As a part of series made up of memories incomplete.
The story of two friends and their journeys through the streets.
Together created love, honoured young and old and plenty
their ways may have separated, but this story’s beloved of many.
The day we actually met blurs together with many other days. Like looking out a foggy window whilst driving across a desert, you can see something in the wind, possibly kangaroos but you can’t remember all the details.
I remember that week, that season, I liked wearing my brothers baggy green trousers. They didn’t fit him either and he’s taller than me by at least a foot. I had the beginnings of a dodgy goatee beard, a free haircut I gave myself and eyes glistening with part fear and part excitement.
Year eleven and twelve for my city is lived and breathed in a separate system to the rest of high school. It is more like university apparently. I had attended a very small primary school in my suburb. And a relatively small high school in the next suburb over. I knew everyone in my school but now we were split off into over 5 different ‘colleges’ so i entered this new building with only 5 friends, three of whom were smart so i never had classes with them.
I remember standing in the canteen and seeing him, standing there in curious glory. Almost a light cloud around him drawing my eye to watch. He had crutches because he had dislocated his knee and he was wearing his purple polo – his hockey teams uniform shirt. (A team i had played multiple times but don’t remember seeing his face) His hair was either longer than average spikes or the classic middle part, surrounding a very youthful, slender, very white face. Braces on his teeth, curious excited eyes darting everywhere. Other than his hockey uniform, what drew my eye most was how close he stood to the person he was talking to. Every time i saw him speaking for that first period at school, he would be standing uncomfortably close.
He was loud, hilarious and giggly, but not teenage girl giggly, more manly than that – a giggle that enticed others to laugh as well.
The second time i remember seeing him was in a very strange group of people, but he stood out from them. In year 9 and ten I had been invited out of my close knit conservative Christian denominationally elite world to hang out with other christians in what was known as ‘ISCF’ – inter school christian fellowship. At the time we had 3 -7 members and we would hang out every so often and chat. It was mostly girls that i was friends with, low key but fun. The ISCF at this school tho was a packed classroom of colourfully dressed individuals from a myriad of different walks of life. There were instantly friend-school cliques, and once again i walked in an unknown.
But there he was. Sitting at the teachers desk with his similarly loud friend cracking jokes, pointing at people and saying friendly things, laughing, getting people involved in his merry making, supported by his fashionably dressed friend, it was a brand new thought to me that christians in school could be this nuts. But i loved them.
Throughout that first term of the year I got to know him as a social misfit. Unknown to him he broke all the social rules i had learned from my pastors kid upbringing that you weren’t supposed to break. He did them not to dishonour people, but because he loved people, he loved getting in their face, he was excited by the presence of many people, partly because they became a mass audience for him to entertain and entice them to dance with him, but partly because he wanted to get to know them, so that they could share his joyful exuberance.
Later on he would tell me about how for a while he would just constantly quote Jim Carrey movies as social dialogue and use ye olde english when he wrote essays for school because that was what he thought was expected. He had trained in boxing and skated to and from the local school until he was banned from visiting. He reported spending a lot of time just sitting in his room by himself and it sufficing for home school.
We met, and although our friendship didn’t instantly blossom, i straight away found something in him that i was highly attracted to. Fearless love.