Monday July 29th
Even though I told my parents not to bother, Mum and Dad came along with me and Chris to the station. Parents also insisted on coming right on to the train with us to make sure I got on the right seat. Honestly, they must think I’m still seven, not seventeen.
‘Mind and take care of yourself down there Kelly Ann,’ Dad said. ‘There are a lot of dodgy characters in London.’
I rolled my eyes. ‘Unlike Glasgow where everyone is a total saint. Look I’ll be fine, Dad. I’m sure people will be just the same in London except maybe a bit more polite.’
‘And there’s a heat wave down there just now,’ Dad continued. ‘Forecast is for a scorching summer. Be careful you don’t get burned.’
‘Dad, its England not the Sahara. I won’t get burned.’
‘And don’t forget to eat properly,’ Mum added. ‘A packet of crisps and a cream egg for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day won’t feed a growing girl. Don’t want you coming home with scurvy.’
Hmm, this from a woman whose idea a nutritious breakfast is black coffee and half a dozen Silk Cuts. Still I just said, ‘I’ll be working and living in a hotel Mum. Meals are included.’
‘And remember – first sign of a cold, rub your chest with Vicks – it’s the only thing that works with you. I’ve put some in your suitcase. And I hope you’re not still wearing those thongs instead of proper knickers. Bloody things are practically designed to give you thrush –’
‘Mum! For God’s sake. I’ll be fine.’
‘Anyway I’ve put some cream-’
‘Time we were going, Moira,’ Dad said. ‘Give the kids a chance to say goodbye properly.’ He planted a kiss on my forehead. ‘Bye love. Take care, mind.’
Mum hugged me, then blinking a tear away, hurriedly left. Probably dying for a fag.
Chris had said nothing during all this. Just held my hand silently the whole time. However once they’d gone, he took a small gift wrapped box from his pocket and handed it to me. ‘Go on, open it.’
Oh God he’d got me a present and I hadn’t got him anything. Wish he’d warned me. I unwrapped it to reveal a silver chain with a large cylindrical shaped pendant. ‘Oh, um, you shouldn’t have Chris.’
He smiled. ‘Do you like it? I was going to get you a heart shaped pendent with a photograph of the pair of us inside but I thought that would be a bit cheesy. Instead I got you this. Look.’ He twisted the end of the pendant and tugged on a fine silver thread which hung from the base. A glass tube slid out with a piece of paper rolled inside. At first I thought it was a photo but when Chris took it out and flattened it I saw it was a typed message. He asked me to read it out loud.
If you love someone let them go.
If they come back they are yours.
If they don’t they never were.
All my love Chris xx
‘Of course I’ll come back, Chris. It’s just a summer job.’
He rolled the paper and put it back in the glass container, inserted the tube into the silver cylinder again, then gently clasped the chain around my neck and kissed me. ‘Something to remember me by.’ He smiled, then added in a kind of mock serious tone. ‘I hope you’ll wear this close to your heart every day and think of me.’
‘Of course I will. But I don’t need anything to remind me of you. I’m hardly going to forget the most important person in my life in just a few weeks.’
The train was about to go so Chris swept me into a bear hug then quickly scrambled to the door and jumped onto the platform. I stood by the window and waved until the train moved out of the station and Chris was completely out of sight. Then I sat down and pulled off the pendant. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Chris. I really do. But not even for him was I going have hanging from my neck something which looked exactly like a tampon.