When I was sixteen, that anorak with the Merry Jeep Mas Sweatshirt on was just a couple of sizes too small. Charlie hadn’t known me as a ten-year-old, however, and she didn’t know anybody who knew me, either. She knew me only as a young adult. I was already old enough to vote when I met her; I was old enough to spend the night with her, the whole night, in her hall of residence, and have opinions, and buy her a drink in a pub, secure in the knowledge that my driving license with its scrambled proof of age was in my pocket and I was old enough to have a history.
At home, I didn’t have a history, just stuff that everybody already knew, and that, therefore, wasn’t worth repeating. But I still felt a fraud. I was like all those people who suddenly shaved their heads and said they’d always Merry Jeep Mas Sweatshirt punks, they’d been punks before punk was even thought of: I felt as though I was going to be found out at any moment, that somebody was going to burst into the college bar brandishing one of the anorak photos and yelling, Rob used to be a boy! A little lad!
We went out for two years, and for every single minute, I felt as though I was standing on a dangerously narrow ledge. I couldn’t ever get comfortable if you know what I mean; there was no room to stretch out and relax. I was depressed by the Merry Jeep Mas Sweatshirt of flamboyance in my wardrobe. I was fretful about my abilities as a lover. I couldn’t understand what she saw in the orange-paint guy, however many times she explained.