Remember the week leading up to May 2-4? This interminable excitement you had as a kid; either young enough that the sun and warmth (and inevitable opening of your family pool) were your sole focus, or, as an older kid when plans revolved around who you were sure to hook up with in some random field, drunk on cheap beer stolen from your Dad’s beer fridge (or purchased by that one great friend with a killer fake ID).
Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good long weekend, but the sense of excitement is never quite the same as it was when I was younger. But, I’m not all that nostalgic for it. Sure, being exuberantly bouncy and squealing with immature girl glee was fun, but it was all so dramatic and… well, it’s exhausting.
The Victoria Day long weekend when I was 15 was supposed to be just as fun. The last day of school, teeming with all the possibilities of a traditional “Calithumpian” weekend (trust me, not many will know what that means, but for those that do, the word sparks a myriad of inner chuckles at memories of video dances, parties in fields and the beginning of my love of debauchery). I had a small, select group of amazing barnacle-type friends (you know, the ones you were attached at the hip to). Best of all, I had a Friday night date with a super cute boy. And what a date – dinner, a long walk on the beach (so cliché, it is amusing upon reflection), a movie after (With Honors – seriously, I can’t make this shit up). Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream playing over and over on his van’s stereo.
As I walked in my front door, head spinning with romantic possibility, my narcissistic teen-aged world faced a grim reality. One of my very good friends, Shayne, killed in a car accident just that afternoon. My friends calling my house – a barrage of tears. A returned phone call where I could hardly breathe for grief that felt so heavy it could crush me. Running downstairs to throw on music – as loud as I could – to drown out any other thought (Gandharvas – First Day of Spring). A weekend spent, not up to my usual antics, but at a funeral home and cemetery.
I’m not sure why I’ve thought more of Shayne coming up to this Victoria Day than any in recent history. It’s certainly not a happy story. Perhaps it is with so much change comes a natural instinct for reflection and remembrance. Or maybe I’ve spent way too much time in my own head the last few days. Whatever the reason, the memories are there. And with the memory, comes music.
Smashing Pumpkins – Today