There was a very strict rule at school. Boys were not allowed to eat Fab ice lollies. They were for girls. Boys ate Zoom ice lollies and girls ate Fab. A girl could eat a Zoom if she wanted, but a boy couldn’t eat a Fab. All the other boys would laugh at you, call you a girl, call you a sissy, like they would if you joined in the skipping games instead of playing football.
I had eaten a Fab once, before I went to school, and when one of the boys in my class asked me if I’d ever eaten one I told the truth, said yes, once, when I was small. He still called me a girl and a sissy and made fun of me because I’d eaten a Fab, once. I didn’t even like it that much. I preferred Zoom. Best of all though was Mylo’s ice cream.
One day during the summer holidays my sister Roseanne and I were with Marc and his mum Huguette, coming back from Hammersmith on a bus. We were upstairs. Huguette had bought us all ice lollies, a Fab for each of us. She didn’t usually buy us sweets. If we went to Chiswick House Grounds for a picnic the sweetest thing we had would be nougat, pink and white. It was okay, but it wasn’t a real sweet, like Caramac or Milky Way. I knew that it was generous of her to get us the lollies, and I said thank you and I wanted to tell her that boys weren’t allowed to eat Fabs. They were for girls. But Marc and Roseanne had already opened theirs, they were eating through the chocolate and hundreds and thousands at the top to get to the pink and white stuff underneath.
I couldn’t tell her that Fabs were for girls when her own son was eating one, even though he was younger than me. I still hadn’t taken the wrapper off mine. Huguette asked if there was something wrong. I’d looked around the bus and couldn’t see anyone from my school. “Uh, no” I said and took the wrapper off. I ate the lolly as quick as I could. It was too cold to eat that quickly, and my nose hurt, but I wanted to make sure that if anyone from my school got on the bus they wouldn’t see me eating a Fab.
We got to the stop at the end of Duke Road and I had finished my lolly already. Roseanne and Marc were still eating theirs. It looked like they were enjoying them much more than I had enjoyed mine. Maybe the rules were different at Marc’s school.