Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Miss You

This is an all-too-familiar situation. I sit on the edge of my couch with my legs shoulder width apart. I place my elbows on my knees and lean forward, supporting my chin with my upturned palms. In front of me my computer stares back at me, the blinking text pointer on the blank page mocks me and my inability to produce anything.

I’ve come to this computer with a specific purpose. In two days I’m meeting with friends from my summer job and it will be the first time we’ve seen each other in about 4 months. Among these friends is a girl who I grew very fond of over the course of the summer. She is about two inches shorter than me and had blond hair that falls just past her shoulders. She has perfect white teeth that radiate when she smiles. Oh lord, her smile; as soon as she opens her mouth, everyone gravitates around her. Alex has a smile that I would call contagious; as soon as she grins that happy feeling spreads to everyone around her.

Complementing her impeccable smile are a pair clear, bright and beautiful blue eyes. Every time our eyes met I could feel my body get a little weak, being in the presence of something so beautiful, almost like I wasn’t worthy to see them. The only part I regretted about working with her was that it was the summer and her sunglasses hid those godly irises. If I had been able to be around them every day I would have been the luckiest boy in Toronto.

She had a svelte, athletic figure which was due to playing competitive hockey as a teenager. Despite playing such a rough and physically taxing sport she retained a definite femininity to her form, whereas many female hockey players become much more muscular.

Her personality matched her smile and eyes. It radiated out from her and drew people in around her. She would always be found speaking to a crowd of people, simply because people like being around her so much. Sometimes it would piss me off, as I would much rather have preferred to hang just the two of us, but then she’d shoot me a quick sly glance and I would just melt. All it took was a look out of the side of her eye and I knew that she preferred it was just the two of us.  She’s very quick-witted and was usually the first to pick up on my jokes, giving me a coy smile-frown combination that is absolutely adorable. Whereas most people that summer thought I was weird because they didn’t know what I was talking about, she for some reason found my lame sense of humour endearing.

We were definitely a great match personality-wise but came from pretty different cliques. It was kind of Outsiders-esque, as we were from opposite sides of town and also from different tax-bracket. She came from the west side of the city and had fairly well-off parents. Not that they were incredibly wealthy, but they weren’t exactly hurting for money. Whereas many of the girls who came from this area were snobby and conceited, Alex was just the opposite. She was very down to earth and tried to change the subject whenever anybody asked how her parents did.

That was really what I liked most about her; she was different. Someone as pretty and successful as her had no business talking to me. She could have easily been dating a hockey player or some tall, blond job with a blemish-free face. This is why I was so confused.

I came from the east side of Toronto, called Scarborough. It is known as having one of the city’s highest crime rates, being mostly residential and a place that one would avoid unless they lived there. My family weren’t poor but we definitely weren’t well-off either. Both my parents have continued working well into their lives, even now as they start to push 60, well after most people retire. While we have enough to get by, we don’t have very much left over.

Another difference was that I was a punk kid and the only one at our job. I stuck out. Standing next to each other, we were quite the contrast. She was tanned, thin and blond with a wide toothy grin. I was scrawny with long hair and usually sporting cut-off jean shorts with a cut-up shirt to match. How we became so close, I will never know.

But it happened.

Like I said before, I came here with a specific purpose. Though we’ve made a small effort to keep in touch, our relationship is a shadow of what it used to be. Casually texting each other a few times over a semester pale in comparison to relying on each other all summer to get through the day.

So I’ve come here to figure out a way to make Alex fall in love with me, with two days to do so. And to be honest, I’m totally at a loss at what to do.

No, I know what to do. I need to tell her how much she means. However, that terrifies me, so I need to find another way to do it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Hotel Year- It Never Goes Out

This album is really good. It is also free. I think it'd be a great idea for you to download it:

West Hill Pool

I was reading my old ska songs I wrote about you in eleventh grade and noticing how much I loved you and how much I haven't changed. Because back then I was just a naive kid who was wide-eyed and falling hard and now I'm doing at least a little better but still haven't quite figured out my part.

I still try my best to please those who I care about because nothing makes me happier than a smile back.

I still glance at photos of you, at least every now and then. We haven't spoken in about six years and look how well-off we've been. It's true, that shit was quite a mess and things couldn't have gone any more wrong, but I can't pretend that I don't occasionally dream about the different ways it could have gone.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

5:00 To Toronto, Stops At Sportsworld and Guelph

Since I've been going through some writing I've done over the last 4 years or so, I'm going to post a bunch of it here. A lot of it feels extremely personal and open to me, though I'm sure it comes after as pretty veiled to everyone else. Here's one I wrote on a Greyound trip this past year:

I've always been kind of in love with bus trips. As I moved into the later phase of my adolescence I started to act more independently and as a result would travel more. I still remember the first one I took:

I was particularly sweet on a girl at the time and she recommended coming to her neck of the woods for a show. I had a job that summer and suddenly the funds required for bus trips were available. This trip would be the first time we'd even meet in person and I'll always remember the feeling of anticipation I carried while gazing out at what my 17 year-old, city-raised self saw as the rural outback of Ontario. One of my favourite ska records played in the background and it will always be a scene that sticks out in my mind.

After high school I moved away to attend university and as a result bus trips became much more frequent. I would often be travelling alone to see some band play at some place and the time was spent on my own with my collection of music. What was initially scary and new became familiar and comforting. The hour and a half or so time-frame provided me to be alone with my thoughts and feelings at a time when I was rarely alone where I lived.

If I look back and make a mental collage of my bus trips, it quickly becomes a linear history of my young adult life and beautifully illustrates my evolution as a person. From a homesick college freshman, an adolescent ska kid, scared of this surroundings listening to Bomb the Music Industry! to a lovelorn hardcore fan, still sour about his last girlfriend and finally arriving to my mid-twenties, looking forward to an hour of Owen accompanying me along the Lakeshore.

So all this leads to my present situation; again riding the bus to the city and remembering her. Her light hair and toothy smile still sticks out in my mind and the way I thought out smiles complimented each other always seems to work its way into the back of my mind somehow. I've tried for a year or so to convince myself that she wasn't so much of a big deal and that our time together was insignificant, but that's just not true and this trip is what convinced me of that.

So there you go Sweetheart, you're in that collage. And if my mind has taught me anything, you're stuck there. My romantic longing for two young-ins tied together by their shitty job has finally crossed with the intense pride I for some reason take in moving all over the lower half of my province.

And oh boy, that feeling is a little overwhelming.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our Last Song

One year I had a whole bunch of terrible short relationships and was feeling pretty crummy about all of them. I write songs constantly, but thought that trying to vent about all of them in prose would help matters. So that year I tried to write a book where the protagonist was a sort of fictionalized version of myself and the girl I became involved with was a conglomeration of all my (evil) exes into one person, despite having not very much writing experience aside from this blog and never trying anything long-form before (Though everyone's gotta start somewhere, right?). I think I put more effort into than most people assumed I would, but didn't even come close to finishing even a third of it. I still have it saved on my computer and have decided to put one of the chapters that was done up here because I haven't posted anything on here in quite a while. So here it goes:

I’ve realized that when I meet somebody for the first time, I am totally fine with introducing myself and playing my cards right so that I come off as “cool”. However, the tables are completely turned when I meet somebody for the first time, but they are already expecting me. I get nervous. Do I have a reputation to live up to? Obviously someone has deemed important enough to be introduced to this person, so I have to bring my “A” game. But then what if I come off as cocky? I’m not cocky. Am I? No, I’m totally not cocky.

This explains why I am shitting my pants in terror on my way to meet Emily’s parents.

I mean it has only been two and a half months, but we’re going to a party out near her anyways. And she has to drop some stuff off. And her parents will be there when she is dropping those things off. So I guess I am stuck.

Do they know who I am? Did she say “Oh my friend Roger is coming”? Or has she mentioned me as her new “item” or even “boyfriend” to her mom? Or maybe her Dad? Holy fuck.
“I’m nervous.”

I need to be careful and not get too annoying on the trip and piss her off.

“Oh, don’t worry. It’s no big deal.”

It totally is a big deal.


“We’ll only be there for like, a second. Don’t worry.”

“Alright.” I give her a smile. Because she calms me down. And she’s great.

Naturally as we drive around I gaze out the window since St. Catherines is new territory for me. Then all of a sudden we are pulling into a drive way. Thank science I have a flannel shirt on, because the sweat stains on my t-shirt under my armpits must be huge right now.  I shyly stand behind Em as she opens the door to her home.


“Hellllloooo?” We’re walking through her front hall.

“We’re in the living room Emily.” Her mom kind of half sings that sentence. I take off my hat but can’t think of a place to put it. If I leave around it’ll seem dumb, if I keep it on I seem like an asshole. I should have left it in the car.

“Hey Mom!” Em gives her a hug. I stand awkwardly in the doorway waiting to be introduced. Her parents are sitting together on the couch. The Jays are playing the Indians and the game is on mute. This is good. They have a record playing. They still play/maybe collect vinyl! This is good. It’s some band from the 70’s but I can’t quite place it. Foghat? Bad Company? Jackson Browne? So far we have two things in common.

“This is Roger.” She points to me. I shake hands with both and give them both a “Nice to meet you.”

“We’ve heard a lot about you Roger” Is what her dad responds with. This phrase is so cliché, but is what he’s saying a good thing. Is he a man-eating husband who protects his daughter? Fuck. I return an awkward smile and a shoulder shrug because I’m so shy.

“Em, your boots are upstairs. You should also grab your parka; it’s going to get really cold soon.”

“Mmkay, let’s go.”

She’s leaving me alone down here?!?! Oh fuck. Ohfuckohfuckohfuck. I’m probably going to die. He is going to jump off the couch and stick his hands right through my body and yank out my kidneys because I’ve had sex with his daughter. Oh fuck.

Em and her mom leave to go upstairs to gather all her shit. I’m panicking inside. I look at the TV. Jose Molina just struck out.

“Ah, he’s been having a tough time at the plate this year.”

See Dad! I like sports!

“Yea, though I guess they didn’t sign him for his bat.”


“Do you think they’ll keep him around next year?”

“We’ll see I guess”

“I figure Buck will leave and we’ll keep Molina around to show Arencibia the ropes”

“Yea, he is still rough defensively. I guess we’ll see what happens.” I try to say this with an air of perpetual disappointment in the team. So it feels like I’m really saying “Well, here comes another season of rebuilding.”

He laughs. This visit is officially a victory. Got to appreciate the small things, right?

Around this point the song on the record player ends and the next one begins. As soon as the thumping bass line begins, I knew I should have recognized the band. Instantly a smug little grin spreads across my face. I try to hide it so her Dad won’t think I’m some kind of smart-ass or worse, some socially awkward weirdo.

I hear some walking upstairs, which I assume means that Em and her Mom are coming back downstairs. I’m relieved because I won’t have to awkwardly sit and act like I’m so enthralled by the Toronto Blue Jays that I can’t look away from the TV.

I was right and can hear the two talking as they approach the living room. I keep glancing over to the doorway because I want to be able to catch Em’s reaction when she enters the room and hears the song. I’m hoping that her father isn’t catching how much my pupils have been darting back and forth. If he did he would definitely know that I’m nervous about meeting him and probably think I was just counting down the moments until the girls got back to the room. I don’t want this to happen. Especially because it’s completely true.

As they enter the room, her mom hums the words and kind of half-dances skips over to the couch and sits down next to her husband. This is good. It probably means that she’s a “young at heart” type of adult. My guess is that she’s well into her forties, but she still enjoys the things from her youth. I like that because it means it will be easier to get along with her. I shoot a quick glance over to Em and she’s already giving me an amazing little smile with an “Oh yeah, I noticed” look in her eyes. I do a status check on myself.

Heart: Melted.

Knees: Weak.

Palms: Sweaty and cold.

Chest: Light as a feather.

This is why I’m so infatuated with this young woman. Even in a situation where my anxieties and nervousness are really getting  the best of me and internally I’m pulling out my hair and freaking out, she remedy all of this instantly with only a look and a smile.

We took off shortly after this and I think the trip was a success. Her Dad didn’t seem cold and her Mom seemed really nice and easy to get along with. Now all I have to do is impress her friends at a party tonight and I’m in the clear.

Things are looking up.