LLR 1(continued) This whole story is my take on Jackson Browne's "Jamaica Say You Will".
Transferring me to St Ann’s, in effect, proved to not be such a bad move after all. Of course it wasn’t without hardships,but the hardships I encountered there-bullies, trouble fitting in-were all done in normal doses, prescribed doses, trials and tribulations doled out by circumstance in it’s most natural form, instead of feeling like some karmic debt that fate was trying to settle. In fact it was so typical I didn’t even mind any of it. After having spent seven years trying to avoid hardships at St Lucy’s that threatened to devour me, to have things nipping at my heels rather than gnawing at them was a struggle I could handle.
Both seventh and eighth grade were no big hassle for me, and to this day are remembered as some of my finest years, a time I could look at life with a sense of hope while it showed me that this world had some potential, some promise as a civilization.
Hell, I even started dating a eighth grader while I was in seventh grade, talk about good fortune smiling on you. Sonia Martinez was a Spaniard who also wore her jet black her long like Lisa. But while Lisa’s hair was a long dark stream that ran down her back , Sonia’s hair just seemed to hang there, almost limp and coarse without the sheen that Lisa’s hair had, but Sonia was still very pretty, light skinned, one of those high class Spaniards with a slim Caucasian nose that was saddled with a pair of glasses, giving her a nice intellectual look. She could have passed for a white girl, and in Spain she was probably thought of as one considering the haughtiness of most Spaniards.
Being a pretty girl, Sonia had also come to terms early with the concept of taking the initiative. She pursued me, drawn by the novelty of me being new to the school and being the same age as her despite being in the seventh grade. I guess I had a luster about me at the time, and gladly alowed myself to get caught in her growing web of womanhood. It was a nice time filled with make out sessions in the stairwell of the building where she lived, coupled with alot of hand holding, and going around as boyfriend and girlfriend.
And why not? Sonia was graduating the following year, going off to high school(Cathedral Last I heard)putting me on file as a long lost memory the moment she was gone. Even Gregory had managed to get a girlfriend Sonia’s friend Tara. We felt like we had finaly hit the big time.
But there was still Lisa in sixth grade, budding in to a tremendous beauty, every inch of her getting caught in the corners of both of my eyes. Seventh grade at St Ann’s was not only a period of adjustment, but time spent feeling out situations: new friends, new enemies, new teachers, new everything. While life at home was becoming increasingly difficult, school had started to feel like a cease fire, a truce between misfortune and circumstance to give me a chance to mount some sort of defense before knocking me down again in high school. Like I said, things at St Anns were normal, a prescribed dose of hardships that were just right for a teenage boy.
Dating an eighth grader had put me on plenty of people’s radars, something I took care of by maintaining a type of mystique . No one really knew what to make of me because I hadn’t given off any clear signals that might help them define or label me. Very little about me registered on the outside, preventing anyone from coming up with a strategy for dealing with me. While most of the eighth grade boys didn’t like me for being a seventh grader dating one of their own(class status)none of them knew how to approach me. My calm reserve had prevented them from coming up with any kind assessment of who I was. They couldn’t figure out who they were dealing with.
They didn’t know if I was a wimp or not. I gave away very little about myself that year to anyone including Gregory who was both too young and too busy with his new girlfriend to figure out what I was doing and why I was doing it.
Meanwhile, throughout that whole school year I was keeping tabs on Lisa,both consciously and unconsciously. Our first encounter had continued to linger in my head all through seventh grade, playing over and over again as daydreams. It was as if I were trying to decipher some deeper meaning to it, maybe even a hidden meaning. Back then, and even now, I was a firm believer in predetermined fate, destiny, one that had your whole path in life mapped out by the cosmos the moment you were conceived, complete with little or no deviation. Being screwed early on in life does that to you. Everything both good and bad gets tossed in to the hands of some greater unforseen power that’s pulling the strings when you’re too young to make sense of why things turn out the way they do, leaving a hue or tint in every aspect of who you are.
I felt like it was fate that I came across Lisa the way I did and it was up to me to decipher all the hidden meanings to our first encounter no matter what, even if I was dating a very pretty eighth grade girl whose make out skills were formidable. All throughout seventh grade I secretly kept tabs on Lisa,breferencing and cross referencing sightings in the hallways of St Ann’s, chronicling her moves during recess even though the seventh and eighth grade were kept separate from the lower classes . Seventh and Eighth graders were kept on one side of the block during recess while the lower grades, sixth and under, remained on the other side to make sure the older kids didn’t collide with the younger ones, following the age old pecking order of all schools who hold their upperclassmen as something for the younger students to aspire to, creating a pecking ordering the process.
Younger students are always looked down on by older students as babies because as teenagers they feel they’re closer to being adults. Seventh and eighth graders were merely waiting to be launched in to adulthood when they graduated and went to high school, another reason why I secretly kept tabs on Lisa. With me being a seventh grader and her being a sixth grader,it would have been social suicide for me to even be seen with her, and I wasn’t ready to squander what little good fortune I had since coming to St Ann’s on what was at that time a growing curiosity and a burgeoning crush.