Another excursion into my teen journals. I was 18 when I wrote this, in the spring of 1984, and I think now that, at that age, I should have had it more together. But it was still high school, my final year, and I had spent much of the fall pining for a girl who I call Shelly in this piece. We dated for a few weeks, if by “dated” you mean “phone calls, chaste evenings and painfully being strung along.” I was in miserable love. This night, though, months later, is one of my less sad. Though some details were forgotten until I reread them, I remember the feeling of that night, driving around with a girl close beside me. The song at the end makes me think of that time, though in reality it was probably Corey Hart. Again, except for some names, the text is presented as written.
It was an evening that left me intrigued and perplexed, slightly annoyed and understanding a few things.
Debra broke up with Dave officially last night so he was for the first time in a while with the boys and we got drunk in Ricky’s car. We drove around in the pouring rain all night.
Driving by James Street we saw three girls running towards us. It was Shelly, Donna and Jenny Lark. They were soaked and dripped all over Ricky’s car which was already filled with wine and pop splashes. “Take us to the Snow Queen,” they said. They all had to use the washroom. Somehow I went in with them. Jenny came up to me and said, “Can I go in here,” pointing to the men’s room. “Ours is out of order.”
“Will you guard the door? ‘Cause I think you’re really cute even though I’m ugly and my hair’s wet.”
I told her she wasn’t ugly over and over while she said she was. I was telling the truth. As she slipped into the men’s room she leaned out and said, “First give me a little kiss on the nose.” I did. She disappeared and I sat on the floor in front of the men’s room guarding and thinking “What is going on!”
Last Sunday, Myrna, Denise and I analyzed the people of the school. The grade twelves are manic-depressives, the grade elevens are snobs and jerks, and the grade tens are neurotics. As the three mentioned girls drove around with us, plus Carrie Gillis and Eileen MacDonald, I discovered that this was very true. Jenny sat on my lap talking to me (I don’t know how many times she complained about her hair). She kept putting herself down and I kept saying “You’re wrong” because she was. Finally she said something like: “Everyone thinks me and Eileen are wimps but we’re not.” Eileen took offense. An argument verging on suicide ensued and Jenny told Rick to stop the car. She opened the door and Rick was forced to stop by the railway tracks at the hospital. I tried to hold her back but she got away and ran off.
We tried to find her in the car but we couldn’t. We yelled for her out the window. Shelly cried out, “Caduba!”
“What!” I said.
“Caduba,” Shelly said.
“What the hell’s a caduba!”
“We’re best friends.”
“You people are weird.”
By now I was angry (“Didn’t I tell you there were all neurotics?”). I got out to look for Jenny. I found her in a scene straight from movies. She was walking down the road along the railway tracks, the rain coming down all around, the dim light shimmering as Jenny walked slowly crying. I caught her and stopped her. We talked as I tried to get her back.
“They all hate me,” she said.
“They don’t. They’re all out looking for you.”
“You are not. You’re cute.” I needed a stronger word for in the washroom she had told me she didn’t like the word “cute” for, like me, it sounded like a bunny rabbit. “You’re quite pretty.” Still not strong enough. “I think you’re beautiful.”
“What’s beautiful about me?”
“Your eyes,” I said for at that moment they shone and sparkled.
“What’s so beautiful about them?”
By now I was getting embarrassed, even in my drunken state. “C’mon,” I said, shuffling my feet. “Don’t make me do this.”
I reassured her that no one hated her, that she was beautiful and that all the guys back in the car thought so. As we walked back to the car she said, “I know in school I always look in total control but I’m really insecure.”
“Aren’t we all.”
Eventually we got all the girls in the car but not before I screamed at them, “Why are you all so fucking neurotic!”
As we drove, Jenny sort of fell asleep against me. She held onto me like a child. I felt no lust; I simply wanted to help.
Shelly was extremely horny in the back seat and in her drunkenness everything became clear.
“I went out with Alex Mahoney for one and a half years and it sucks. Going out with a person sucks and I don’t want to.”
Thanks Shelly, I needed that.
As twelve o’clock came around the girls had to go home. Jenny was still asleep against me who muttered that she didn’t have to be home until twelve-thirty and since she was so drunk we decided to let her be as late as possible. She was staying at her grandmother’s in a trailer so I decided:
“Okay, I’ll walk her around for a while.” Ricky had to be home at 12:30. “If I’m not back by the time you have to leave, then leave.”
I got Jenny walking. We talked. She is a really nice girl even if she is neurotic. I walked in the cold rain wondering what the hell had happened.
“But anyway, that’s okay.”
This last line must be something we said that night or an in joke, now lost to me.