Beats, Groovin’ and the Lulas: Part 1

Excited, nervous, anxious, eager, thrilled; these are the emotions that defined my being as we drove down the streets of Montreal with music blasting from the worn down Infinity speaker system on my Chrysler LHS or as we liked to call it the Silver Bullet. Oddly enough, what was playing was “L.A. Woman” by The Doors. Our choice of music was odd simply because we were headed to a rave. In fact, it was, at the time, the biggest rave in Montreal, the Black and Blue. We were obsessed with The Doors then, and almost every evening when I met up with my friends to mostly hang out and smoke marijuana, The Doors would accompany us on what were our nightly escapes. Before The Doors, it was The Wu-Tang Clan, whose lyrics to “Triumph” we sometimes still spontaneously start singing to this day.

Black and Blue was and still is an event held in early October, as the cooler weather had an already firm grasp on the city. We were now nearing the Olympic Stadium and we pulled into the parking lot, paying the attendant about $20. There was no time to waste in looking for a free spot on what would surely be already car-crowded streets. I enjoyed getting to raves early and insisted on arriving there for about 11:00 pm. You never knew how the lineups to get in were going to be like and I despised waiting on the outside while hearing the beats teasing me from the inside, just knowing I was missing something good. We found a spot and exited the Silver Bullet.

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The Spring Dance: Final Part

They reached the shelter of the aging overpass and looked at each other with the same enquiring eyes, asking the question without saying it: what should we do now? Robert suggested that they wait out the storm, Jenny shrugged and sat down on the sidewalk. He sat down next to her and tried to wring most of the water out of his clothes. He looked up at her. She was only a few inches away from him now, her clothes were just as soaked as his were her hair was thick and heavy with water. She was breathing lightly and was turned slightly away from him. As she turned to face him, he was suddenly struck by how beautiful she looked to him at that very moment. She always had been but now it was undeniable and pervaded his senses. Her look of melancholy only added to that beauty and he was filled with despair though he did not know why.

He asked if she was ok. Jenny replied, unconvincingly, that she was fine. He mustered up the courage to ask her if she was somehow upset at him, and it was at that moment that, without warning, she exploded into a frenzy of anger, frustration and tears. Robert was only just able to piece together from the yelling and the gesticulating that his prank at the beginning of the year had ruined her moment to shine. It dawned on him then that she associated the pain and torment of that moment to him and that whenever they passed the auditorium together, those feelings would haunt her again.

Amid both ongoing storms, the rainstorm and Jenny’s fury, Robert felt tears streaming down his cheeks. Noticing his tears, Jenny abruptly stopped berating him. She felt terrible and an upwelling sensation of pity for Robert and disappointment in herself filled her heart. She starting crying as well. They both looked again at each other, at the pitiful sight they made and began simultaneously to laugh. Their laughter echoed under the overpass around them and spread so that anyone that would have heard that laughter could not have helped but join in on it. They laughed at length and when they eventually quieted down, looked each other expectantly. Robert reached for Jenny’s hand and as he did, Jenny slowly moved closer to him. She gently placed her hand under his chin and their eyes locked again for a brief instant before their lips touched.

They lost track of time under that old overpass and thought nothing of it. They had not noticed when the rain had subsided, but they now rose and walked to Jenny’s house, hand in hand. The twinkle in their eyes seemed to light their way and their smiles shone through the shroud of night…

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The Spring Dance: Part 7

On the eve of the dance, the weather was quite pleasant for most of the day but took a turn for the worse in the evening. Though it was getting late, Jenny and Robert were still at the school putting the final touches on the decorations. They had completely transformed the gymnasium into a vivid representation of the explosion of color and life that was spring. As they were wrapping things up, Robert felt a sudden wave of sadness wash over him and was at a loss to explain it until he looked up and saw Jenny. She was only a few feet away from him, but he somehow felt the gap separating them steadily growing.

As usual, they passed the auditorium on their way out and Jenny’s mood seemed to change. Once again, Robert sensed the shift in her and the divide between them grew. Before Jenny had the chance to say goodbye, he suggested, given the time of night, that he should walk her home. She began to protest, but he declared that it was his duty as a gentleman. This only brought a look of bewildered disbelief to Jenny’s face. She reluctantly accepted in the end, as he kept insisting that it was the right thing to do.

They walked in a cold silence that could only be described as uncomfortable for what seemed like hours. Robert often glanced Jenny’s way hoping to catch her eyes with his smile; she only seemed to ignore him though, looking ahead, deep in her thoughts. Robert was beside himself, the always cheerful young man of the past was now a mess of pain and sadness. Seeming to reflect Robert’s tumultuous emotions, the sky let loose an overwhelming downpour of the largest rain drops onto the ground. Already quite drenched, Robert encouraged Jenny to make a dash for the overpass that was just ahead.

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The Spring Dance: Part 6

As it turned out, organizing the dance was more of a challenge than expected. Much of the leg work remained to be done, contrary to what everyone had thought. Jenny and Robert would meet every day after class to work on all of the intricacies involved with the creation of such an event. Robert hated every single excruciating minute of it and Jenny, knowing Robert’s feelings on the matter, relished in setting up more meetings and adding more tasks to his to do list.

Spending more and more time working on the dance preparations, he slowly and almost imperceptibly came to enjoy it. In fact, as he took on more and more responsibility, he felt empowered. The meetings he held with Jenny started resembling collaborative discussions rather than sessions where Jenny’s input was law and Robert drudgingly obeyed her every command.

As the day of the dance approached, Jenny was increasingly awed by Robert’s transformation. Whereas she had originally thought him to be a complete fool, she now saw his intelligence, his creativity and his passion. Nevertheless, she could not bring herself to forget about Robert’s childish prank at the assembly and would often be reminded of it at the end of their meetings as they would walk by the auditorium on their way out of the school. When they would part, Robert began to notice, after a few sessions, that same fleeting look of mingled anger and disgust on her face that he had noticed earlier on in the year when their eyes would lock for a brief moment as they passed each other in the hallways.

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The Spring Dance: Part 5

When it was announced that the dance would most probably have to be cancelled due to the cheerleading squad’ unlooked for success, Jenny immediately headed to the school administration, having in mind to volunteer as the de facto organizer. It so happened that Robert was in the principal’s office at that very moment, being yet again berated for some small prank or another.

Life, every now and then, is kind enough to bestow upon a lucky few of us a moment of clarity, brilliance, genius if you will. It is my firm belief that such moments are the work of a higher power as they seem to weave the very fabric of destiny and therefore of life itself. It is also my firm belief that the principal was graced with such a moment at that precise point in time for he decided, then and there, just as Jenny was talking to the vice-principal within earshot, that Robert would also be “volunteering” to help organize the dance alongside Jenny.

Jenny’s face could not have contorted with more disgust and repulsiveness as it did when the principal made the decision. While she was thrilled to be able to save the dance, she also dreaded having to work with Robert. For his part Robert was mortified. He could not stand wasting his time on a dance. He begged the principal to reconsider, to find any other form of punishment. When he realized that, in the principal’s mind, that matter was closed, his anger and frustration welled up to the point where his entire face was bright red. As the steam seemed to rise from his forehead, he understood the precariousness of his situation; the principal threatened to hold Robert back from graduating and to force him to attend summer school if the dance did not go off without a hitch. It was then that Jenny’s facial expression somewhat softened with the principal asking her to report on Robert’s behavior. She would be the deciding factor in the outcome not only of Robert entire summer, but of his entire life.

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The Spring Dance: Part 4

Although there was little occasion for Robert and Jenny’s paths’ to cross, after the incident, Jenny did all she could to avoid Robert. While beforehand she thought Robert’s looks were kind of handsome, she now did everything to avoid him. Robert had never really paid much attention to Jenny before then, except to think that she was kind of cute whenever they would pass each other in the school halls. After he had completed his masterpiece though, he began to detect a hint something unpleasant as their eyes locked albeit if it was only for an instant.  He could not be sure if that something was there before, but it was definitely there now. He brushed it off though with casual indifference, thinking that she must be one of those boring, stiff people that could not appreciate a good laugh. The kind of person he detested.

The school year progressed quite quickly and before the townsfolk of Royceville realized it, the snows were melting and tiny buds could be noticed on that iconic maple. Robert was still getting into trouble on a weekly basis. In fact, the principal had assigned himself the arduous task of setting Robert straight before graduation when the youth would be leaving his power and influence forever, especially after that water balloon debacle back in the fall. Alas, regardless of the many detentions and suspensions that he doled out to the prankster, nothing seemed to make a difference. What truly frustrated the principal was the fact that Robert was clearly an intelligent young man with the grades to prove it. The principal knew however that Robert put no effort into his studies and that good grades came easily to him. He would often console himself by thinking that things would change in college if Robert did not shape up.

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