Curse These Romantic Sensibilities!
Some months ago now, it occured to me that the pathetic amount of yearbook space allotted to each graduating High School student for their grad write-up was woefully inadequate. Come to think of it, I'm sure it was more than a few months ago when I became aware of this , but it was only recently that I was forced to come to terms with the practical realities of the situation. My solution was to write up my shortlist of acknowledgements, and to supply at the very end the address for this very blog, where I promised a full and complete grad write up, in lieu of the truncated, almost impolitely curt entry which I had provided for the yearbook itself. It was, in equal measures, both a promise not to leave my reflection upon four years of my life at a pathetic ~50 words, and a postponing of the inevitable time when I would have to force that reflection from the indeterminate medium of thought into concrete, written form. On the occasion of this, my One Hundredth Blog Post, it seems almost too appropriate that I provide the promised piece of post-prom prose.
My initial expectations of high school (Gloucester In-Joke, for those readers who are not fellow aumni) were... actually, I'm not sure that I remember them all that clearly. I do recall that I expected there to be more clubs, because the promotional material for Gloucester indicated that there were many. It may be true that there were, but if so they did a wonderful job of staying quiet about it. Fortunately, the one club which I did join in my early years was enough to occupy every lunch hour for the better part of two years: the Reach for the Top Team. I believe that it was the winter of Grade 9 which drove us to practice daily in Grade 9, and the habit simply carried over into Grade 10. Those were a magnificent two years, so much so that despite an entirely shoddy practice season in the following two years, our team made it to provincials twice, and in this year finished in the National Semi-Finals. At this point, I would like to mention that in this last respect, we did what we could only dream of doing in Grade 9: we outdid both Colonel By and Lisgar. Of itself, this proves nothing, and I am aware of that. However, I have witnessed the low point of both my school, and of one of the above (which shall remain nameless), and I know extremely high achievers from each. Taken together, I think that Gloucester has been unfairly represented in public opinion. Our best are capable of competition with those of schools with more favourable reputations, and for this we deserve as much credit. Our worst is no better or worse than either of theirs.
But back to Reach itself. I wasn't the strongest player, but I made myself a keystone of the team (our coach, Mr. Jeacle has said essentially the following himself) by virtue of my knowedge of some obscure facts. I lived for moments such as the time I correctly answered the question "Who wrote the book '5001 Nights at the Movies'" ("Pauline Kael" is the answer, by the way), a feat immediately met with exclamations of "Whaaat?" and "How the hell do you know that?". It is perhaps a victory on an empty field, giving an answer where no other would likely know it as well, but obscure knowledge over speed was my path to victory, for better or for worse. Incidentally, the only reason I knew the answer to that question was because the book has sat in a bookshelf in my living room since I can remember, and every time I sat in a particular armchair, I ended up looking at it. You never know what might help you, eh?
Friends-wise, my Gloucester experience followed an established pattern: I arrived knowing very few people, friend and foe were defined quickly and with great distinction, and at the very last found the company of those with whom I was at home. The great tragedy of this experience was that by and large, I have to say that I was not fond of the gifted classes which entered the school from its traditional feeders. I can't say that they were overly fond of me, and so as a mutual arrangement, it worked perfectly after the great post-junior-years-dispersal. In the middle years of Grades 10 and 11, I actually had something of a social circle at Gloucester. We would enjoy weekend movies, baked goods, and making fun of one of our compatriots' OBSCENELY spotless house (we're talking remote controls kept in plastic bags, here). Whether we were watching Pirates for the umpteenth time, or sucking variously (well, there were those who dominated fiercely) at DDR, or celebrating a birthday, a good time was always had by all. It came to a crashing halt eventually, although I cannot remember how fast it was in real-time. To my mind now, it seems as though it evaporated overnight. A disagreement here, a broken friendship there, a poorly-orchestrated halloween party, and this merry bunch was torn asunder faster than you can say "internal strife". I can't say it was unwarranted, nor can I say that I regret this turn of events, because I believe the failure of our ersatz-family (a very long story) provided the catalyst for the beginning of something vastly superior...
...But that story must first be prefaced with the following. Now many a week ago, I was on a bicycle ride, and I was downtown. Driving past a particular building, the opening words of a blog post began to write themselves into my memory, for later use. They went something like this "I biked past Lisgar today, as I have maybe once or twice this summer. I really shouldn't do it often, because it is for me a reminder of a life I didn't have, and of those lives which have gone on without me nigh every day for six long years...". It was in Grade 11, after the dissolution of the aforementionned fellowship, that I re-established contact with old friends, whom I had by then spent more time away from than with. I love them all, old and new though the faces in their crowd may be, but every moment I spend with them is exquisitely bittersweet. We do not want for understanding, but I want so desperately for that experience of knowing someone day-by-day, which was torn from me six years ago by a transfer to a school which all others had forsaken. That split sent me to meet new people, and maintain a friendship with Gold - something I will never regret in all my years - as well as allowing me to meet Pinky (Achtung Harry Potter 7 Spoilers!), Sphinx, and their...animated lot. It even led to my meeting Star, and numerous though our times of trouble have been, it's another thing I wouldn't want to have missed. Thus, I cannot say that I wish things had gone the other way, and I had remained with them...but equally I am left to wonder for the rest of my life it it wouldn't have been better if I had. In the end, I wish that I could live that life as well, I wish that I could have my own sliding-doors-style replay of my life had it proceeded down another path, because all that this doubt and uncertainty brings me is anguish.
What's worst is that the vast majority of those people which I have only just settled in with again are leaving after the summer, and what little chance I have of seeing them again is imagined by my forever-romantic imagination. No amount of MSN contact, nor Blogging, nor even Facebook, Twitter, or a million social networking sites will ever be enough to keep us from loosing touch. It will happen - perchance slowly, should we resist - and we won't feel bad, not every minute, not every day. We will all grow apart, and lead separate, blissful lives. Yet, at least for me it has been verified that there are none other who can take your places as my friends. Given six Billion people in this world, that statement may prove false, but I still feel nothing but despair at the prospect of a life in which I am unlikely to match the caliber of company which I now enjoy.
I conclude this, my complete Grad Write-Up by saying "If what they say is true, and High School will be the best four years of my life when I look back, please kill me now".
I'm taking a break now (I've been writing this on and off for some hours), but I will hopefully return later in the day. LOUD over&out.