On Valentine's Day, I came home, took off my blazer, flung my bag into a corner, sat down, pulled out my diary and a pen, and started to write.
My school has been doing it for years, although I've no idea whose idea it was originally. It must have been fairly cheap, too - all they needed to do was buy a couple of packs of Rolos and some silver wrapping paper. If you wanted to, you could pay 50p to the school council, whereupon they would send a Rolo to the person you had a crush on, along with a note if you so wished.
I rather wanted to point out that this involved telling the school council who you fancied, and exactly why this was a terrible idea, and in any case Rolos are made by Nestlé, so you shouldn't be buying them anyway. I'd been trying to get the tuck shop to stop selling Nestlé stuff for years, which (of course) they didn't.
I wasn't really expecting to be sent a Rolo, and therefore, I wasn't surprised when none arrived for me. I was surprised when the school council turned up during form time and delivered a Rolo to the naughty, dysfunctional kid named Wayne who sat in the corner and muttered dark things to anyone who passed. But I wasn't going to get anything. I wasn't fanciable, anyway - I was too nice, too intelligent, and too much of an outcast. And people kept telling me I was ugly, so there was that as well.
By period four, the novelty of being given one single sweet (and one more dead baby) wrapped in cheap silver paper had worn off. I wasn't seriously expecting anyone to hook up; there weren't that many couples as it was, and those who did have significant others had taken to looking elsewhere for them. And then there were people like me. But then, it did provide a talking point as a bit of idle chatter, and so I asked a friend - who I knew had a boyfriend, so her answer should have been 'no' anyway - if she had been sent any Rolos.
She said she hadn't, but that Bob had been sent three.
THREE! Most people didn't even get one!
My mind went into overdrive. I'd kind of worked out who had sent Rolos to who - Wayne's was easy; she'd signed her note - but I had no idea about Bob. I had no idea if anyone had a crush on her - except me, but I didn't send any - although, because I could see why one would fancy her, I shouldn't have been surprised.
But I was surprised. Three Rolos. Three!
I didn't wait around that afternoon. I went home immediately without waiting around for Einstein or Lightsinthesky. My dad knew better than to ask me if I had been sent any Rolos. He'd bought my mum a Valentine's card, which I thought was quite sweet. I said that I wanted to go upstairs and write my diary entry, and that I'd talk to him later. Off I went.
I sat on my bed, wondering what to write. What do I say? My diary was always for public consumption - I let people read it, and read bits of it aloud to people. Pretty much everything I write has been intended for an audience. I hadn't mentioned that I had a crush on Bob, and in fact, had been telling myself for years that I didn't. I couldn't put something so scandalous in my diary, and besides, I knew from experience how painful it was being fancied by me. (Although the silver girl and the girl-I-used-to-have-a-crush-on appear to have gotten over it by now, I still feel sorry about it.) But I knew - although I wasn't entirely sure why - I needed to write about this.
I mean, three Rolos. That's at least three people. Four, if you count me. At least four.
I took my pen, put it to paper, and wrote her name over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...