I didn't exactly try to make friends, and ended up meeting the ones I did purely by accident. One person I did talk to occasionally (although mostly because we sat next to each other when alphabetised by surname) was always someone I was unsure about, but at least she would talk to me. She ranged from being very sweet to very horrible - I thought at one point that she may have fancied me; she may well have done... but, then again, she wrote a song about me in which she called me "wanker" and suggested I have sex with cats - and I was confused and upset by her seemingly constantly changing attitude towards me.
It wasn't until halfway through my first year that I realised what her aim was. She was friends with a pair of sisters - non-identical twins - in our year. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that both of these girls fancied me, and that I should go out with one of them. At the age of 12, I personally thought of myself as too young to start going out with people, but then I'd also started developing crushes. I wasn't quite having sexual feelings - not yet, anyway - but I was at least heading in that direction.
The reason I was so resistant to the concept of going out with either of these sisters was that I knew nothing about them. The girl in my class (who, later, transferred schools and wrote articles for CosmoGIRL! about how everyone hated her for being a lesbian - which was completely untrue; we hated her massive attitude problem) didn't elaborate or even attempt to introduce me to either of them. Lightsinthesky also had a crush on the taller, prettier one of the pair, and I didn't have the heart to tell him.
Towards the end of year 7 and well into the start of year 8 I found myself - all of a sudden - having intense and actually quite scary (for my 13-year-old self) sexual feelings towards her. I'd started experimenting with sexual fantasies earlier, but usually involving somebody faceless or odd ones involving machinery or dark satanic cannibalism (don't judge me!). I'd never really fixated on one specific person before - and yet here I was, attempting to catch a glimpse of her for the potent erections it was giving me, or lying in bed at night wondering why I couldn't forget her face.
In amongst all this sexual hullabaloo, I'd almost forgotten that a few months ago she had a crush on me, and that I could have asked her out, but didn't. I wouldn't have had the nerve even in year 8, but I'd also convinced myself that if I did, I wouldn't have a chance. She was, after all, tall, blonde, and very pretty. I knew her a little better now - she was a bit flighty and too obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio - but that didn't diminish any sexual feelings for her I was having. After all, my mum told me I looked like Leonardo DiCaprio (spoiler: I look nothing like him). I put all other thoughts aside and constructed a story in which she stripped for me in the alley behind my house and then made love to me in a handily-placed bush.
A few weeks later and it suddenly occurred to me that I could ask my on-again-off-again lesbian "friend" if said girl was indeed still interested in me. If she said yes, then fine - I'd ask her to ask her out for me, and that might go somewhere; if she said no, then also fine - there were other girls I was interested in by this point, and this was almost entirely sexual, so probably not appropriate anyway. But then that was a no-win situation: someone would overhear, or she would spread it around that I'd asked, and then my secret would be out, and her life would be terrible (mine already was).
I dithered around for a while, wondering what to do - a wonder exacerbated somewhat by Lightsinthesky and his intensifying cry of "oh man, she is so FIT!" every time she passed by. She (and her sister) used to sit with us at lunch, as well, which made it both pleasant and uncomfortable at the same time: I was starting to get to know her a little better, but was still having incredible sexual attraction towards her while Lightsinthesky debated whether or not to write a note saying "I LOVE YOU" and pass it to her.
In tne end - perhaps wisely - I didn't do anything. I didn't say anything, I didn't act on anything, I didn't admit anything to anyone. I told my mum (but not my dad) about the other crush I had - which was more of a thing; this one wasn't sexual at all, it was just a romantic attraction - and basically talked myself out of what I potentially could have had, or could have had a year ago anyway, being any real possibility.
And, of course, I never even asked the girl in question about it herself - nor did I broach the subject with her sister, or my lesbian ex-friend, or anyone else (although I told my Head of Year that Lightsinthesky had a crush on her, although I've no idea why...!). I didn't even tell Einstein or Music Man or Man o' War or anyone else I trusted. It wasn't proper, I told myself. Helpfully, she herself seemed to fade away over the following year, and by the end of year 9, I barely saw her. Across the playground once or twice, perhaps, and taking Games at the same time. But most of the time she just wasn't there.
At the time, I regretted not saying anything back in year 7 or even year 8 when I may have had a chance to go on a date (even at a very young age). By the time I got to year 9, and especially year 10, I most definitely was. Certainly there was nobody else who had ever fancied me (or, if there had been, I'd never picked up any sign). My tenuous link to her - who had now left the school and was writing letters to CosmoGIRL! amounting to "EVERYONE WHO ISN'T A LESBIAN IS A HOMOPHOBE!" - was gone. My sexual feelings had matured, and were now much less vague and arbitrary and unexplained.
Halfway through year 11, she turned up to the swimming pool in a one-piece bathing suit while I was doing my weekly swim with the Christian youth group I was part of. I said hello, tucked my raging erection into a pocket of my swimming trunks, and tried to think of something else.
"You look distracted," said one of the guys in the group. "You were looking at that girl a lot."
"Oh, yeah..." I said, vaguely. "She used to fancy me," I added, truthfully.
"She did? Did you go out? She's really good-looking."
"...No," I said. "I... she... do you know what...?"
"...I don't know."
I was still hard when I got home.