Friday 26th May

Jane remembers though once it nearly happened, it was January, the first January she was ever on her own, and it was bloody freezing.  It had been snowing for a couple of weeks and had built up quite deep drifts everywhere, those huge grey ruts in the road were frozen into towering ice cliffs that the not too heavy traffic failed to break down, and everywhere there were these huge white pillows of drift-swept snow where no footprints had been, just the occasional bird tracks or scurried dog paw-prints.

She had been to the youth club dance, the fortnightly pre-cursor to what would later be called a disco, and is now known as clubbing.  Playing records loud was what it was then, and still is I suspect.  As usual she had a few drinks in the pub next door first and was a bit tipsy that night, she remembers dancing with this boy in her class who was undoubtedly the class clown, the clever but stupid kid who always mucked around and got into trouble but was just clever enough to avoid real trouble.  They were especially entranced by the current Traffic hit “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush“.  She didn’t know why, just something about the song, the infectious chorus maybe but they were laughing and spinning round and round in a circle. “Here we go, round and round.”  And then as the song changed and a slow number came on suddenly they were kissing.  Kissing hard and desperately as if tomorrow kissing would be banned, and she knew it was stupid, he was in her class after all, that was just something you didn’t do, go out with boys in your own class. And all the while going round in her head were the words ‘Here we go, round and round. Here we go round the Mulberry Bush.’

But before they knew it they were out on the street and both running along and screaming into the night, the snow, the full moon, the booze and the music.  And they were laughing with the sudden thrill of it all, the sense of freedom and being young and anything possible, and it was half past ten and no-one was around, and there was a half moon giving just enough light between the few and far street lamps, and they just headed for the rec.  The ‘rec’ was the recreation ground where everyone hung out, one of the places they all met – but now late at night and with the freezing weather there was nobody around at all.  Too late even for the dog-walkers – Jane had never seen it so deserted.  It had been snowing all day and a fresh layer of virgin snow had blurred out the footprints, and all around them were these smooth fluffy expanses of pure white snow glistening in the moonlight.

They ran and ran and tripped and fell and dragged each other around in all this cold wet freedom.  She had no fear, no cares at all – it was as if the gloom that had descended on her the last few months had suddenly lifted.  The cold and wet had seeped through her thin coat and even her skirt was soaking and it was so so cold.  But it didn’t matter, the cold didn’t matter at all, in fact it made her feel alive as they rolled around in the snow, and then they started kissing again.  Those hot hot kisses and the cold cold snow soaking through her coat, and even her blouse too was sopping wet and his hands just undid everything, and as he peeled back the soaking wet layers and as the cold air hit her flesh it all seemed right.

This biting cold air at least felt real, and he undid her bra and exposed her breasts and as he grabbed handfuls of snow and rubbed them all over her body it felt electric.  The cold wet snow and his hands and his kisses felt so real, it was as if she had suddenly come alive after weeks of being asleep.  Then before Jane knew it her knickers were around her ankles and he was piling snow on her pubes and rubbing, rubbing and rubbing with his hands as the snow melted and his fingers touched her there.  And she couldn’t get the words of the song out of her head, ‘Here we go, round and round, here we go round the mulberry bush’.

She supposed she must have been drunker than she had thought, but suddenly drunk or not, she came to her senses just as he was getting his thing out of his jeans, and Jane struggled to her feet, yanked up her sodden knickers and started to run back home.  He was all apologetic, and running behind her, imploring her to stop, but she felt she was running on air, despite her soaking wet and freezing clothes and her quite close encounter she was in control now.  She was running but not away from him really, there was no danger anymore from that direction.  She was free, far more free than she had ever been, nothing mattered anymore, even her apparent abandonment by Harriet didn’t matter. All that mattered was the snow and the running and making fresh footprints in the deep damp snow.  She just had to keep making fresh marks in the snow and it would all be right.  She was free at last and she reveled in this freedom, freedom to leave her fresh footprints in all this snow, and the remembered excitement of ice-cold snow on her noonie, and his fingers and her breasts out in the open air, just so exciting and she still had not done it, she was still in control, still intact, that was the wonderful feeling she had.  She never even said goodbye to him; she left him staring in incomprehension at her gate as she ran over the lawn leaving new prints in the virgin snow, all the way to the back door, and upstairs as her thin shoes left a trail of snowy prints all the way to the safety and warmth of her bedroom.