A new year that changed me: a sexual awakening, and a lesson in loss | Alice O’Keeffe

07. January 2018 Love and Sex 0

Transfixed, Will and I peered over the wall into the garden of adulthood – little knowing the fathomless sadness that lay in wait there

In my family there is a before and an after: one event against which everything else is measured. The new year that changed me took place just “before”, and my memories of it have the tantalising glow of all precious, lost things. It was 1990-91, and I was 11, fresh from my first term at secondary school. My parents had been invited to stay and see the new year in with some friends in their cottage in Pembrokeshire. My sister, Jess, and I were dragged along reluctantly. We didn’t really know Brian and Carla, who were relatively new friends of my parents.

Brian sang in a choir with Dad, and was therefore associated with our enforced attendance at interminable Christmas concerts. To make an unappealing prospect even worse, Brian and Carla had two sons our age, who we just knew would be nerdy and annoying (we had concluded, after years of bitter experience, that almost all the children of our parents’ friends were nerdy and annoying).

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