5.02.2006

My Best Friend Scooter (he asked to be called that)

At the age of ten I fell in love with Scooter - the cute boy from the other grade four class.

I couldn't tell you if it was the mushroom cut, the Tazmanian Devil t-shirt he always wore, or the fact that he didn't care I had reached "Uber-Nerd" status with shiny new purple glasses that were way too big for my face - I just adored him.
When word got out that Scooter had a crush on me, the relentless teasing began. But Scooter didn't care - he drew me pictures of robots and sent me Valentine's Day cards that were signed 'Love, Scooter' (and I still have them). Scooter always worked some magic so he could be my partner in gym class. Although I always feigned anger and annoyance (I was ten, afterall), I secretly loved it.

I ran into him at the schoolyard during the summer and my poor little heart turned to mush. My face red and my hands fidgeting, I couldn't even look him the eye. I was with my best friend at the time, Nicole, and with her encouragement I yelled, "Bye, Hunny Bunny!" as we left the schoolyard and ran back to our houses down the street. Perhaps I came on too strong - or maybe he got a good look at the Uber-Glasses in bright daylight - either way, he dumped me for Jacqueline a few weeks after school started again.

And thus began the trials and tribulations of my love life.

I pined for Scooter throughout the rest of grade school, but I would never tell ANYONE about the huge crush I had on my former "boyfriend". In middle school before a trip to Washington D.C., one of my close friends revealed to me that she too was holding a torch for Scooter. The two of us had it out and refused to speak to each other until the pit stop halfway to Washington, when we realized that friendship was more important than a boy (like either of us really believed that).

In Washington D.C. there was a dance on a boat, and everyone was pushing me to dance with Scooter (apparently I hadn't kept the secret as well as I thought) and finally he came over and asked me to dance. I almost puked all over my shoes (I didn't have boots then, people) and agreed to dance with him. Then Scooter said, "Just as friends," and it was as if he had ripped my fragile little 13 year old heart out, threw it to the floor, and stepped on it. It was at this point I decided it was time to let Scooter go, and I instead decided to up my "Uber-Nerd" status at school (top grades in the whole school two years in a row...barf, I know).

Scooter and I remained distant friends up until I left my ghetto high school after the ninth grade to attend art high school. By this point, Scooter was barely a blip on my radar screen, as I had discovered my ever-present weakness for the band boy types. Scooter and I would talk on the phone once in awhile, but he was out getting drunk every weekend and I was too much of a goody-goody for that.

When I was 16, Scooter invited me to go with him to Jessica's house during March Break, because Jessica and Scooter's friend Tom were dating and he needed someone to keep him company. I will never forget that day - I was wearing a green button-down shirt with little flowers all over it and my beige corduroy pants (going through a bit of a hippie stage, so sue me). Jessica and Tom were watching music videos, burning incense and drinking beer. I sat on the floor in front of Scooter and he kept kicking me, poking me in the side, or yanking on my hair. What were we in, third grade? We watched TV for awhile, then Tom and Jessica started making out...how awkward. Scooter asked me to sit beside him on the couch, so I did. Suddenly Scooter reached over, pulled me on top of him and kissed me. I panicked. I'd never kissed a guy in my life and it came out of nowhere and I didn't know what to do and I was absolutely stunned. I think Scooter realized that because he mumbled, "sorry," and let me go. I don't think I've ever had so many thoughts race through my head at once, and I'm sure the expression on my face was priceless.

Jessica and Tom had stopped what they were doing, and suggested that we all go down to the basement. Wait, the basement? I didn't want to go down to the basement! If kissing happened upstairs, then what happened in the basement?! I wanted to go home! I was scared and panicking and scared and panicking some more. I told Scooter that I had to call home and make sure I didn't have to babysit my brothers that night.

Scooter, Tom and Jessica followed me into the kitchen, and I noticed that Scooter was watching me closely. I picked up the phone and called home - it rang and rang. No one was home! Omigod! I needed to do something!

To the ringing I said, "Hi Mom, it's me. You said to call and check with you about tonight. Yeah. But - really? (Sigh) Alright. Okay. OKAY! (sounding mad at mom = dramatic effect). I'll be home soon. Yes, Mom. Okay, bye." Whew - good save! Scooter was still looking at me funny. Fuck. "Sorry guys, I gotta go - Mom's being a pain."

I don't even remember my walk home, I was so dazed and confused. Scooter and I continued our friendship, but we never mentioned that day ever again.

One Friday night about a year later, I was at our local hangout, Frontlines, having just been rejected by this band boy I'd had a MAJOR crush on. I was sad, depressed, and angry when Scooter and his friends stumbled into the room, drunk. Scooter kept yelling about wanting to talk to me, and since I was already in a nice state of mortification, I followed him outside. They invited our trio (Trish, Lyndsey and I) to join them in a drinkfest, and although I refused at first, my sad little state of heartbreak caused me to finally cave. At the local park, Scooter fell off the jungle gym and a few of the bottles in his backpack smashed. The backpack was taken away from him. I was offered a beer again and again, and I finally decided, fuck it. I was tired of being perfect, tired of the best grades and the always working hard and the 'Uber-Nerd' status and always following the rules and doing what was right, so I grabbed a beer, took a swig and choked on it, disbelieving that anyone would WANT to drink that foul, bitter liquid. But I kept drinking, and Lyndsey joined me. And I finally felt like a normal teenager, as Lyndsey and I drunkenly giggled all the way home and Trish tsk-tsked us.

That was the start of my being wasted every weekend (hey, I was 17! I had a lot of catching up to do!) and also the start of Scooter and I and our on-again-off-again relationship. We got drunk and we made out nearly every weekend - in the bushes at the park, on the tipsy walk home, in phone booths, at his house, at my house...the list went on. Scooter was the first person to get his license, and we took full advantage of a vehicle and all the local places to park.

My parents were in the process of moving our family to London, Ontario, and I was not okay with this. As I was an angry, bitter teenager who had discovered the joys of rebellion, when my parents went house-hunting for a weekend and the guys called me up to do something, I decided to invite them over for a party. Lynds and I started drinking those Colt 45 things (UGH, I know!) and ended up running down the hallway, sliding in our socks, and then crashing into our cupboards. By the time Scooter arrived, I was drunk out of my mind, and he took me downstairs for a makeout session in the no-longer-used sauna in the basement (there used to be a big pool in the backyard, but my parents filled it in shortly after we moved into the house).

Lyndsey came hunting for me (she thought that my relationship with Scooter was EXTREMELY unhealthy) and we had to go back upstairs. As for the booze, I had reached my limit and then some, and I went running for the washroom. I was clutching the bowl in misery, cursing my determination to be a bad ass when the door opened and Scooter walked in. He sat on the floor beside me and held my hair back while I puked. Aw.

As romantic as this sounds, let me make things clear: Scooter would never EVER call me his girlfriend or admit to a relationship with me, and I heard rumours about other girls he was fooling around with, especially when he was hanging out with Tom and Jessica. One Saturday night I'd had enough. One of our friends (I'll dub him "Philosophical Guy") brought his cousin, Evan, from Belleville along and Evan was HOT. For some reason, Evan actually seemed to like me. He made a point of sitting beside me and we talked about Shakespeare, music, and art, while Scooter glared at us from the shadows. I didn't care. This new guy was smart, funny and interesting, and when he leaned over and kissed me, I kissed him right back. I was also hammered out of my tree, to the point where most of that night is a complete blur to this day.

When it came time for Scooter to walk me home, he refused, telling Philosophical Guy and Evan that they could do it, and he left. I had effed up big time. I was moving to London in a couple weeks, and Scooter wanted nothing to do with me...not to mention that Scooter and Tom had been hired to load up the moving truck for my family. I called Scooter and cried and begged for his forgiveness, but he wouldn't budge. I was devastated. Moving Day came and Scooter gave me the cold shoulder until he found me crying alone in my empty bedroom. He came and sat beside me and hugged me and just let me cry.

At the end of the night when it was time for Scooter and Tom to go, I was a mess. I was saying goodbye to the only life and friends I had ever known and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I walked with Scooter and Tom to the car and they both hugged me. Scooter kissed me. I promised them I would be back, but they just laughed.

The thing they didn't realize was, I always live up to my promises :)

London was the worst experience of my entire life. I was the "weird girl from Toronto" who always wore black. I wasn't used to football games and pep rallies and cheerleaders, and all the girls were blond and skinny and perfect and all looked like clones. It was just like the movies and it scared the hell outta me. I hid in the basement and painted all day and night, listening to TOOL (for screaming) and Sarah McLachlan (for sadness).

A week after school started, I got the phone call from Scooter that he would be in town working at the Western Fair for a week. I begged my mom to take me so I could see him, and she agreed. I found him working at his game and hugged him so tight, I would have never let him go if that had been an option. Mom and my younger brother left us alone, and we went for a walk over to a quiet stairwell. Scooter told me that things in Toronto weren't the same without me and he missed me a lot. He said that he wanted to make things work between us, and then he kissed me.

I saved up every cent I had for a trip back to Toronto for a weekend. As the bus reached the city limits, I felt this unbelievable sense of relief, like I had been holding my breath since I got to London and I could finally let it out. I saw Scooter's car waiting in Arrivals and threw myself in the back seat, the biggest grin on my face as I yelled, "My boys! I'm home!"

Philosophical Guy turned around, smiled and said, "Welcome back! Is it good to be home?"

Me, "Omigod, you have NO idea. London sucks ass. Hi, Scooter!"

Scooter glanced at me in the rearview mirror and shrugged a, "Hey."

Something was very, very wrong. Our eyes met in the mirror, and Scooter looked away quickly. I felt a cold fear run through me - I think that was the start of my 'Women's Intuition' really kicking in.

"What's going on tonight?" I asked.

"Drinking down at the Humber," Philosophical Guy replied.

This was exactly what I needed - maybe Scooter was just nervous? I called Lynds and Trish to let them know where I'd be so they could meet up with me later.

After picking up some booze, we headed down to the Humber. Tom and I had become very good friends after his breakup with Jessica, and as soon as he saw me, he threw his bike down and came running over to give me a huge hug. There were quite a few people there that I'd gone to school with, but hadn't seen in awhile, and they invited me to a party at Peter's place the next night.

Scooter was ignoring me and it was killing me. I drank a lot, but it wasn't easing the pain. I ended up sitting on a park bench alone, and Scooter finally sat beside me and acknowledged my presence.

"Hey"

"Scooter, what's going on?"

"Beef (his nickname for me since seventh grade, and no, I wasn't fat - it was just one of those stupid nicknames that stuck), this just...this isn't a good time. You live in London now. It's not going to work out.

"Why did you bother saying what you said to me in London then?" I asked.

"I wasn't lying, I DO miss you, but you and I as a couple is not going to work. I'm sorry. I have to go to Peter's now. You can come if you want."

I started to cry and Scooter couldn't handle it, so he got up and walked away. A few people came and asked me what was wrong, but I sent them all away. Finally Tom came over and asked if I was going to Peter's.

"No."

"Want me to walk you home?"

"I have to wait for Trish and Lyndsey."

"I'll wait with you then."

Tom and I walked through the park to the place where we usually went to drink. It started to rain and the red dye in my hair began to run down my blue windbreaker. I sat cross-legged on the pavement across from Tom and I cried, and Tom just let me cry. By the time Trish and Lyndsey arrived, I was soaking wet and all cried out. Tom hopped on his bicycle and headed home, while my friends took my exhausted ass back to Lyndsey's house.

The next night, Trish, Lyndsey and I decided to make our way over to the party at Peter's. As soon as the elevator doors opened, Scooter forced his way past Trish and Lyndsey, saying that he wanted to talk to me. Lyndsey crossed her arms and gave me her very stern 'this is NOT a good idea' look, but I told them I would be fine, and they stepped out of the elevator. Scooter immediately tried to kiss me, and I pushed him away.

"Scooter, what are you DOING?"

"I'm sorry."

"You're drunk."

"Yes, and sorry."

"Can you stop doing this to me? PLEASE?"

"Okay," he said, and kissed me. I didn't stop him. We made our way into the party, I had a couple drinks (my god, I'm just realizing that it sounds like I was drunk for my entire seventeenth year), and we ended up making out in Peter's room. I couldn't get rid of the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, and convinced him to return to the party. As the booze wore off, so did my view of Scooter through the rose-coloured glasses. What was I DOING? He was using me and I was letting him. Scooter was right - this WASN'T going to work. I marched out to the balcony and sat beside Tom. He offered me a smoke and I gladly took it.

"How are things with Scooter?" he asked.

"Done. I've had enough of the games. I deserve better than this," I told Tom.

"Yeah, you do. I don't know what's wrong with him...I mean, how could he not want to be with you?"

I looked over at Tom and said, "What?"

He got all shy and looked at the ground and said, "Yeah, you know. I mean, I'VE wanted to be with you."

"What are you talking about? When? What?"

"Last night for one, when we were sitting in the rain, I wanted to kiss you, but you were so sad," and then Tom leaned over and kissed me.

"OH, no WAY! I'm telling Scooter!" someone yelled from behind us, and I jumped up off my seat. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. Only me. It was Peter, someone who I had never been friends with and was not fond of. All I could think was: like this boy should talk; he had a reputation for being a womanizer.

I chased Peter back inside, and by some miracle, Scooter had gone. "Peter," I pleaded, "I am begging you - please don't say anything. Please. Scooter has been an asshole, and I'm trying to sort my feelings out. Fuck dude, I don't even LIVE here anymore. I will talk to Scooter myself, when the time is right. PLEASE let me do this on my own terms."

Peter shrugged and said, "Alright, it's cool. I won't say anything."

"What? Serious?"

"Yeah, whatever. It's cool," he said, and went back to his beer and joint.

Bullet dodged.

I went back to London and my room in the basement, where I could paint and listen to music and replay the weekend over and over in my head. It was going to be a long time before I went back to Toronto, and I was in such turmoil that I decided to just stop the games with Scooter, forget the confusion about Tom, and just exist in London because I had to, because living two hours from the mess wasn't going to fix anything.

Thus ends that chapter of Scooter, and begins the story of Art Boy. This is not the last you will hear of Scooter.

7 comments :

  1. Anonymous9:40 AM

    sniff...snif....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Okay, I think I know who scooter is...WHY Scooter? And I'm pretty sure I know who Tom is...

    I WANT MORE! Who's artboy? Goodness McGuiness.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He asked for "Scooter", so he got "Scooter". He calls me "Beefy" for God's sakes...should we really question the goings-on in that head of his?

    Man, writing these stories sure brings back memories!

    More are coming...Art Boy, The Three-Minute Man, J.C. (Jesus Crusher), The Plumber...

    So many stories, so little time...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would also like to apologize for having to change names and make things confusing for friends who actually know who these guys are, but if I don't, they can SUE.MY.ASS.

    Ask Frank, he's my lawyer. Crap. Frank, is it okay I used your real name?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Ahhh...the good old days!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous10:32 AM

    I agree ... more more more
    Fred is right....they can sue you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Wait, am I Fred or Frank? I thought I was Frank. But maybe I can get sued if I use my real name. Ok, I'm Fred. Wait, THAT's my real name. Call me Frank. There.

    That will be $1200, I'll send you a bill.

    ReplyDelete