Wednesday, 16 January 2013


She nick-named herself Stork – spreads easy, and her navy school skirt had a shiny iron print on the front. Other times I think she wore jeans; fancy clothes weren't really the point of Pam. We sat together, near the door, in registration and English, and Pam's poems were much better than mine.


Pam came round my house a lot. My Mum let her smoke in the lounge; when she opened a new pack she'd turn one cigarette the other way up and save that one till last.


One day we thought a plum streak would look great in her fringe. 'Should I put that shower cap on,' she said, 'so you don't get dye in my hair?' It took me a while to catch on. The Ouija board played dumb to our questions but Paul did give her his leather and suede.


Pam never got spots, though I washed twice as much. The first time was alright she said; girls who go down the stables break in easy.


'You should come with me,' Pam said one Sunday, 'I'm going down that spiritualist church, people get messages you know.' Then on Friday, 'New Political Party are playing in town, we should go down and see them.' 'They're called New Model Army and it'll get all rough,' I told her. We didn't go, but I wanted to really and wished we had even more when I saw fuck this tour black markered on our favourite bench.


George the greengrocer gave her a job, and sacked his driver when word got out Pam had slapped him when he tried to get his hand down her pants in the delivery van.


Mrs Jones got married again, and I didn't like to ask Pam if she would call her Mum's new husband her Dad. 'That dentist only wants to brace your teeth to get more money. When you're sixteen that's when you can get your ears pierced and until then you come in when I say.'


Pam packed a lot in before her curfew. Like one night climbing into the derelict haunted house we called The Place. 'I want to live there one day,' she said. While I stayed out later, dressed flash and made-up like we knew what we were doing to stand in pubs with Wendy, and explain to barmen that at fifteen the law states we could go into pubs as long as we didn't buy a drink.


Then with a two finger sign to sixth form we left school. I got a place at the tech on the coast; George gave Pam more hours at his shop.


I must have been eighteen when my Mum called me over to see Pam's picture in the paper. She was wearing her wedding dress. I heard she left the man stood beside her six weeks later.


The last time I saw Pam she was wearing lycra aerobics gear in the library, with her kid in a pushchair. I didn't ask who gave him to her or about her marriage. We just talked the same way like before.

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