I'm Rob, but my family call me Robert. At school some of the girls call me Robbie, but this isn't some sign of affection - they laugh when they say it.
Today, my mum asked 'how was your day at school?' I said it was fine. That was the last lie I told, and it's one I tell pretty much every day to keep her happy. There are some good things about school - it's just they're massively outnumbered by the bad. I'm almost seventeen, but I'm treated like a child. We even still have to do games. Mum loves this because she says I "don't do enough exercise", but if she was forced to run around freezing playing fields and have communal showers afterwards, she'd take a different view.
If I could I'd quit school and get a job - but the only way to get one is with decent A Levels. Catch 22. I want to go into mechanics. I have a go at fixing pretty much anything. It's just relaxing, working out how to mend something, every problem having a logical answer. And I love that smell of grease and old oil.
The best thing I own is my mum's old car. It's a heap of junk, but at least now I've fixed it to be roadworthy. Once I turn seventeen I'm going to learn to drive. And when I've finished college my plan is to travel to America and go driving across country. I don't mean in my mum's car - it would die after a hundred miles - but I'd hire a motorbike, just be alone, travelling.
When I'm at home I avoid my family, and I especially avoid my sister's cat. It's called Tom - after someone from McFly, apparently - and it's a psycho. So I spend most of the time working on the car or in my bedroom. It's my favourite room in the house because no one else comes in. When I'm there I'm in bed. Mum's always like, 'you're such a typical teenager, always asleep.' It's not true though.
At nights I can't sleep because of thinking. I'm sure I think about things more than my friends. In a lot of ways I'm different to them. Like Mark's always showing off about his "five-finger discounts" while I've never stolen anything in my life. And they don't seem to care about exams, but I do. I have to get the right results so I can get out of this town, get away.
And sometimes I can't sleep because of thinking about Jessica. She's one of the good points of school - and she has absolutely no idea that I think this. But if there is one thing I could do that I haven't done yet, it would be to tell her how I feel. That makes me different from my friends, too. More than wanting to get off with her or anything, I just want to talk with her without thinking about how much better she is than me, or about my big nose and close-together eyes. But that won't happen; girls don't talk to me. The last person to say "I love you" was mum - and the last people to see me naked were in those god-awful post-games showers. I'm so afraid that I'll never even be friends with someone who I actually like. I could stay lonely for the rest of my life, and for the stupid reason of being too scared to do anything about it.
TEXT by Sarah Christie + IMAGES by Elizabeth Stewart