Oh the lengths we’ll take to impress someone when being yourself just isn’t enough…
I didn’t have the slightest interest in death metal but when I was 15 I became determined to educate myself on Slayer, Sepultura and Cannibal Corpse. I purchased records by Anthrax and Testament. I religiously watched Headbanger’s Ball every Saturday night and allowed Riki Rachtman to be my professor of metal studies. This was all done with the intentions of hooking a boy. I wanted to have something to talk about once I actually worked up the nerve to talk to him.
I discovered this metal loving lanky delight through my best friend Tamela who had yearbook class with him. I remember vividly how he scaled the metal bleachers all the way to the top so he could pop a squat next to Tamela before he had to get dressed for his upcoming basketball game. He was the reason she dragged me to a high school sporting event which I normally avoided like the grocery store on senior citizens’ day. He didn’t look like much and reminded me of an awkward giraffe as he navigated his way through the sea of braces and Clearasil. He sat down and I refocused my gaze towards the concession window. The smell of stale nachos and day-glow orange cheese product topped with that layer of skin pudding gets after it has been sitting at room temperature too long peaked my interest much more than the giraffe, who I later found out was named Joey. A name that will forever swim around my heart and make me think of back then. Those “J” names have always plagued me.
I no longer recall what Joey and Tamela were deliberating on while I was salivating over the prospect of overpriced chips and lukewarm sludge but something knocked me out of my snack daydream and into another daydream, a fantasy which would span almost a decade. The dislodging sound was his laugh. It started with a snort followed by a girlish giggle getting progressively higher as if it were asking a question. Suddenly my growling stomach was far less interesting than whatever he and Tamela were discussing. My ears became satellites as I tuned in and strained to hear their conversation without being too obvious. Within minutes of eaves dropping I had determined this boy was probably going to destroy me.