Mark T was slightly younger than me and attended posh boys' school the Edinburgh Academy (the uniform, tweedy green, often with brown leather elbow patches, epitomised the school). I met him at a party in the year when the record du jour was Sade, Diamond Life (1985). I was 16 and had already had my heart broken twice. Mark affected the shabby chic of rich kids in the 1980s: his jumpers were cashmere but they had holes in them and he wore battered, pointy suede boots which excited the rude attention of the neds in my village when he arrived on the bus to see me, getting off two stops early by mistake and walking in his innocent fashion through the heart of the lion's den. Mark came from an extremely wealthy family whose house, overlooking the Botanic Gardens, was rented by Elizabeth Taylor one year during the Edinburgh Festival. His pretty blonde sister, 14, had an account card at Benetton. Mark had the entire top floor to himself; he had a juke box, and a pool table, and huge groups of us used to sit around listening to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
I liked Mark, and he said I was beautiful, but he was a bit timid, and I was more interested in Simon D who had a dangerous edge to him (it all seems absurd now); so I dumped Mark and snogged Simon in front of him, in Mark's own bedroom. I don't think about it very often but when I do, I still feel guilty about being so callous.
I was talking to my friend Peter recently about how you can be haunted by hurt you think you've caused someone else; in the meantime they get on with their lives without, probably, a second thought about it. We were imagining what it might be like to be able to go back and say sorry and how delighted, or more likely astonished, the recipient would be.
Simon D aged badly and became something of a joke. I have no idea what happened to Mark. He is probably a lawyer somewhere. I still remember the hurt that someone else caused me in 1985 (clearly "I bear more grudges/Than lonely High Court judges"), of which more some other time - repent, Dougie, damn you! - though despite my exaggeration here for the sake of a story, it doesn't bother me at all anymore. But I can't swear that a little piece of me would not be rather gratified if Dougie came back to apologise. I wish I could do the same for Mark.