A year in people #40 – Vic Makins

We were about 15. Vic and I were in different sets for our GCSE subjects so we decided to write messages to each other in a [pink] notebook and pass it to each other in between classes (because of course this was in the days before mobile phones).

The messages were random teenage chit chat, mainly about who we fancied and who we wanted to get off with. There was probably something about Vic’s love of mascara (I was always jealous of her eyelashes) and boring school stuff. There was (quite graphic) writing about how far we’d gone with various boys. We also chatted about people. I can’t remember any of it being really terrible, but teenage gossip about who was doing what, with who, and who we didn’t like. The kind of stuff teenage girls talk about with their mates but who wouldn’t say to anyone’s face. At that age we hadn’t quite learnt that lesson properly.

There was a girl. Let’s call her R. She was Vic’s friend and I don’t think she liked me joining the friendship group. I think she thought I took Vic away from her. She knew about the Little Pink Notebook but it was mine and Vic’s thing.

One day, the notebook disappeared from one of our bags. It was taken. We knew it was taken because it was passed around the whole class to read. By R. Every single person in our class read about those intimate details and the gossipy chat, most likely there was something in there about themselves. Once she’d passed it around everyone she threw it in a sanitary bin so we could never get it back.

Of course, the lesson is to not write that kind of stuff down, but we never intended for anyone else to read it. It’s like putting your personal, innermost thoughts into a diary with the intended recipient to only be you, and then someone taking it and showing it to the world. Not cool.

We ended up in front of the Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Goddard. I was furious, and adamant R shouldn’t have stolen the book, regardless of what was in it. It was theft. Vic was a bit more accepting of the situation. But we were both pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. We got the silent treatment from the class for a while and had to apologise.

Vic was pretty feisty back then (still is) but has a giant heart. I don’t know, or can’t remember, exactly how she felt about the situation back then. I can’t remember whether she was angry at R, or whether she stayed friends with her. I was pissed off at R for quite a while.

I think we both learnt, and grew out of, gossiping about people. She is one of the most caring people I know, and does so much for everyone else before she thinks about herself. One of those people that just manages to fit it all in, with a smile, and I honestly have no idea how. A job, a house, building another house, partner, children, multiple pets, extended families as well as being a foster parent and funny as fuck.

I have nothing but admiration for her. She’s a proper grown up. And still has great eyelashes.

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