May 2004 - Zennor

Aged 11 years and 3 months I went on a primary school residential trip to London. Accompanying us on the trip was a girl not part of our school. She was the niece of my teacher Mrs Dickinson, and her name was Rachel. Over the next three days I was first touched by a feeling that would dominate my life in the years to come. I felt so happy when I was around her, I felt jealous when the other boys spoke to her, and I couldn’t stop staring at her when she wasn’t looking. For a few months after the trip we wrote to each other, like secret lovers, though we would never mention the fact that we liked each other so much, it was just kind of implied. I wish I could have known at the time how rare it was to just form this little connection with someone without all of the formalities of “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” and such. However one day the letters just stopped, I’m not sure who didn’t reply to who, but here in my tent, right on the edge of the coast near Zennor, aged 11 years and 3 months I will write another love letter to Rachel. My mum is still in contact with my teacher Mrs. Dickinson, so as soon as I next get internet I will set about trying to track down an address for Rachel and post it to her as soon as I can.

Dear Rachel,

I hope this letter finds you safe and well. Almost 10 years has passed since I last wrote to you. I wonder if you even remember me, I know I certainly remember you. I was the very short, blonde, loud and cheeky boy who you first met on the school residential trip to London with your auntie Karen Dickinson in May 2004. And you, were the first girl I ever fancied. I remember the feeling so well; the way I couldn’t stop staring at you. The warmth I would feel inside when you sat next to me on the bus. It was so exciting. I mean it sounds crazy to talk about this kind of thing considering we were only 11, but it’s amazing to think that that was the first time I ever felt attraction, or a connection with somebody. 

As I am writing this I realise how completely weird this must seem, and therefore think I should explain a little. I am currently sat alone in a tent, in the dark, in a field next to the sea, just outside Zennor, near Land’s End in Cornwall (Still pretty weird I know…). I am running a solo performance project which involves me walking 270 miles from the place I was born in North Devon to the university at which I now study in Falmouth. As I walk along the coast path I am gradually progressing through the events of my life and using them as inspiration. I am currently aged 11 years and 3 months, it’s May 2004, and I am in Zennor. So here I am reliving and remembering my first ever crush; you. I remember so clearly the last moment that I saw you as you smiled and climbed into Karen’s car and the sadness that stunned my body. Don’t worry if you don’t remember any of this, it is strange that I can remember it so vividly. But it is also lovely to remember that feeling of first love.

I just wanted to let you know how I felt back then, as of course I could never have told you at the time. I hope that you are well and living an awesome life. Would be great if you could find the time to reply to me however you can, I have enclosed a card with my email address and project website if you’d like to see what I’m doing.

Lots of Love from a fancier of the past,

Tom Vinall.

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