Le grand solitaire of my high school hallways had an easy amble, seaweed-green eyes and jaw like a shard of Michelangelo’s beloved Carrara marble that, by memory alone, still floods me with the feels. Every school had one: that guy in the worn leather jacket who walked through the school doors as if in slow motion, hair ruffling in an invisible wind as all eyes turned to stare in envy and desire, depending on sexual orientation – and sometimes not.
Let’s go back, way back, and take a moment to observe one of the more public teenage mating rituals, in a small northern town during the mid-90s. There they are congregating in a dark gym that is strewn, with little forethought, in coloured balloons and droopy streamers. Beside a ghetto blaster are two large black amps from which uberous energetic tempos pour forth belonging to Ace of Base, Counting Crows, Boyz II Men, Gabrielle and Garth Brooks. A 30-something DJ is owning his Magnum PI moustache.
The story behind the mysterious disappearance of the grad car began when the Grade 12 Autocad boys fashioned it out of a rusted-out Pontiac in the school’s garage. It was a junk heap, but they got it running about as well as an old dog, and gave it a new coat of metallic orange. The doors were welded shut, out of necessity, so the only way to get in and out was through the windows Dukes of Hazzard style. It was covered in black graffiti from the obvious, “Grad ’95 rocks!” to the moderately clever, “Tell the cops we went the other way.”
My crush on Ayt was common knowledge among my peers; alongside the understanding that Ichiban was a food group, and that the existence of Mainers, which involved driving up and down the lone main street in town, was a form of socializing. As it turned out, my infatuation was also known throughout the general population of townsfolk. Then again, that’s how it is in remote corners of rural existence, where neighbours rely on one another’s secrets for entertainment: gossip is a dish best served at a community potluck.
When I was 13-years-old a familiar notion struck my brain, this time like a lightening rod, to leave me staggering around with the conclusion that it was high time for another grand gesture of affection. Considering my previous track record, I realized that if this proclamation was going to have any lasting effect it was necessary to step up my game. In my lusty adolescence I maintained the belief that a correlation existed between grand gestures and boyfriends. Despite a voice in the back of my head, which I now recognize as the voice of reason, I moved forward with staging The Rap Performance.