Flashback time! A couple of people from my past contacted me recently and sent me back in time--way, way back.
First, my grade-school crush from fourth through sixth grade, a Puerto Rican I'll call "Rita," contacted me Saturday through Classmates.com. The first flashback was just seeing that I received an e-mail from Classmates.com, which made me gasp in fear of my high school girlfriend, "Giselle," trying to get back together again because Classmates.com is how we hooked up for a one-night stand almost five years ago. Then once I realized it was Rita, I remembered how crazy I was about her. She had straight hair and Bugs Bunny teeth from first through third grade, then she transformed into a curly-haired chick with straight teeth thanks to braces and, I'm guessing, a hair salon. I remembered trying every trick in the book to get next to her, from being nice and conversing with her to lifting her skirt when she wasn't looking, but she just wasn't interested. Then I remember when I got together with Giselle in high school, and since Giselle wasn't very attractive to say the least, some folks had some rude comments toward me, including Rita, who told me that I could do much better even though she totally rejected me at every turn. As my dad eloquently put it at the time: "Is she gonna suck your dick? No? Then why is she worrying about who does?" That's my dad for you.
Rita was e-mailing me because she wanted to find people who were part of our high school's theater club, The Company. The teacher who ran The Company, lovingly called Mr. C by his disciples, is retiring, and Rita is helping to organize a send-off bash. This sent me into the second flashback in as many weeks concerning Magic Johnson's announcement that he had the AIDS virus. (The first flashback was because the 15th anniversary of the announcement came last week, and ESPN was all over it.) When Magic made the announcement in 1991, it occurred late in the afternoon on a weekday, and I happened to be at practice for the play Our Town. Mr. C actually interrupted practice to tell us of the news that had just came out. This was because he was a hoops fan and wanted to share the sad news, right? No, this was because he was a racist bastard and he wanted to gloat. The motherfucker couldn't keep the smirk off his face when he told us, "Magic had to retire because he got AIDS." He was a world-class jackoff the whole four years I knew him. A second flashback about Mr. C is that in the summer of 1992, the annual Company picnic took place near his residence along the lake, an area that I knew nothing about because I was just a poor West Side kid at the time. But some friends--not Mr. C, oh no, he never mentioned anything about a picnic to me--gave me the directions to the beach and a time to arrive there. Now, I admit that the kind of kids in The Company, the snotty, Hollywood wanna-be types, weren't people I wanted to socialize with, but there were a few people there who I wanted to see. But basically, I sat there alone the majority of the day watching the water...until Mr. C ran out of buns and, instead of disturbing the fun of one of his favorites, sent me four blocks to the nearest store to get more buns. And we were all sitting around eating at the time, so it's not like he saw me by myself and decided that I could run the errand since I wasn't doing anything. He decided that I could run the errand because, well, what other purpose would a black kid among a throng of almost all white kids serve except to run errands? In other words, he didn't tell me about the Company picnic because I really wasn't supposed to be there. I'm shocked he didn't make me run to the fieldhouse bathroom and wash my dirty hands before he served me any food. Rita said that he's not as arrogant now since he got "that grapefruit-sized tumor in his head." Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Needless to say, I'm not going to anything honoring him.
One more flashback about The Company didn't involve Mr. C, but I believe the atmosphere surrounding The Company led to this incident happening, and that's Mr. C's fault because privilege and thinking you're more deserving than others are what made The Company what it was. In 1993, Giselle and I were going to have minor roles in the production of Les Miserables (as I said in My History (4th In A Series), the tryouts for Les Mis is where Giselle and I first met), but my grades prevented me from staying in the show. Giselle stayed, though, and after the last show she, like many others, took a piece of the set as a souvenir. But a crew member, a white female, threw a fit about Giselle having the nerve to do that, and called her some choice names to her face. Giselle wasn't aware of this crew member having a problem with anyone else taking a meaningless hunk of wood, just her. And they didn't know each other, so it wasn't a personal issue, but rather an issue of Giselle not being a full-time member of the clique known as The Company, and how dare she put her filthy hands on something the clique helped build. I sure hope whoever takes over The Company isn't as much of a prick as the former leader and his cult followers.
Rita also told me of finding a couple of grade-school ex-classmates through Google. One was Shane, who was the popular jock and also mixed, so he was seen as kinda exotic-looking, and that just added to his popularity. The last I heard of him, he was a very good high-school wrestler, and I assumed he went on to some kind of athletic career. Rita says that he's a state trooper in Iowa and a born-again Christian. Somehow, that didn't surprise me, not that he was religious, but he seemed to be one of those guys always trying to do the right thing no matter what. Rita also said that she discovered Ben, who was just a wild, blond-haired free spirit kind of guy. Last I heard of him, I had called him in high school because I was going through old phone numbers, and he had taken a stereotypical black-guy style of speech, like he had a crash course in Ebonics or something. Rita said that he recently died suddenly, and that apparently he has a child due to be born. How sad. I believe his family had a history of health problems, or at least his older brother, who I think had a heart condition. What a terrible thing to have happen, to drop dead at the age of 30, and he was expecting. Wow. My flashback about Ben should tell you a lot about the kind of guy he was. This was either fifth or sixth grade, and we knew something was wrong with Ben because he had been quiet all day. Turns out he was complaining of a headache, so I think a teacher may have given him an aspirin, but it didn't help. Finally, towards the end of the day, he sits out gym class because his head is killing him, and the gym teacher decides to examine his head because he's saying that it's not an internal pain but rather something in the back of his head, but he didn't remember hitting his head recently. So the gym teacher peels back that wild mess of curly blonde hair...and discovers a safety pin sticking in the back of his head. Apparently it had been there all day. Naturally, he had no idea how it got there, nor had he thought to reach back there to see why it hurt so much. Damn, I'm gonna miss that boy. He redefined unique.
Sunday, "Laurie" shocked me by calling my cell phone. (You can search "Laurie" within my blog to read all about her.) Like all of the other women I had been chasing the last few years, I assumed she lost my number once I sent her money. But she was going through old numbers at work and found mine, and I happened to be off work Sunday to watch some football, or else she would have caught my voice-mail. Where's Laurie's mind these days? Where it always is--meaningless teasing and flirting. She asked how things were with my girlfriend, and as soon as I got finished telling her that I'd like to see her more but otherwise everything was fine, her immediate next sentence was, "You should come to Detroit." Wha?? She explained that I could get the money she owes me if I came up there, but she could easily mail me that money if she ever intended to give it back, which she doesn't. She talked about the Michigan State Fair taking place next year, which is good because she's an organizer there and she was worried about losing her job if they made cutbacks or eliminations to the Fair. I said, politely but as a brushoff since I have no intention of going, that I'm sure I'd have a good time at the Fair, and she responded, "I'd make sure we have a great time." This is what fucked me up so bad with Laurie. She didn't realize last year when she spouted her useless flirtatious lines that someone like me, desperate to be loved by anyone much less a thin, attractive blonde, would be at the starting line in a three-point stance ready for her to pull my trigger. But she never did. Three different times I had my suitcase half-packed and was looking up airfares on Priceline.com waiting for her to give me the okay. Every time she either canceled or didn't contact me at all. When I hung up Sunday, the flashbacks about her didn't last long at all because my mind is in a completely different place than it was. Laurie got off on playing the game, never intending to make good on her promises. She can't play anymore with me, though. I've declared this game over a long time ago.