Third Thursday in August
I know he's not actually joking, because I know that he remembers almost nothing about anything. And I can see the advantages of that. As Ani DiFranco wrote about the goldfish, the little plastic castle is a surprise every time.
I can remember getting my A-level results like it was yesterday.
I had two such experiences, as I took General Studies A level in the Lower Sixth, and Maths, Chemistry, Geography and a Cambridge STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) in Geography in the Upper Sixth. At least two of these qualifications probably don't exist anymore.
I really enjoyed my General Studies exams. Writing an essay about morals and answering multiple choice spatial reasoning questions was fairly close to my idea of a good time when I was 16. Might still be now, in fact. My boyfriend at the time was in the year above, and took the exact same exam (I took it a year early because I was a geek. I was already a year ahead of myself because I was a precocious geek) at the exact same time. The difference was that he walked out of it early, while I was still chewing my pencil and being thankful I'd revised my Greek gods.
We had to go into school to get our results. By that time he'd dumped me, for a variety of reasons, most (in retrospect) having to do with my non-compliance with 1980s Blackpool girlfriend norms. It was bruising. But it wasn't over. I spent literally hours getting ready. I had my hair in a massive back-combed ponytail with a white scarf round my head, I was wearing copper-coloured eyeshadow and frosted peach lip-gloss, plus a white cotton jersey zip up jacket with shoulder pads and a second-hand black tube skirt. And many, many gypsy-style silver-style bangles. (There are no photos of that day so I can't prove any of this. But I'm ridiculously sure.)
I got an A in my General Studies A level. Like all anxious brainy girls, I never really thought I would. But I wasn't over the moon, as I knew I was *capable* of getting an A. It was more a relief.
I met up with schoolmate S, who wasn't getting any results but came along to hang out anyway, and we went to the Winmarith pub across the road. At some point, E showed up. We pointedly ignored each other for a while, but eventually came face to face.
'You actually look all right', he said, in an 'I'm surprised to find myself not embarrassed at having gone out with you' sort of a way. I presented my new enigmatic 'your loss' look, and put 'I am a rock' on the jukebox. (Again).
E got an F in his General Studies A level.
That day was a turning point for me. Though it still wasn't over.
And yeah, I remember it.