Radio Seventeen

by Charlotte Geater

The corridors all smelt like hairspray

not her perfume, even as she passed

 

so he pretended it was her hairspray

(not that she used it)

 

and he sat next to her in history lessons

clammily holding his lighter under the desk.

 

Sometimes he wanted to start a fire,

just in case she hadn’t noticed

 

the way he watched her,

but he never flicked it open.

 

He wanted to hold her hand,

twirl her around the classroom

 

failing that, he’d be John or Paul

and sing to her, clap everytime she smiled.

 

At the school disco, he asked her to dance

she didn’t like early Beatles songs

 

but he twirled her anyway, just that once,

almost kissed her cheek, but for

 

his sweaty fingers stumbling into his pockets

as she finished and slow-danced with another

 

mouthed along to Blondie in an older boy’s ear

and he remembered calling her, getting the wrong number.