Tuesday 18th October
That was only the beginning, of course…..
June wrote to him that very night – she didn’t want to waste a moment. She knew he liked her, but would he remember her when he got home, let alone when he got back to his University surrounded by all those clever college girls. He had told her he had a few more months at Cambridge, and then he would be starting work in September. June had been tapping the edge of the table with her beer mat when she saw his dad come over; he was hovering just behind his son’s chair. She was wondering if she had a pen in her handbag to give him her address when he must have read her mind and handed her his fountain pen, but just before he gave it to her he jotted his own down on the nearest thing that came to hand, his own damp beer mat, his writing was neat and even though the ink had begun to seep into the beer she could just read it. They quickly swapped, and looked into each other’s eyes for a second longer than necessary, then a hurried smile and he was gone. But they had both wanted to stay in touch, thank goodness for beer mats she thought; that lucky old beer mat with his smudged name and address ‘Philip Wilkinson’, she liked the sound of that name and she kept it on her tiny dressing table for ages, only throwing it out when she moved in to their first house.
She thought she’d better get her skates on, so she wrote to him at once, as soon as she got in; a short but chatty little letter, carrying on where they had left off in the pub. Not too friendly, not gushing or gooey, just chatty, reminding him how well they had got on and making sure he knew just what an impression he had made on her. And he wrote back the next day, and the day after that too. He came down to Ipswich twice before going back to Cambridge, and they got on like a house on fire. He was really a good talker when he let his guard down, when he felt he was not expected to be clever or witty. But he was actually very clever too, or so June thought. He knew loads of stuff she had never heard of; he could recite whole poems, and knew all the dates of battles going back for centuries, and all about the Romans and that sort of stuff. She had been asleep through most of her school years, bored by school and teachers and all those useless lessons, she couldn’t wait to get out and get a job. She hadn’t really bothered to learn that much, well girls weren’t expected to succeed in those days were they? They would have a husband to do that for them, it was just a matter of choosing the right one (and quickly too, you didn’t want to be left on the shelf).
* * *
Phil had managed to see her twice in Ipswich before he returned to Cambridge for his final term. He made some excuse or other to his parents; his mother certainly gave him a quizzical look, but he didn’t think the old man noticed if he was there or not. He was quite embarrassed at what June must have thought when he insisted on getting the nine o’clock train back to Norwich. Here he was a twenty-three year old man who had to be back home by ten in the evening. But she didn’t seem to mind at all, she seemed to understand, so he didn’t feel pressured into explaining. It wasn’t that there were any rules laid down, he could in theory come and go as he pleased, but he had never actually put the theory to the test. And his parents always went to bed at ten on the dot, so he did too. He never even sat up after they had gone to bed, he wouldn’t have dreamed of it, it would never have occurred to him. This was their routine, they all went to bed at ten, and what would he have done downstairs on his own anyway, the wireless had been switched off, he would certainly not return to his quite neglected studies. So he scurried home via train and taxi with the memory of Junes kisses reeling around in his brain.
He had kissed a few girls at parties and he’d had a sort of tentative girlfriend in the sixth-form, Mary, and they had certainly kissed. Behind the bike sheds for about ten minutes every night before they both had to run to catch buses home in different directions. She once let him slip his hand inside her blouse, but only over her bra, not under it. He was so scared he didn’t dare move it, but just held it there, barely touching, but ecstatically feeling the rise and fall of her petite bosom as she breathed, their mouths clamped together like glue for all of ten minutes. She dumped him for Grice Senior after a month of frantic kissing and nothing else. Grice, who used to boast about his conquests in awful graphic detail, was now going out with Mary, Phil’s first and only girlfriend, the only girl he had ever kissed. He dreaded going into school for a few days, he really didn’t want to hear from Grice’s ugly mouth the gory details of his success where Phil had so obviously failed, but actually Grice never said a word about Mary, and after a week she had dumped him in his turn for a boy from the Secondary Modern down the road. ‘Good on you girl,’ he almost shouted, though late at night he still longed for and missed her kisses, and the hand he hadn’t washed for a week could still remember every embroidered stitch of her size 32B brassiere.
So, in his naivety he thought he knew how to kiss, but that was before he met June. He now realised that with Mary they had simply put their lips together and pressed, he was probably too scared to actually do anything with his tongue; I mean what were you supposed to do with it? Oh, but June taught him alright. And this was wonderful, wonderful kissing, kissing like he had only dreamed about. This was real grown-up kissing. Both their tongues pushing and sliding over each other, then retreating and letting the other push harder; it was sensual and erotic and all those wonderful things he had always dreamed that sex would be like, and yet it wasn’t sex, they hadn’t done that at all, he hadn’t even tried to get his hands under her top, the kissing was enough in itself. He knew now that he was in love with and had to have June, whatever it took. Or if wasn’t love he didn’t care, it was wonderful and he wasn’t going to let her go.
* * *