On the way home one evening.
Summer 1944, I had just finished my delivery job for The Bargain Store, it’s been one of the hottest days yet and still very warm.
Instead of going home I thought I would ride up to Chertsey bridge on my delivery bike, for a swim, there were still a lot of people in the river, almost like a weekend.
After a nice splash about I started for home, then I saw Sheila, a friend from school walking along the tow path, I offered her a lift in the bikes basket, she just laughed at the very thought.
We sat down on the river bank for a while just chatting, Sheila was in my class and all I knew about her was that she was a good runner.
Then without any warning she grabbed my arm and said.
“I bet I can beat you at arm wrestling, I always win with my brother”.
I have to say this gave me quite a start, but I wasn’t given a chance to say no, she was very good at it and kept beating me.
It was really too hot for all this and after a while we had a rest and just lay back in the long grass.
I hadn’t noticed before that she had very nice hair, and her skin was glowing in the fading light.
“Phew” she said, “I’m going in for another swim”.
Now, because I had come straight from work I had no swimming costume— earlier I had gone into the river in a quiet spot so it didn’t matter— but now what do I do.
“Come on then”, she said.
And started to undress in front of me, I tried to look the other way and although I could turn my head, my eyes stayed put.
She stood up and I couldn’t help noticing that she had no swimming costume either.
I suddenly felt very hot and itchy all over—I suppose this is what girls would feel when they see a handsome man, I think it’s called a swoon.
I quickly ran in to the river, holding my bits so as not to embarrass her, she didn’t worry about me though, she just jumped in.
She was a better swimmer than I and could stay under water for ages, I never knew where she would come up and kept pulling me under, this was much nicer than just swimming.
Finally, we climbed out and lay down again, without a towel to dry ourselves we just had to wipe the water off with our hands—I’m swooning again.
I remembered Mr Mills had given me a pack of cooking dates, I said.
“Would you like a date, Sheila”
“Oh Alan, no, I bloody wouldn’t”.
She gave me what I can only say was a rather unbelieving look and started to get dressed in a very animated way.
Her mood, which a few moments ago was gay and abandoned had now turned quite angry.
Looking back, I now think she never liked dates and I wish I hadn’t spoilt the moment.
These few hours set the pattern of my relationships with girls for the rest of my life, I just don’t understand them.