When I was 12 years old my best friend was Aifric Byrne. Soul mates from the start. The odds were stacked against us. Her with a ridiculous name (having sisters called Claire and Deirdre didn’t help) and me with my ginger hair and pre-teen pudginess. Also, Aifric always had a plan and I never had a plan so it was a friendship that blossomed quickly. She was highly academic and athletic so I think she actually needed the name or people would have really hated her.
We’d spend all day together at school, go to our respective homes and then after dinner phone each other. On the landline of course and after 6pm unless you wanted to give your Dad a heart- attack. One evening as me and Aifric chatted on the phone. The doorbell at Aifric’s house went. Of course the phone was in the hall, no hands free business at this stage. It was her BOY neighbours Robbie and Keith who were in 1st year in secondary school. I knew no boys so to me the cul de sac that they all lived in was starting to sound like Melrose Place
Aifric:- ‘Here, Robbie wants to talk to you’
Aifric passes the phone to Robbie
Robbie:-‘ Are you a frigid?’
Emma:-‘Am I a frigid?’
Emma:-‘No, of course not’
I had no idea what a ‘frigid’ was. But I assumed by Robbie’s tone that it was a negative thing and panicked. Aifric then came back on the phone and we had a lengthy discussion about me ‘not’ being a frigid. By listening carefully to clues in Aifric’s language I deciphered that a ‘frigid’ in 90s teen language was someone who had not french kissed someone, ‘met’someone.
Who was it? WHO WAS IT? Now at this point I should have done one of two things. Completely back tracked and protested I misheard the original question. Or, use the old classic of a holiday romance- a mystical character that no knew or would ever know. But no I said
Emma:-‘Ah just this guy in my estate’
Aifric:-‘What was his name?’
Emma:-‘ His name?’
Aifric:-‘Yeah who was it?’
Emma:-‘ Ah just this guy Simon’ ( conveniently my older brother’s name and the first name that popped into my head )
I thought I’d gotten away with it. The perfect lie. But turned out there was a Simon in my estate. An older boy who ended up having to deny to Aifric’s next door Carolyn that he had ever even talked to me. The lie had traveled, something I hadn’t anticipated. I was still busy trying to figure out all the new terminology I was being bombarded with.
Time to come clean? God no, Simon was a liar of course and I maintained that it definitely happened. After 20 years though I feel it’s time to tell the true. Aifric, Robbie, Keith, Carolyn and Simon- I was a frigid. And was until I met Robbie behind the libraby later that year.