N is for Nineteen Sixty-Eight
The sun shone bright and warm and huge and yellow in the summer of ’68. The pavements were hot. I know they were hot because I went everywhere with my bohemian bare feet. Occasionally flip-flops, but usually bare feet. I wore long cotton skirts that always had a couple of inches of congealed mud on the hem. My hair was long and blonde. My skin was brown. My muscles were toned and my stomach was slim and flat.
I was seventeen. He was nineteen - and the most beautiful boy in the world. He was a musician and I think I fell in love with him when I saw him playing in his band at the local Winter Gardens. His hair was shoulder length and he wore Ben Sherman shirts and flared jeans and trendy boots. We spent the summer walking, holding hands, kissing in the park, talking, and laughing. We spent hours lying naked and unashamed on the miniscule single bed in my bed-sit. We made love but didn’t have sex. I was a virgin and wanted to remain so. I was waiting for ‘the right man’. Most girls did in those days. But in the most innocent way, it really was ‘The Summer of Love’ for both of us.
These were the days before the internet and mobile phones, of course. Being nineteen, he was so much older than me - the naïve seventeen year old. My adult life was only just beginning, and his had already begun.
He wanted to go to London and pursue a career in the music recording business. We never split up. We just drifted apart with none of today’s technology to keep us in touch. But I never forgot him.
By the time I was nineteen, I, too, had joined a band. I sang and played keyboards. This was later to become a full-time career. Meanwhile, back in London, my beautiful boyfriend was getting a name for himself as a recording engineer and music producer.
The music world is quite an incestuous one, so over the years our paths nearly crossed several times. I would meet people who knew him. I would arrive at a studio to record some backing vocals for a band that he was working with. I’d discover that he’d been working in the same studio only a couple of weeks before.
And then I had a job at the BBC as a specialist music producer/presenter. Sometimes I would be reviewing a new album and find his name in the credits as the producer and/or engineer. And the memories of that sunny summer of ’68 would come flooding back. And I would smile.
In the years following the Summer of Love, I had been married and divorced and had a daughter and he had been married and divorced and had a daughter and two sons.
In 2001, I was reviewing an album by a songwriter. As he was fairly local, I got in touch to arrange an interview with him for my show. Emails were exchanged and my beautiful boy’s name cropped up. Our paths crossing again! He had recorded and co-produced the album, of course. The artist suggested that I should contact him. Apparently he often spoke of me! HE OFTEN SPOKE OF ME? GOSH AND BLOODY HELL!!
The songwriter gave me my beautiful boy’s mobile phone number. I called. We spoke. We arranged to meet for a coffee. The gorgeous blonde girl had a slightly wrinkled face. The hair was still naturally blonde, but thinner. The flat stomach was still fairly flat but ravaged by the stretch marks from giving birth.
His clothes were not at all trendy. He, too, had facial wrinkles. And his shoulder length locks were thinner. Oh, and there was a bald patch on the top of his head. And yet…Our eyes met and we hugged, and whatever ‘It’ was (the chemistry that was so strong all those years before) was still there. What’s that expression about beauty being only skin deep? We were still hopelessly in love and still fancied the pants off each other! (I hope our kids never get to read this book! Yuk!)
It’s 2013 now. Nearly twelve years of absolute bliss together. Soul mates. We still hold hands and laugh and walk and talk and cuddle and kiss and laugh.
Pass the sick bag!