Art Boy (Part I), his Squares, and the Fake Black Rose

I was 17, holed up in a basement in London, missing my friends, and to make matters worse, my family and I were not getting along very well. Every time my brother and I got into a fight, he would scream, "go back to Toronto then, because no one wants you here!" No one wanted me there? I didn't want me there!

One day my mom sought me out in my cave to tell me that she'd had a nice conversation with a woman who lived across the steet.

"Yeah, so?" I said, and returned to my canvas.

"Well, she's got a son, he's 18 and he goes to the art school downtown. Maybe you should go talk to him? See what he does there?" (My family had decided it was best for me to return to normal high school instead of the art school downtown, so I could be close to home during the transition period from hell).

"Mom, no matchmaking."

"It was just an idea," she said, and left me with my oil paints and TOOL music (for once, she hadn't commented on Maynard's overzealous use of the word 'fuck').

Over the next few weeks, I started to notice that on my way home from school, Art Boy would be sitting on the front porch, working on paintings. I could tell he was trying to pretend not to notice me as much as I was trying to pretend not to notice him.

Finally one day I decided this was stupid, stopped on the sidewalk and yelled, "What are you doing?"

He looked like I just sucker-punched him. What did he think, that we could continue the pretend-not-to-notice-him/her game forever? Nevermind the bullshit.

"Uh...what?" he said, loudly.

"I SAID, what are you doing?"

"Painting?" he said.

"Can I look?"


So I hauled my backpack across the street, up the driveway and plopped myself down on the porch. We made our introductions and then I looked at his painting. Squares. Hum...interesting.

Art boy was quite tall and skinny, with obviously bleached spiky blond hair, squarish glasses, striped sport socks, and clothes that looked like they had been purchased at Value Village. He was an artist, that much was obvious.

We talked for a bit and then I headed home for dinner. My mom gave me that knowing look at the dinner table, and I just glared back. What was she, a spy or something? Back to the Batcave and my non-squares I went.

The next day I ended up on Art Boy's porch again...and the day after that...and the day after that. He turned out to be a pretty cool guy and I was lonely as hell. We would go on walks to the store at night or on treks through the woods, so I could sneak the occasional cigarette.

I started hanging out with him and his best friend John, a lot. I didn't really think much about it until John, John's girlfriend of the moment, Art Boy and I went to see a movie. We were halfway through I Know What You Did Last Summer when Art Boy's knee touched mine and it occured to me that I was on a double date. When the hell did this happen? Man, I was so stupid! How had I not seen this coming? After the movie, Art Boy came over to my place to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer with me. Our teachers were on strike and we had nowhere to be, so we just hung out until all hours of the night, when my dad finally came downstairs and told him to get out already. I walked him out and he leaned over and kissed me. It was strange, since I knew it was his first time kissing a girl and I was already pro (thank you, Scooter, hahaha).

From that point on, Art Boy was my boyfriend. Things started out relatively well - we a few things in common, including art, so we would take the bus down to Graphix and spend afternoons picking out art supplies. We had the same overly sarcastic sense of humour, which tended to border on mean. His taste in music sucked balls (and I told him as much), as he was big into the ska movement and I had a preference for rock/alternative tunes. Things quickly developed to the point where he wanted to hang out every day after school, always had to hold my hand, had to be with me all weekend, and called me all the time. He appeared to be planning our future together, as he dragged me to an OCAD presentation at one of the local high schools, imagining us attending college together. I began to feel smothered and suffocated. We were together all the time - it was like I had a siamese twin. He would whine when I went to Toronto to visit my friends, and even if I just had too much homework and couldn't hang out. He would watch for me to come home from school and then he would appear at my door a few minutes later. We were both Aquarians, but apparently he hadn't inherited the same requirement for time alone that I had. I started to slowly push him away, and he didn't like it. I've been accused of being unemotional and detatched, which is true. When I'm smothered, I just shut off. I no longer care.

One evening I was working late at school, printing off some lithographs in the art studio. Suddenly, Art Boy showed up at the door and offered to help, so I could get out of there and we could hang out. Ugh. I asked him to return a box of cloths back to the cupboard, and he accidently hit the ink-stained box on his shirt.

Art Boy lost his temper.

He started screaming about how it was a new shirt and how it was my fault it was ruined! I told him to chill out and run it under some water, but instead he started picking up random things and whipping them across the room. Art Boy made Maynard's use of the word 'fuck' seem like something you'd hear at Sunday School. Papertowels, paintbrushes and erasers went flying. I stood there, my mouth agape, wondering who the hell this guy was? This was a whole new side to him, and I was not liking it.

He apologized on the walk home (while clutching my hand, of course) and things went back to relative normalcy. Only things weren't normal for me - instead of missing my friends less and less as time went on, I missed them more. I was talking to Tom on a regular basis, and my feelings for him were developing rapidly. I wanted to end things with Art Boy, but I didn't know how - he was essentially my first real boyfriend and I was scared of the temper that might be unleashed if I dumped him. He lived across the street and our parents had become friends. I didn't know what to do, so I continued to distance myself from him more and more.

Art Boy and I had agreed not to get each other anything for Christmas, but he surprised me with something anyways: a fake black plastic rose. He told me that it reminded him of me, but he had removed the death poem that had accompanied it. I was speechless.

I went to Toronto right after Christmas to spend the remainder of the break with my friends. I was half asleep (read:hungover) on the mattress on Lyndsey's floor when her phone rang. She grumbled, leaned over and answered it, then threw the receiver at me.

"What?" I groaned.

"It's your mom," Lyndsey said and pulled the covers back over her head.

"Mom?" I croaked into the phone.

"I didn't want to bother you, but I thought you could use the head's up. I was stuck and didn't know what else to do..." she trailed off.

"Huh? Mom, what are you talking about?"

"Art Boy. He's going to Montreal with John for New Year's and there's some time between trains in Toronto. He called here for Lyndsey's phone number and I didn't have a choice but to give it to him (Mom knew that things weren't going well with Art Boy and I was rather torn about what to do) because he wants to see you."

"Ah, SHIT!" I yelled and sat straight up, aplogizing to my mom for saying "the s-word". I got off the phone with my mom and woke Lyndsey up, disbelieving that Art Boy was going to infringe on my Toronto time.

The phone rang and Lyndsey and I both stared at it. We looked at each other. It rang again. I picked it up. It was Art Boy and he told me what I already knew: he would be in Toronto for a few hours and wanted to see me. I had no choice but to go, and if I was going down, Lyndsey was coming with me.

We met Art Boy and John at Union Station (Art Boy immediately fused my hand to his own) and did some walking around the downtown area for a couple of hours before they had to be back for the train to Montreal. We stood in line for the train (Art Boy was trying to get inside my jacket and feel me up, but I kept fending his paws off). Art Boy headed off to Montreal and Lyndsey and I headed back to our end of the city.

Back in London, I continued to distance myself from Art Boy, only seeing him a couple times a week. I spent more time on the phone with my friends in Toronto and when he found out I was going back for my birthday, Art Boy was pissed. I packed my backpack for the weekend and left, my mother threatening to ground me from Toronto if I came back from the weekend too tired to go to school on Monday (at this point I was using ANY excuse to keep me from that horrible high school).

Tom and I did a lot of talking that weekend, and there were definitely serious feelings developing for each other. I came back to London feeling very happy but very tired. So tired in fact, that I slept for 48 hours, only able to drag myself out of bed for a bit of food. My mom hauled my ass out of bed, dumped me in the car and took me to the doctor. The doctor decided to run some tests and the next day we got the diagnosis: mononucleosis. That day the sore throat kicked in and I felt like I was going to die. I wouldn't wish mono upon my worst enemy - it was the worst thing I've ever had in my life. I slept like I'd never slept before. I was pulled out of school and I was excused from my exams. I woke up one morning unable to breathe right, and had to be put on Tylenol 3's to ease the pain. None of this pleased Art Boy, because he wasn't seeing me AT ALL. I figured this was the out that I had been waiting for and told my family that when he called to tell him I was sleeping (which I was, anyways).

About a month and a half later, the effects of the mono had subsided (although I was tired for about a year - they say the exhaustion can last up to two years) and Scooter, Tom, Philosophical Guy, and their friend Baldy made plans to come to London for a weekend to visit me. Art Boy was still hanging around in hopes that I would come to my senses and realize he was the love of my life. I had moved on to other things - mainly, Tom (by this point, Scooter and I had settled into a best-friendship). The guys booked a hotel room and my parents trusted me enough to let me stay with them for the weekend. Art Boy met the guys when they picked me up, after whining at me for days about how he had barely seen me but my Toronto friends would. I wanted to take one of his square paintings and shove it up his ass.

Scooter told me I was mean to Art Boy. I told Scooter this was funny coming from him.

I totally fooled around with Tom. Granted, I was still a virgin and I don't know if "cheating" kicks in until sex is involved. Things were done with Art Boy, excluding the pesky task of disposing of the boy. I had already moved on in my head. Tom and I had been cultivating our relationship for so long that I couldn't let the opportunity slip between my fingers.

Art Boy knew that things were over, and one evening he called me over to his place. We sat on the porch while he told me that he wasn't happy with our relationship and it was time to end it. I was so flooded with relief that I started to cry, which I think really helped Art Boy feel like a real man. He tried to console me, but then said, "I met someone I like more than you."



His new girlfriend was a paranoid psycho-freak, and although Art Boy and I promised to remain friends, she wouldn't allow this. He called me from time to time, but if she was there and I called, she went through the roof (this is what his parents told mine). One time he came across the street to talk to me while I sprayed fixative on a pastel drawing and she drove by, glaring her angry evil eyes at us. He went running back across the street like the little puppy dog he was. Haha, no longer my problem.

I applied for a summer job working as a community playground programmer for the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation, and I have never been as happy as I was the day I got the job.

I was going home.

1 comment :

  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    I'm so happy you came home...I did too...what luck!