The distortion from the speakers was horrendous, and the Methodist Hall was packed with young, sweaty bodies dancing away. Todd had given up any pretence of acting as DJ at the Christian Union social and was simply letting the compilation album ‘Now That’s What I call Music 5’ play out through his father’s stereo. Two bars of disco lights were weakly illuminating the dance floor a few metres past the stage, or as it would be the next day with the chairs back in place, the dais. But from his vantage point there was light was enough for him to see Terry.
He was there wearing his too-loose Frankie t-shirt with ‘Relax’ emblazoned on the front, and too-tight jeans which Todd knew weren’t real Levis 501s - despite the patch on the rear that he’d examined so often. They were in the same lower-sixth form, but different programmes. That hadn’t stopped Todd from memorising Terry’s timetable however, and scrawling ’T + T’ all over his rough book. His mother had seen it and he’d had to hastily explain it was a maths equation he was struggling with.
Was he coming over to him, had he been staring too much? Terry ran his hands through his jet-black hair. Standing on the stage, Todd had to bend down to catch what he said. There was the faintest aroma of Aramis aftershave, making Todd even more giddy.
“Do you want to dance?” He shouted just as the last track.
“I’ve got to do the music.”
“Come on!” Terry reached out with both hands into Todd’s. Had he been drinking? Alcohol had been a strict no-no, but that didn’t mean that people hadn’t bought their own in, and there were a suspicious number of heavy rucksacks tucked underneath the chairs stacked round the side of the hall.
“Okay”, he grinned. Todd felt that the whole hall was looking at him, which indeed they were. He jumped off the stage and half walked, half danced towards the back of the hall, hoping the darkness there would offer some privacy.
As luck would have it the next track was a slow number. ‘Shout’ by Tears for Fears, a big hit a couple of months back. They faced each other and slowly ambled from side to side, arms swinging from side to side like co-ordinated apes. They mouthed the lyrics to each other.
“Shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things I can do without”, and towards the end of the song.
“If I could change your mind, I’d really love to break your heart, I’d really love to break your heart.” For a brief moment Todd felt there was no one else in the room.
“Can we talk later?”
“I’ve got to tidy up afterwards, my Dad’s picking me up at 11:00.”
There was a silence. Then Todd realised there really was silence as the album had reached the end of the last track. With a final look back he ran to the front of the hall and leapt up, fumbling to flip the record, all eyes on him again. When he looked back onto the dance floor Terry’s t-shirt couldn’t be seen in the crowd.