Sunday, February 5, 2017

And the Rest Is History

It was September something 1996 and I was flipping my hot rolled curls, anxiously awaiting for the new student to arrive to our grade 12 Social Studies Class. He was rumoured to be a Prince Albert Raider. The Prince Albert Raiders were junior hockey players imported from exotic locales such as Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Lloydminster, Alberta to play hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL). In a small-ish city of 30,000 people, the arrival of a new boy from a different city was exciting news in my little egocentric teenage world.

I straightened my Shania Twain "Any Man of Mine" denim vest, sucked in, and turned as the classroom door opened.

"Evan Lindsay! Glad you could join us today," remarked Mr. T,  our sarcastic (and possibly drunk) Social Studies Teacher.

A tall, skinny, sullen-looking teenaged boy with a mop of curly ginger hair entered the room. As I examined his baggy jeans and Air Walk sneakers my first impression was that the new boy looked more like a skater than a polished imported WHL hockey player.

Likely re-calculating his save percentage

I didn't really get to know Evan until December of that year. He was quiet and often appeared a bit resentful about being traded to the Raiders. As I desperately attempted to climb the popularity ladder, Evan Lindsay appeared to care less about his high school social status and more about his goals against average. He intrigued me. He didn't seem to mind being alone (in high school? Gasp!), he didn't have a locker in the "square" with his teammates, and although he attended team parties, he always hung back quietly observing his surroundings. Evan Lindsay was different.

One night at a Christmas party, Evan and I seemed to hit it off. Spending most of the night seated on the floor next to each other, we laughed for hours, mocking the drunks as the party spiralled out of control. Reflecting on my relationship knowledge, all gathered from the teenage relationship bible,  "YM Magazine," I made the executive decision to play hard to get and wandered away from Evan to talk to some other boys. Evan did not follow me, and in fact, left the party soon after without saying goodbye. Undoubtably, according to YM Magazine's relationship quiz, "Does he like you?,"  this was a sure sign that we were "in the friend zone." Sigh. Now I knew.

Despite YM's sound advice, I continued to have a sneaking suspicion that Evan Lindsay liked me. In Social Studies class, he often casually walked by my desk, dropping a handful Mike 'n Ike candies in front of me. Occasionally, as a special surprise, he would tear a Mike 'N Ike in half and fuse it with another flavour. C'mon, people. That's gotta be flirtation? Something hot was brewing.

I met up again with Evan after Christmas at a house gathering. He immediately approached me and we picked up right where we left off, laughing and joking easily with each other. I was confused. It seemed as though he was interested, but my test had blatantly indicated zero romantic potential. So I did what any intelligent 17 year old girl would do, I delivered Evan another relationship "test."

I headed to the kitchen and reached up for the hot chocolate on the top shelf.  I beckoned (in my best sultry tone), "Evan, can you help me reach the hot chocolate. It's too high."

YM Magazine specified that if the boy reached around and touched you while he was retrieving the object, this gesture indicated that you had succeeded in "catching your crush."Obviously.

"Sure. Move."

Evan (very unromantically) bumped me out of the way and retrieved the hot chocolate.

Damn. According to YM Magazine, Evan and I had zero chance of being the next "it couple."

Despite the failed tests, I still felt chemistry with this tall skinny goalie, and given the fact that I talked about Evan all the time, my friends had begun to suspect that I had a crush on him. One day after school, as I sat on my best friend's bed discussing Evan's hilarious comment in class that day, my bestie shouted, "You like him! You totally like him!"

"No way. We're just friends. Seriously."

Without blinking an eye, Janna picked up her super cool see through phone and dialled Evan's phone number. When Evan answered the phone, Janna threw the receiver at me. Unprepared for a mature conversation, I squealed loudly and frantically hung up the phone. Epic fail.

A few weeks later we found ourselves at another party together. As soon as I entered the room, one of Evan's teammates approached me and said, "Evan Lindsay has been asking where you are."
My stomach fluttered excitedly. Evan Lindsay was asking about me? Perhaps he WAS interested? I decided to forgo all my YM relationship knowledge and just be "me" for the night.

As soon as I saw Ev that night, I knew that something had changed. We made small talk for a few minutes with stupid teenager, "I like you" smirks on our faces and then it happened. He asked me out on a date!

Three days later, on February 3, 1997, Evan and I stiffly sat side-by-side at the Cinema IV theatre in Prince Albert. "Star Wars" was being shown, but I don't recall processing one second of that movie. I was focused solely on Evan's hand, which moved closer and closer to mine, only to retreat a few seconds later. Evan never did get up the courage to hold my hand during that two hour movie. But I knew that he wanted to.

On the way back from the movie, in Evan's silver 1986 Mazda 626, we chatted easily about school and hockey. I was surprised when Evan rolled down his window and the -25 degree winter air shocked our faces.

"It's kinda hot in here," stated Ev calmly. I only found out years later that he had farted, and was desperately trying to mask the smell. Romance at its finest.

That night Evan walked me to the door of my mom's house and stood in the foyer grinning madly. Awkward silence ensued for what seemed like hours until I finally decided to break every YM relationship rule and stated, "I really want to kiss you."

And so we kissed. You know how some teenage kisses (and first kisses) are really bad? There can be tongues and teeth and uncoordinated nose placement in those early years when you are attempting to solve the mysteries of lip locking. Well my kiss with Evan was awesome. It was just a really great kiss with a boy whom I really liked. As we reluctantly pulled away and said goodbye, I knew that I had already developed real feelings for this sullen teenage boy with curly ginger hair. Although I kept it a secret for an entire month (Gasp!), I was in love.

Even though it was immediately apparent to me that Evan and I  shared a special connection, I did not imagine that his lips would be the lips that I would kiss for the next 20+ years. (So screw you, YM Magazine!)

Cheers to 20 years of ups, downs, highs, lows, tears, laughter, and joy. What a ride!

"As soon as I saw you I knew that an adventure was going to happen."
- Winnie The Pooh
Another pivotal kiss in our relationship!

Our first picture together. No awkwardness here.

First summer as a "couple"

One of us has always tanned easier than the other ;)

Teaching Ev how to two-step. It was short-lived.

Another awkward couple photo

Grade 12 Graduation. Ev slicked back the curls for the occasion. 

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