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OPINION - Tracey Emin: When I was 14, I used to have sex every Friday night in the back of someone’s van — they were 22

 (Tracey Emin )
(Tracey Emin )

The saddest book I ever read was The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. What made it incredibly sad is the friend that gave me the book had been having an affair with my boyfriend.

I only found out years later, but I often think how it must have been for my then-boyfriend to have to watch me curled up on the sofa reading this book with tears running down my face, as the title loomed killingly across the room.

I look back at this time and think how cruel, how twisted, how hateful and vain this friend was. Of course, she’s not a friend anymore.

 (Tracey Emin)
(Tracey Emin)

They say all is fair in love and war because we have to survive, we have to fight for what we want, but there is a level when that fight scrapes the bottom of the barrel from hell. A barrel full of blood and acidic pus ready to contaminate our hearts and souls for an eternity.

This world can be so cruel, some people are born cruel, others become cruel.

We have all done bad things.

When I was 14, I used to have sex every Friday night in the back of someone’s van - they were 22

Being in love is not bad, we cannot help who we fall in love with.

When I was young, I used to love having sex. When I was 14, I used to have sex every Friday night in the back of someone’s van.

They were 22 and, yes, I was 14, just 14.

He lived in a different town from me so I only ever saw him Friday nights, when he would come over to Margate to Hades for the soul night.

I remember dancing in my little silver mules with tight pink drainpipes on and black glittery boob tube singing to all the lyrics as I danced. “Now that we found love what are we gonna do with it.” Sipping my blackcurrant cider.

Waiting for my signal to follow the man with the van up the stairs of the club.

That’s the thing with love, most of my life it’s me who has been chasing, me who has been following.

Me who could take all blame when it turned out they never loved me.

 (Tracey Emin)
(Tracey Emin)

The last few years I have been so in love. In love with someone who I felt would have gone to the end of the earth for me. Someone who I did not find or follow but they found me, they loved and cherished me, they came to me.

This love felt so different, the love felt easy and natural. It was all I ever wanted.

LOVE IS NOT EASY, it hurts so badly when it fails. It crushes us from the inside out.

All my life I have loved too much.

All my life whether love was true or imagined, it’s hurt.

 (Tracey Emin)
(Tracey Emin)

From now on I will stick to my cats and my art. The unconditional that never leaves me.

 (Tracey Emin)
(Tracey Emin)

P.S. I sent the man with the van a Valentine’s card. His fiancée found it and our Friday night rendezvous from hell was over.

Tracey Emin is an artist