolworths.
Our mothers have been talking about us, talking about the music coming from our bedrooms and whether or not it will send us to Hell. The matter still remains undecided, but Mariah’s mother happens to tell her that her friend has a son who likes similar music to her.
A few days later a mix tape arrives. The sleeve in the little clear plastic case is decorated with glitter pen and all the track names are meticulously listed.
There is the slightest scent of perfume on it.
I nearly die.
I don’t know what Mariah looks like yet, but that doesn’t matter. This is human contact. It is like flashing a torch into the night sky and seeing a little light flash back, bright in the darkness.
I put the cassette into my stereo and my life changes forever.
Steel Pole Bathtub.
Strange jittery rock, rough and unpolished. Powerful. Exciting.
This isn’t the sort of music you can nick from Woolworths, this is music from another planet. I play the cassette again and again, drinking it in.
I look at my own pitiful music collection and realise I can’t make her a mix tape in return.
I have nothing to give.
So I write her a letter.
She writes back.
I write again.
She sends me another tape.
I am in heaven.
Was I wrong about God?
Was he only just getting around to me? Is it now my turn to be happy?
Some friends I know are going to the pub on Friday and I write to Mariah, ask her if she wants to come along, not on a date you understand, ha ha, but you know, to talk about music and books and stuff, things we have in common.
She says yes.
We meet in the pub and she is beautiful, and yes, her hair is long and red and wavy. She is slim, willowy, and yes, she is beautiful.
She is out of my league.
But we talk and I make her laugh. I have money, money from the factory job, and for the first time I’m glad of the shitty job because it puts money in my pocket, money I can buy drinks with. Mariah has very little money. She works weekends in a record shop but that doesn’t pay much. She’s doing her A levels, hoping for high scores so she can go to Oxford.
I can’t think about her being anywhere else but with me, in a pub, talking, just talking.
We talk about music and books, about art. She has soft brown eyes, a wide, smiling mouth. Her wrists are so thin inside the sleeve of her beat-up leather jacket. She wears a short dress, black tights, Doc Martens.
I love her.
I fall in love with her.
When last orders are called I walk her and her friend home. We walk through the empty silent streets of the town where we have lived all our lives and Mariah says goodnight to her friend, and then it is just her and me, walking under the orange lights on streets I know like my own reflection in the mirror, but there is no Devil in the reflection, instead there is red hair and brown eyes and beauty.
We say goodbye and grin. We arrange to meet up again in a few days.
Her front door closes softly and I float home, my cold breath heavier than my body.
It is Winter but I have never felt so warm.
We meet again, and again.
Snow falls as it used to fall, deep and perfect, the fat flakes hitting the pub window and sliding down, gathering on the sills, inch after inch, and we drink our beers and I look into those soft brown eyes and fall deeper and deeper.
We walk home through the deep snow, say goodnight to her friend, and then it’s just her and me again, walking under the orange lights on streets that are suddenly unfamiliar, carpeted in thick white, muffled and magical.
Snow has drifted thick in the ginnels, two feet deep, way over the tops of her Doc Marten boots and her tights might get wet, she is feeling the cold, so I pick her up easily, carry her through the drifting snow. Her red hair spills over me, perfumed, and her slim hands clasp around my neck. She is light as my cold breath and I am lighter, floating over the snow, and she turns her face to me and kisses me, the first time I have ever been kissed, and there is a God and it is my turn, and it is incredible.
We say goodnight, we kiss again. We arrange to meet soon.
We meet again, and again.
I listen to her music again and again, as if she is singing to me, and nothing will ever be the same again.
We meet on a Sunday evening, just the two of us. We hold hands under the pub table and she tells me about her A levels and I try to think of something interesting to tell her about my job, but I can’t think of anything.
I walk her home, holding hands under the same orange lights on streets I thought were so familiar but now I’m not so sure, and when we get to her house I don’t say goodnight, we don’t kiss, because she invites me in.
Her parents are there.
They’re nice people and I try to show that I’m a nice person too. Her dad asks me about my job like all dads do while her mum fetches me a glass of their home made elderflower wine.
It’s powerful stuff, cold and crisp, sparkling. I say please and thank you.
After polite conversation her parents go up to bed, leaving the two of us on the couch.
I’m suddenly out of my depth, in uncharted waters. I feel mild terror.
Mariah skips across the room and switches on the television.
She flicks through the channels and finds a programme about church renovation.
I’m mildly confused to say the least.
She returns to the couch, smiling, leans forward, kisses me.
On the television they are restoring a church to it’s former glory and I feel glad, glad because God is good, and if he can make this beautiful girl kiss me like this then he definitely deserves a really, really nice church to hang out in.
Mariah kisses me and pushes me gently back onto the couch, then she straddles me. I slide my hands across her dress, over her firm buttocks, pulling up her dress, sliding my hands across her thighs.
She moans softly into my mouth, bites my lip gently. Her moans are hidden from the straining ears of her parents by a sprightly gentleman called Crispin Midgley on the television explaining excitedly how the pipe organ in the church is being refitted at a cost of several thousand pounds.
My cock is aching, straining against my jeans like a dog at a leash. She can feel it, and gently presses her pussy against it, grinding her slim hips as she slips her tongue into my mouth.
I tremble. A drip of pre-cum oozes from my cock tip, dampening my underwear.
It’s my turn to moan now but good old Crispin Midgley covers for me as he chatters excitedly about pews, lecterns and altars.
I move my hands across Mariah’s body, over her small, firm breasts, feeling her nipples stiffen under my fingers. My cock feels immense, her cunt pressing against it making me panic that I might blow my load right into my pants.
Steady boy. Steady.
Mariah’s red hair covers us, hides our faces, her perfume making my head spin and the blood rush in my veins. I’ve never felt more alive. She sits up, flings her hair back and climbs off me.
She smiles wickedly at me.
Her fingers find the buttons of my jeans.
Here we go.
Thank you, God. Thank you thank you thank you.
She undoes my belt and opens my fly. My stomach muscles spasm slightly with excitement, every molecule in my body screaming in anticipation.
It is the best feeling in the world. I have never, ever felt this good in my entire life.
I moan again and my wingman Crispin Midgley enthuses loudly about the ten ranks of pipes and the wonderful notes they will make.
I owe you one, Crispin.
Mariah slides her hand into my pants and grips my cock. This is the first time a girl has touched my cock and it is simply fantastic, way better than I had imagined. She pulls it free of my trousers and I almost give it the thumbs up.
He’s done me proud.
My cock has never looked so alert, so ready for action. Thick and gleaming, it looks so big in her small, slim hand. She gives it a long squeeze and another clear bead of pre-cum appears at the tip. Mariah is smiling at it, eyes wide, lips wet, her breath coming in small gasps.
And then Crispin Midgley’s face looms large on the television screen.
The volume seems to have increased dramatically.
He says, “AND NOW I SHALL PLAY THIS MAGNIFICENT, NEWLY ERECTED ORGAN!!!!”
Mariah gasps. She looks at me.
She bursts out laughing.
She lets go of my cock and rolls around on the couch, howling with laughter.
I laugh too, but I feel a bit sick.
Ha ha, very funny, but where were we?
Tears are streaming down Mariah’s face.
Crispin Midgley says, “LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE MAJESTIC MIDDLE PIPE.”
Oh please, just fuck off Crispin!
I look down at my cock.
My majestic middle pipe is starting to wilt slightly.
Mariah can’t breathe, she’s laughing so much.
I don’t know what to do. I know the moment has passed but can’t we just… maybe if…
She sits up on the couch and adjusts her dress. She dries her eyes. She takes a sip of elderflower wine.
I feel stupid, sitting there with my cock hanging out.
I tuck it quietly back into my trousers.
We say goodnight and we kiss in the doorway but it isn’t the same, it will never be the same.
I know that soon I will find out she’s been seeing someone else all along, that she gets straight ‘A’s in her A levels and goes to Oxford to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics, that she never touches my cock again, that I never see her again.
I walk home alone under the orange lights on streets I know like my own reflection in the mirror, the streets where I grew up, streets where I will still live in another twenty five years time doing the same job, as familiar as my old, tired, defeated face in the mirror.
My balls ache like they’ve never ached before and I know there is a God and he is looking down at me. I know he’s looking down and pissing himself laughing, calling over all the angels and ark angels, the cherubim and seraphim to look down and laugh, have a fucking good laugh at the poor twat stumbling home with sticky underpants from his first car crash sexual encounter, going home to listen to mix tapes long into the night, and into the morning, until it’s time to go to work in a grim factory in grim Leeds.
There is a God.
And he’s a right cunt.