Very few of the staff who taught me were still now working at the Stockton Sixth Form College. The only teacher that I recognised was Mr X, still sporting his distinctive comb-over.
I found ECM queening it over everyone in the common room after her star performance in the school play. I knew that she had only be chosen for the lead role because she was blonde, and not on account of any acting talent. This practice simply continued a tradition that had started with nativity plays in the infant school. I knew that these parts would never come the way of a redhead.
ECM seemed reluctant to speak to me, even though we had spent Christmas together just a couple of days earlier. I concluded that she deemed my friendship redundant when so many of her fans were clamouring for her attention.
However, she was forced to speak to me not long afterwards when we were reunited with her mother in the back seat of a Ford that took to the skies. Alongside us flew a banana yellow mark 3 Cortina. “We used to have one of those!” I boasted proudly. As our own vehicle lost height and then started to plummet to earth we grabbed our polythene parachutes and leapt from the driver’s door. I landed on my own in a flooded suburban landscape, where I did my best to swim to safety.
It was several days before I was reunited with my boyfriend. I found him with three or four others building a tree house high above the flood waters. Overcome with relief we fell into each others’ arms, then climbed the rope ladder to the “upstairs” of what would become our new home.