I almost don’t mention it at school. I don’t want a repeat of the piss-taking I got for liking Wings. ‘Did you see that John Curry on the telly yesterday – winning the gold?’ I ask eventually.
Sandra grins at me. ‘It were brill. The three of us should go!’ she says, flicking Pat’s arm to get her attention. ‘They have a DJ at the ice rink, Saturdays.’
We’re not there half an hour before Sandra’s off up the back seats snogging some boy with dirty finger nails. I glare at any other lads who look like they might approach and Pat and I have a right laugh trying to stay upright, clinging on to each other for support.
I’m soon tons better than Pat. I love it. I don’t even mind the cramp in my toes or the manky café that smells of stale fat. And I manage to get round the rink on my own, even get to the centre where all the posers are hanging out doing spins and jumps. I don’t abandon Pat at the barrier for long though. I take her hand and guide her round the rink, will her to enjoy it as much as me.
Sandra decides to go to some nightclub the next week, but Pat and I don’t miss her at the rink. I have more fun than I ever would at any disco. As usual, there are boys eyeing us up, but Pat doesn’t bother with them and keeps ogling some older guy with David Essex hair.
‘Will you chase after him for me?’ she asks. ‘I’d never catch him.’
It takes me four goes round the ice and two falls before I crash into the barrier next to him. ‘You need to learn how to stop,’ he says, and winks at me. ‘I can show you, if you want.’
‘My friend wants to know if you’ll go out with her.’
He looks me up and down, slowly moves his eyes away from my bust. ‘Which one’s she, then?’
‘Over there – the pretty one with the blue jumper.’
‘Perhaps? Send her over.’
I skate slowly. I can feel him still staring and I’m desperate to stay upright. I shake my head at Pat. ‘Sorry, he’s already got a girlfriend.’
At registration on the Monday, Pat picks her nails, shrugs. ‘Me and Sandra thought we’d give that new nightclub a go next Saturday. You up for it?’
I feel like I’ve been slapped. I get why they want to go, of course I do. I can picture them next week dressed up in their black stilettoes and the slinky dresses they bought from Miss Selfridge, dancing, scanning the room for boys, plotting who they’ll get off with for the slow dance in the dark. I envy them the dark. But I’d rather be at the ice rink, gliding along to a soppy song, having the chance to hold another girl’s hand.
I couldn’t do that at a nightclub.