Friday's child

14th May 1999 at 01:00
Reva Klein on what it's like to be ....jilted.

Last week she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. This week, she's red-eyed and miserable. From having been on track for her GCSEs and feeling energised by the challenge of juggling coursework, revision and life, Rose doesn't give a toss about anything now. She's been dumped.

Kevin, as everyone knew in their heart of hearts, wasn't good enough for her. In fact, as Rose's closest friends said behind her back, he was a total prat, a cross between Beavis and Butthead with a bit of Homer Simpson thrown in. He was a model of emotional illiteracy, incapable of expressing anything more than the odd laddish grunt that Rose believed she could decipher. He wasn't even fit (in the sense of good-looking - or, come to that, in the conventional sense, too).

So why did she like him so much? Cast your mind back however many yearsdecades you need to remember your first love. What was the attraction? Nine times out of ten, it was the other person showing an interest in you that got you started. The Romeo and Juliet scenario of hungry eyes finding each other across a crowded room comes later (if ever). When you're 16, unsure of yourself and yearning for something animate to cuddle, a flicker of warmth is enough to make the heart flutter and the brain take an extended lunch break.

And so it was with the beautiful, clever Rose, who until five months ago had managed to elude the oikish attentions of the slavering yoofs around her. Kevin, though, was different. The very things that put her off other boys were, in him, endearing. His attraction to her was suffused with vulnerability. He was like a little boy, but one who shaved and liked to get off with girls.

In the beginning, it was exciting and passionate. Although Rose's mum would only let her see him at weekends, they managed to make the most of it. But the rot set in after a couple of months. He'd say he was going to phone and then wouldn't.

The worst was when a couple of times he'd call at the last minute to say he couldn't meet up with her. Because all her friends had gone out already, she was subjected to the ultimate indignity of spending Saturday evening with her sad family in front of the telly, listening to her parents chortle at Blind Date and talk about how terrible telly was.

The final crunch came last weekend, when he didn't show up and didn't call. Nothing. Not even a response to the message she left on his answering machine. Thanks to the repeated ministrations of her mum ("you don't need him, he was such a wind-up") and her friends ("they're all bastards, he wasn't good enough for you"), she's been able to channel a lot of her hurt into rage.

But the fact is that it's left a great, gaping hole in her life at a point when she needed some comfort. And her pain, fury and misery are all the greater because of this bad, bad timing.

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