Last year, there were some memes doing the rounds about favourite books and reading habits, and I wrote a post that was my riff on the theme – about 10 books that changed my life.
One of the books was A Room with a View. It’s not necessarily one of my all-time great reads, but it did play a vital role in my teenage years. In my post, I wrote:
“This was the book that inspired my passionate crush on Grant Gillespie, a boy in the upper sixth who dressed like he lived on a Merchant-Ivory film set. Grant broke my heart when he left to go to Glasgow University – which may have had something to do with the fact I ended up there, a year later. Sad, but true.”
To give this story a bit of context: I was at college in an era of black sweaters and massive DM boots and boys bouncing around in clubs to bands called things like New Fast Automatic Daffodils.
Grant Gillespie, with his lovely fringe and his cream-coloured raincoat and the little scarf that caught the breeze when he walked past me in the refectory? Sigh. He was PERFECTION.
Last night, I was looking through my blog stats, as you do, and in between the alarming number of searches relating to “monkey porn”, I noticed someone searching for my lost love’s name and the word ‘sleep’.
“Weird,” I thought to myself. “Wonder who’d be Googling Grant Gillespie?”
Of course, I know the answer to this question now, because I opened my email this morning to find a perfectly lovely email from Grant Gillespie, with the subject line: “Hello There!”
Apparently, Grant was looking for an article he’d written for a sleep website and so Googled his name and the word ‘sleep’. He then found my blog – and the reference to him. I won’t share the entire email but he does say:
“Thanks for thinking I was James Ivoryesque. Personally, I think I might have been trying too hard.”
Which is very nice really, if a bit looking-at-the-screen-through-your-fingers embarrassing. It’s not like I ever actually TOLD Grant Gillespie that I had a crush on him, after all. I checked his current website, just or research purposes – he’s still a lovely looking chap, but lacks the crucial foppish fringe and ecru clothing that so impressed the younger me.
Then there was the killer blow:
“What was your school surname – as it were?”
Oh Grant, Grant – my name was just the same as it is now. Sob. I had your name on the back of my English Lit folder for two years, and you never even knew I was alive.