My father's nickname was 'Good God’, because every time he opened the door to one of my teenage friends, he used to exclaim, ‘Good God!’ That’s because my all my friends were dressed in funny clothes, and had long hair, both the boys and the girls. My friend Tam was the only one who didn't have long hair, so Dad just about tolerated him. He went to the local grammar school and was older than me. Tam collected me on a Saturday night in his sports car, which his rich dad gave him for passing his exams. He was also wearing a tie.
‘Perhaps you should put on that nice Jaeger suit I bought you for your birthday last year,’ Mum said anxiously. I could have hit her! If she thought I was going to go out with Tam, dressed in that awful tweed suit, she had another thought coming.
‘There’s no need, I think she looks fine as she is,’ Tam said quickly, shielding his eyes from my neon-green, nylon mini dress, which I had recently bought in Carnaby Street with my saved up pocket money.
‘Her curfew is midnight, so bring my little girl back before then,’ Dad ordered. I cringed. I’d always be Dad’s little girl even when I was fifty, I suspected.
‘You can count on me, sir,’ Tam replied smoothly. Just when we were halfway out of the door, Mum had a fit.
‘It’s the middle of winter. You can’t go out without your coat,’ Mum screeched.
‘Oh yes, I can,’ I snapped, pushing Tam outside, before she could order me to wear the hideous winter coat she bought for me on one of our doomed shopping trips together.
‘Don’t forget to bring my darling daughter back home before midnight,’ Dad shouted after us with fake good cheer.
‘First stop, the Coffee Cup,’ Tam said, after we had escaped. He removed his tie, and I carefully climbed into his sports car, careful not to show my knickers while I did so. If my parents knew that Tam hadn’t been invited anywhere, but was planning to gatecrash parties all night long, they would never have allowed me to go out with him. I tried not to smirk when pedestrians gawped at Tam’s swank car on our way to the Coffee Cup, a haunt where teenagers gathered outside every Saturday night. Mum was right though. It was freezing, and by the time we zoomed up to our destination, I felt and looked like a frozen ice-lolly. My lips were so blue, I could hardly speak.
'Cat got your tongue?' Tam sneered. He got 'millions' of addresses from the crowd milling around on the pavement, and off we went, driving around London, looking for parties to crash. I was getting colder and colder by the minute, which was a tragedy as I was trying to read the A-Z, the same time as giving Tam directions.
‘Left, right, right, left – no LEFT,’ I dribbled through cracked lips. Tam skidded to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road, and the car behind us crashed into the back of us.
‘It’s like a domino effect,’ Tam sneered, seeing all the cars behind the one behind us crashing into each other. Luckily, nobody was hurt, including us, and off we drove to a peculiar party in Chelsea, where all the guests were dressed up as vampires and were sloshed.
‘What time is it? I’ve got to be home by midnight, remember?’ I said anxiously. By this time, Tam was having the time of his life, dancing nose to nose with a very tall, female skeleton, who had fangs and was dressed in a black cape.
'Killjoy!' Tam shouted, but I was past caring.
'I'm so cold,' I moaned. By this time it was half an hour before dad’s deadline, so Tam bundled me into his car, and off we zoomed, him acting like he was participating in the Grand Prix.
‘We’ll easily make it back before midnight,’ he chortled, when suddenly I heard a funny noise. I turned round and saw the back right wheel flying off down the street. Tam swore and yelled, and managed to stop the car in the middle of the empty road.
‘It must have happened when those cars bumped into us,’ Tom said grimly, not seeming at all concerned that we were going to miss my Midnight curfew.
‘Dad’s never going to believe me,’ I wailed as Tam spent ages trying to put the new wheel on.
'Are you being slow on purpose?' I asked. He didn't reply. I suspected he couldn’t care less if he never saw me again, which was probably just as well because by this time, I never wanted to see him again either.
‘Dad will never believe me,' I moaned, after Tam finally managed to put on a new wheel. I was right.
‘Good God!’ Dad exclaimed when Tam delivered me home well after curfew, minus his tie. Tam didn't even apologise, so I was never allowed to go out with him ever again. I didn’t know who was more relieved. Him or me. Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2007