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Don't You Forget About Me / (by Mhairi McFarlane, 2018) -

Don't You Forget About Me /     (by Mhairi McFarlane, 2018) -

Don't You Forget About Me / (by Mhairi McFarlane, 2018) -

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Don't You Forget About Me / (by Mhairi McFarlane, 2018) -
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2018
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Mhairi McFarlane
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Madeline Gould
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,
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upper-intermediate
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10:17:06
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64 kbps
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mp3, pdf, doc

Don't You Forget About Me / :

.doc (Word) mhairi_mcfarlane_-_dont_you_forget_about_me.doc [936.5 Kb] (c: 22) .
.pdf mhairi_mcfarlane_-_dont_you_forget_about_me.pdf [1.86 Mb] (c: 17) .
audiobook (MP3) .


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Dedication For my niece, Sylvie A small superhero Epigraph Loves strange so real in the dark Think of the tender things that we were working on Simple Minds Then Tapton School, Sheffield, 2007 You loved me then what right had you to leave me? Because nothing God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. My most truculent fellow pupil, David Marsden, looked up and wiped his chin on his sleeve. He had given Emily Bront?s Gothic novel the emotion of reading from the menu at Pizza Hut. As a teenage male, it was important you kept it monotonous to avoid allegations from other teenage males of being a massive bender. The room was muggy with that syrupy heat you get as you near high summer, the sort where your clothes feel grubby by midday. In our squat box of a Sixties building, the windows heaved halfway up as poor mans air con, we could hear the liveliness of the school field in the distance. Thank you, David, said Mrs Pemberton, as he closed his paperback. What do we think Heathcliff means in this passage? Hes nowty again because hes not getting any, said Richard Hardy, and we guffawed, not just as it delayed proper academic discussion, but because the person making the joke was Richard Hardy. There was some muttering but no proper answers. It was six weeks to the final exams and the mood was a febrile stew of excitement at imminent freedom and a bottleneck of panic about the reckoning that awaited. The tortured inhabitants of these pages were starting to get on our nerves. Try getting some real problems, like ours. Then what right had you to leave me is a bit creepy, isnt it, I said, if no one else was going to break the lengthening silence. Mrs Pemberton could get testy if they ran on, and make the homework bigger. I mean, the idea Cathy had to stay with him or she deserves to be unhappy is a bit ugh. Interesting. So you dont think Heathcliff is justified in saying that by denying her feelings, she ruined both their lives? Well, I took a breath, its the thing about how her love for Heathcliff is like the rocks underneath, constant, but gives her no pleasure, I say this in a rush due to the inevitable mirth at the word pleasure. It doesnt sound like it was going to be much fun? Its all about her obligation to him. Perhaps then the love they share isnt conventionally romantic but deep and elemental? Its mental, alright, said a male voice. I glanced over and Richard Hardy winked at me. My heart rate bumped. My teacher had an annoying way of taking me seriously and making me do actual thinking. She once kept me back and told me: You play down your intelligence to enhance your standing with your peers. Theres a big wide world outside these walls, Georgina Horspool, and exam grades will get you further than their laughter. Pretty faces grow old too, you know. I was furious afterwards, the kind of fury you reserve for people who accuse you of something thats absolutely true. (I was quite pleased at the pretty face bit though. I didnt think I was pretty, and I wouldnt be old for ages.) A murmur of chatter spread around the class, and the air was thick with no one caring about Wuthering Heights. Mrs Pemberton, sensing this fatal straying of attention from the text, dropped her bombshell. Ive decided youre going to change places. I dont think sitting with friends is doing concentration in this room many favours. She started going from desk to desk, swapping one in for one out, amid much grumbling. I was convinced I could smart mouth my way out of this. Joanna, you can stay put, and Georgina, youre at the front. What?! Why? Obviously the front row was reserved for the problematic, lazy, or outcasts this was deeply unjust. The seating layout respected invisible but rigid castes: swots and oddities at the front. Averagely well likeds, who worked for good approval ratings, like myself and Jo, in the middle. At the back, the super cool girls and boys, like Richard Hardy, Alexandra Caister, Daniel Horton and Katy Reed. Rumour had it that Richard and Alexandra were kind of seeing each other but also kind of not, because they were cool. Come on. Shift. Aw, miss! I got up with a sigh and slung my pens in my bag at a speed that emphasised my reluctance. Here you are. Im sure Lucas will be glad to have you, Mrs Pemberton said, pointing. There was no need for that phrasing, which caused a ripple of sniggers. Lucas McCarthy. An unknown, who kept himself to himself, like all future murderers. Not social contagion, but not who I wouldve chosen. He was lean, with a pointed chin; it gave him a slightly underfed look. He was Irish, signalled by the scruffy-short tar-black hair and pale skin. Some wags called him Gerry Adams, but not to his face because apparently his older brother was nails. Lucas was looking up at me, warily, with dark, serious eyes. I was taken aback by how easily I could read his startled apprehension. Would I make any disgust towards him humiliatingly public? Was this going to be harrowing? Did he need to brace? In seeing his concern, I suddenly saw myself. I felt bad that I was the kind of person hed fear that from. Sorry to foist on you, I said, as I dropped down into my chair, and felt the tension ease by a millimetre. (I liked to use elevated vocabulary but in an ironic, throwaway manner, in case everyone thought I was trying to show off. Mrs Pemberton so had my number.) Heres your question to work on together until the end of the lesson, and well discuss your joint findings on Friday: is Wuthering Heights about love? And if so, what kind? Nominate a note taker, Mrs Pemberton said. Lucas and I gave each other uneasy smiles. Youre the thinker so I best be the writer, Lucas said, scrawling the topic across a sheet of lined A4. Am I? Thanks. I smiled again, encouragingly. I saw Lucas brighten. I rifled my memory bank for any stray useful fact about him. Hed only turned up in sixth form, partly why he was someone out on the periphery of things. He always wore the same dark t-shirts with half faded-out pictures on them, transfers that had fragmented and splintered in the wash, and three red and blue pieces of string as bracelets. I recall some of the boys calling him the gypsy for that. (But not to his face, because his older brother was nails.) In the common room, he often sat by himself, reading music magazines, Dr Marten boot-clad foot balanced on knee. I agree with you about Heathcliff. Hes a werewolf more than a person, isnt he? he said. I realised Id spent two years in the same building as Lucas, the same rooms as him, and wed had never had a conversation before. He spoke softly, with a slight Irish lilt. I vaguely expected a local accent. Id paid him no attention whatsoever. Yeah! Like a big angry dog. Lucas smiled at me and wrote. I dont know, it annoys me Cathy has to take the blame for the whole story, I said. She makes one wrong decision and everything goes to shit for generations. I suppose if she makes the right decision there isnt much of a plot? I laughed. True. Then itd just be Meet The Heathcliffs. Wait, if Heathcliff is his surname, whats his first name? I think he has one name. Like Morrissey. Or he could be Heathcliff Heathcliff. No wonder hes pissed off. I laughed. I realised: Lucas wasnt quiet because he was dull. He watched and listened instead. He was like opening a plain wooden box and finding a stash of valuables inside. Was he plain? I reconsidered. Its not her decision though Lucas said, haltingly, still testing out the ground between us. I mean, isnt it the fault of money and class and that, not her? She thinks shes too good for him but shes been made to think that by the Lintons. They grow up differently, after that accident with the dog. Maybe its all the dogs fault. He chewed his biro and gave me a guarded smile. Something and everything had changed. I didnt know yet that small moments can be incredibly large. Yes. So its about how love is destroyed by I wanted to impress an unhospitable environment. Is it destroyed though? Shes still haunting him as a ghost years later. Id say it carried on, in a different form. But a twisted, bitter, no hope form, full of anger and blame, where he cant touch her any more? I said. Yes. Sounds like my parents. Id told jokes with some success in the past, but I dont think Id ever been so elated to see someone crack up. I remember noticing how white Lucass teeth were, and that Id never seen his mouth open wide enough to see them before. That was how it began, but it began-began with four words, three lessons later. They were printed on lined A4, at the end of shared essays on the role of the supernatural. We had to swap the folder back and forth, annotating it, straining with the effort of impressing each other. I had a seconds confusion as my sight settled on the rogue sentence, then a warmth swept up my neck and down my arms. I love your laugh. X It was there, in Bic blue, an unexpected page footer. It was so casual, Id almost missed it. Why didnt he text me? (Wed exchanged numbers, in case pressing, Bront?-related questions arose.) I knew why. A direct message was unequivocal. This could be denied if necessary. So it was mutual, this newfound obsession with the company of Lucas McCarthy. Id never had a spark like this before, and certainly not with a male, whose skin, Id noticed, was like the inside of a seashell. Id gone from not noticing Lucas ever to being consumed by noticing him constantly. I developed the sensory awareness of an apex predator: at any time I could tell you where Lucas was in the common room, without you ever seeing my eyes flicker toward him. Eventually, I had printed shakily underneath: I love yours too. X I handed the folder back to Lucas at the end of the next lesson, our eyes darting guiltily towards each other and away again. When it was once more in my possession, that page had gone missing. I didnt know what falling love felt like, Id never done it before. I discovered you recognise it easily when it arrives. We found every excuse to revise, out of hours, and the weather meant we could use the excuse of meeting outdoors, in the Botanical Gardens. We were going on dates, but the revision aids strewn around the grass provided a fig leaf. Truly, I couldve hugged Mrs Pemberton. At first, we talked incessantly, devouring information. His life in Dublin, our families, our plans for the future, favourite music, films, books. This dark, serious, laconic Irish boy was an ongoing surprise. He put nothing on show, you had to find it out for yourself: not the deadpan quick humour, not the good looks he couldve worn conspicuously simply by walking tall, not the sharp intelligence. He was self-contained. By contrast, I felt uncontained. When I spoke, he concentrated on me intently. Through Lucass fascination, I saw myself differently. I was worthy. I didnt have to try so hard. The third time we met, in about five days, Lucas leaned over to whisper something in my ear about a group nearby, and I shivered. It was a ruse, he didnt need to get so close, and I felt us move up a gear. Lucas said, as he tentatively smoothed the wisps from my ponytail back into place: Is your hair real? We collapsed in hysterics. Is that the real colour! Colour! Thats what I meant. Ah, God I wiped tears away. Yes this wig is my real colour. I get my wiggist to match them up. Lucas said, unguarded and weak from the mirth: Its beautiful. We both gulped and looked at each other heavily and that was it, we were kissing. After that, we started revising every day. Barrier broken with that kiss, our feelings spilled out more each time we met. Secrets were whispered between us, fears and desires, the risky intimacies piled up. He had a pet name for me. I had never been seen like this before. I had never dared to be seen like this before. Before I met Lucas, my body had been something to angst over and regret: not thin enough, chest too big, thighs too much in contact. When grappling with him, I learned to love it. Despite being fully clothed, I couldnt miss the dramatic effect it had on him: the heat between us, his heart rate, our rapid breathing. I pushed myself against him so I could feel the lump in his jeans and think: I caused that. The thought of being some place private where we could properly clash pelvises was almost too thrilling for me to contemplate. We kept it all a secret. I dont quite know why, there was no moment we agreed to it. It was simply an understanding. There was still this giant ridiculous stigma at school about anybody getting together with anyone. I couldnt face the whooping and applause in the corridors, the nudging, the smirking, the questions about what wed done that would make both our faces burn. And I knew Id get teased, more so than him. For lads, a notch was a notch, and, brutally, I was well liked and Lucas wasnt. The boys would caw and mock and the girls would say ewwww? It was much easier to wait, because soon the captivity, school and its cruel rules, would be over. Its factually accurate to say the first male to see my outfit for the leavers party was stunned, and his jaw dropped. Sadly, he was eight years old, and a right little toerag. As I stepped out into the balmy early evening, dolled not up to the nines but the tens, the next-door neighbours son was flipping the door knocker to be let in, using the tattered stick of the ice pop hed been gnawing on. His mouth was dyed alien-raspberry. Why is your face so bright? he said, which could sound like hed correctly assessed my mood, but he meant the sixty-eight cosmetics Id plastered myself with. Piss off, Willard, I said, jovially. Look at the state of yours. I can see your boobies! he added, and darted indoors before I could cuff him. I adjusted my dress and fretted that Willard despite being no Vogue intern himself, in his Elmo sweatshirt was right, it was too much. It was deep scarlet with a sweetheart neckline that was quite low cut, and I had the kind of bosoms that tended to assert themselves. Id been distracted getting ready because it was the first time in my life Id put on underwear knowing I wouldnt be the person taking it off. The thought gave me vertigo. Lucas and I were on a promise. As clothed make-out sessions became almost as frustrating as they were exciting, I had suggested to him that we could stay over together in town after the sixth form prom. I acted casual, as if this was an obvious thing to do. Even tried to play it off as something I mightve done before. I didnt know if he had. Sure, hed said, with a look and a smile that got me right in the heart and groin. I was so excited I was almost floating: I know the exact day Im going to lose my virginity, and its going to be with him. Id gone to the Holiday Inn earlier that day, checked in, left some things, gazed at the double bed in wonder, come back and reminded my indifferent parents I was staying at Jos. Luckily my sister was away, as Esther could smell a fib of mine a mile off. The party was in a plastic shamrock Irish pub in the city centre, a function room with a trestle table full of beige food and troughs of cheap booze in plastic bins, filled to the brim with ice that would soon melt into a swamp. It was strange, both Lucas and I being there, knowing the intimacy that was planned afterwards, but pretending to be distant to each other. I caught sight of him across the room, in a black corduroy shirt, sipping from a can of lager. We shared an imperceptible nod. Up until now, keeping our involvement to ourselves had felt pragmatic. Tonight though, it finally felt off. What was there to hide? Did it imply shame, whether we meant it to or not? Would he rather have been open? Was it an insult he had tacitly accepted? I was a little anguished, but wed set a course we had to sail now. I could raise it later. Later. I could barely believe itd arrive. My head swam. I was drinking cider and black, too fast: I could feel my inhibitions dissolving in its acidic fizzle. Richard now, Rick, Id learned Hardy said: You look fit. I quivered, murmured thanks. Like a high class prozzy with a heart of gold. Thats your look, right? Hahaha, I said, while everyone fell about. This was grown-up banter and I was lucky to be part of it. As the evening wore on, I felt like I was in a circle of light and laughter, among the halo-ed ones, and I didnt know why Id underestimated myself until now. I mean, OK I was inebriated, but suddenly, being liked seemed a total cinch. Jo and I shared a wondering look with each other: could school really be over? Wed survived? And we were going out on a high? Hey, George. Rick Hardy beckoned me over. He was calling me George, now?! Oh, I had truly cracked this thing. He was leaning against a wall by a bin of tins, with the usual gaggle of sycophants around him. Rumours were he wasnt going to bother with university: his band was getting big label interest. I want to show you something, he said. OK. Not here. Rick unstuck himself from the wall in one sinuous, nascent rock star move, and handed his drink to an admirer. He outstretched a palm and gestured for mine I could feel multiple pairs of eyes swivel towards us and said: Come with me. In surprise, I put my drink down with a bump, put my hand into his and let him lead me through the throng. My bets were on either a new car or a large spliff. I could style either out. I glanced over at Lucas to reassure him this wasnt anything, obviously. He gave me the exact same look as when Id first been sat next to him. How badly are you going to hurt me? 1 Now And the soup today is carrot and tomato, I conclude, with a perky note of ta-dah! flourish that orange soup doesnt justify. (Is carrot and tomato soup even a thing? I said to head chef Tony, as he poked a spoon into a cauldron bubbling with ripe vegetal odours. It is now, Tinkerbell tits. I dont think Tony graduated from the Roux Academy. Or the charm academy.) In truth, I put a bit of flair into the performance for my own sake, not the customers. I am not merely a waitress, Im a spy from the world of words, gathering material. I watch myself from the outside. The disgruntled middle manager-type man with a depressed-looking wife scans the laminated options at Thats Amore! The menu is decorated with clip art of the leaning tower of Pisa, a fork twirling earthworms, and a Pavarotti who looks like the Sasquatch having a stroke. He booked as Mr Keith, which sounded funny to me although theres an actress called Penelope Keith so it shouldnt really. Carrot and tomato? Oh no. No, I dont think so. Me either. What do you recommend? I hate this question. An invitation to perjury. Tony has told me: Push spaghetti vongole on the specials, the clams arent looking too clever. What I recommend is the Turkish place, about five minutes away. How about the arrabiata? Is that spicy? I dont like heat. Slightly spicy but quite mild, really. Whats mild to you might not be mild to me, young lady! Why ask for my recommendations then? I mutter, under my breath. What? I grit-simper. An important skill to master, the grit-simper. I bend down slightly, hands on knees, supplicant. Tell me what you like. I like risotto. Maybe you could just choose the risotto then, am I over thinking this? But its seafood, he grimaces. Which seafood is it? Its in Tupperware with SEA FOOD marker penned on it and looks like stuff you get as bait in angling shops. A mixture. Clams prawns mussels I take the order for carbonara with a sinking heart. This man has Strident Feedback written all over him and this place gives both the discerning and the undiscerning diner plenty to go at. Heres what some of TripAdvisors current top-rated comments say about Thats Amore! This place redefines dismal. The garlic bread was like someone found a way to put bad breath on toast, though theyre right, it did complement the p?t? perfectly, which tasted like it had been made from a seafront donkey. The house white is Satans sweat. I saw a chef who looked like a dead Bee Gee scratching his crown jewels when the door to the kitchen was ajar, so I left before they could inflict the main course on me. Sadly, I will never know if the Veal Scallopini wouldve turned it all around. But the waiter promised me everything was locally sourced and free range so theres probably a Missing Cat poster somewhere nearby if you follow my drift Admittedly I was stoned out of my gourd on my first and last visit to this hell hole, but what the f**k is Neepsend Prawn? This city is not known for its coastline. I would have the Pollo alla Cacciatora at this restaurant as my Death Row meal, in the sense it would really take the sting out of what was to come I told the owner of Thats Amore! that it was the worst Bolognese Id ever tasted, like mince with ketchup. He said it was the way his Nonna made it in her special recipe, I said in that case his Nonna couldnt cook

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