ONE afternoon at the bus-stop Maggie Olde asks me a question.
“Would you like to come round to my place for tea on Friday night?”
A few weeks before she asked “Will you go out with me for my Nintendo?”
Compared to that, the new question seems socially acceptable.
“Sure,” I said.
On Friday afternoon we get off the bus. I feel lonely as my other friends go their separate ways. It’s only Maggie and I.
“By the way,” Maggie said as we walked into her driveway “I sort of told my parents that you were my boyfriend.” She scrunches her face. “You don’t mind do you?” Yes! I do mind! “I did tell them, can you just go along with it?”
We walk in the house. I meet the parents, and although I have a lot more to do with Maggie the next year, this is the only time I see them.
We have a barbecue on the back patio. The father asks me questions about sport and what I like to do.
I like stuck-in-the-mud.
Even then I vaguely understand we are both strangers to expected cultural protocols. It’s awkward for both of us. He’s never met a boyfriend of his little 12-year-old daughter before. Probably didn’t think he would for a few more years at least.
Fortunately Maggie and I are not expected to hold hands.
Later, the mother and Maggie drive me home.
But I’m pissed off that I had to do this.
The next Monday at the bus-stop I yell at Maggie and tell her in front of everyone we are not going out.
This is not the first time I embarrass her publicly. And so begins our love-hate relationship.