Sunday, 19 June 2022

'Summer 1976' by Alison Wassell

The sky is as blue and the sun as yellow as the ones in the paintings your mum says you should have moved on from by now. She buys your first bra. You refuse to wear it.

Your shoulders blister as you loiter in long grass, pretending to field in a game of rounders, praying the ball won’t seek you out. You have never scored a rounder yourself and know you never will. You wear a halter neck top to school. Kevin Hunter tells Simon Hall that if he stands behind you, he’ll get a great view of your left tit. You wear a cardigan for the rest of term.

On holiday you wear your black swimsuit with your 10-metre badge stitched to it, the only sporting award you have ever won. Your mum pats your stomach and says it wouldn’t hurt to lose a pound or two. She stops giving you soldiers with your breakfast egg.

Your first period starts when you’re wearing white shorts, leaving a stain that never quite washes out. Your mum insists on you wearing your bra, which leaves a red weal around your body. She says you need to get used to pain because there’s plenty ahead.

It starts to rain the day you start big school, wearing American Tan tights when everyone else is still in socks. You watch the raindrops weeping down the classroom window when you should be listening, thinking of all the bleeding still to be done.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Remember those times well! I wasn't good enough at swimming to get a 10 metre badge, though!