When I was ten years old or so, someone from my class called Claire had her birthday party. She invited everyone. And we all came along. The most popular boy was called Jamie and we all fancied him to bits even though he was Stacy (my best friend)’s boyfriend. They were like the “prom” king and queen.
For some reason, with Stacy’s consent, Jamie was appointed the kisser of our spin the bottle game. He would kissed every girl and I was eagerly waiting for my turn. He kissed Aggie, he kissed Fatima, he kissed Claire, he kissed Ardaku, he kissed Dedrie who all flushed a shade of dark pink and then flapped around like chirpy flamingos… I was willing the the bottle to stop at me every time and finally it did, then, it was my turn as it came to a slow halt. I made sure by shifting my body (subtly: I had hoped) to the right.
Jamie, a red curly haired, freckled face, blue eyed wonder crawled on his knees across the stiff brown carpet towards me and I, with long hair to my bum, tied back with many of my mum’s kitsch clips, sat on my knees, my back straight, waiting for my first kiss from a boy as he slowly drew his face closer to mine.
“Nooooo,” yelled Stacy in agony, making not only Jamie jump in fright but also. the rest of the girls went into a complete frenzy, “don’t you dare hurt her!”
The next thing I knew, Jamie was being slapped by all the girls for being mean to poor old Uyen and I never got my kiss from Jamie – whom I thought (and so did everyone else) was the most beautiful boy in the world, (apart from Superman and Knight Rider).
Stacy was my best friend, my protector and my angel. When we first arrived in London from Vietnam, Stacy was assigned by Miss Houston to take care of me because I didn’t speak any English. Back then, when we were 5 years old, in 1982, there were not many foreigners and the boys and girls saw me as an exotic prize. (I didn’t mind – it made me really happy to have all the attention). Stacy was with me at every moment, making sure I had enough milk, enough lunch, that I understood what to do in class, that I wasn’t alone, that I was happy and not sad.
So I must have had the most fearful look in my face as Jamie came to kiss me because that must have been why she stopped him, then I must have looked so disappointed that she smacked him one even though, the poor boy didn’t do anything.
Today, Stacey has many beautiful children, though not by Jamie and this memory of them will forever be remembered and live in me. We were children, so young but with so much love to share. If I had a time machine, this is where I would like to travel to. Happy Valentine’s Day Stacy & Jamie!