Her name was Trish. I know, it sounds like trailer trash and alliteratively starts with a ‘T’. Nevertheless, as a 15 y.o. boy – she was a sophisticated woman to me. I met her at a High School dance and, rather than dance, we sat together in a corner and talked about our short, pimply lives and all of the really important things we were going to do with them in the future. My friends thought I was a geek and harassed me to join them in the hunt to pick up chicks. I declined and spent the whole time talking to Trish about how we were going to change the world – together.
At the end of the night, they played ‘True’ by Spandau Ballet (yes, I am that old and, yes, you can fuck off) and we got on the dance floor, slow dancing, and shoved our tongues so far down each others’ throats that the people started clearing space for us. After that, the lights came up and they threw us out. Trish and I made out some more in the parking lot out back, promised our hearts to each other eternally, exchanged phone numbers and agreed to go on a date the next Friday night.
I was a really happy young boy – in love.
Unfortunately, at that time, I was also a competitive hockey player (yes, you can now pick yourself up off of the floor and get your mirth under control) and played on the school team. My Dad had just bought me a brand new, fail safe, helmet because my old one was crap and my parents were getting sick and tired of having to put my face back together after games.
On the day of my big date with Trish, we had a rigorous hockey practice followed by a “friendly” scrimmage. During the scrimmage this great, big, hulking tank of a guy (who hated me because I was smarter than him and could also play hockey), viscously elbowed me to the head along the boards, right at the bottom of the face guard. My fail safe helmet then totally failed me. As my helmet went back over my head from the blow, the chin strap sliced a huge gash across my chin. I dropped like a stone and blood gushed out of my face all over the ice. I am not exaggerating the horror of this hit as the hockey practice was videotaped and, for months afterwards, my asshole friends kept making me watch it as they rolled around on the floor, laughing.
So, I was rushed to the school “nurse”. Bitch. She was one of these matronly old, English cows who coo “there, there” while doing absolutely nothing helpful. My case was a perfect example. Here’s how the conversation went:
Nurse: Oh, dear, dear. What on earth happened to you, my poor thing!
Me: Ummm, my chin is kind of sliced open – see??!!
Nurse: Oh, how dreadful! Not to worry though – I will have you patched up in no time!
Me: Coach says I need to go to the hospital and get stitches.
Nurse: Nonsense! What nonsense! Now let me just clean out this angry scoundrel with a dab of iodine.
Me: Blaaaaahhhhhhhhhh… Aaaaaaaaaahhaaaaaaaaaaaaggrrwewwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!! FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUU!
Nurse: Tut, tut. Now there’s no place here for foul language, Andrew. You don’t want me to report you to the Principal, do you?!
Me: Fuck you. Take me to the hospital to see a Doctor.
Nurse: Rubbish. What rubbish. I have two bits of sticky tape right here that will keep those two gaping bits of flesh together quite nicely.
Me: You know, I’m going on a date tonight with this girl I really like who I just met last weekend. Please – I need stitches.
Nurse: Awww – isn’t that so sweet. You don’t need stitches, dear. These two bits of sticky tape are all you need! And then you can have a lovely time with your little friend!
Off I went from the school to my big date, sulking, with the two bits of sticky tape holding my chin together and fuelled with hatred for the guy who hit me and the school nurse.
I met Trish at a café with the idea to go to a movie after. She had arrived before me and, when I petulantly walked through the door, she almost dropped her cup.
“What… what the hell… what the hell happened to you!! My God!!!”, she blurted out, attracting the attention of the wait staff, abject disgust etched across her face.
“I’m really sorry, Trish. I was at hockey practice this afternoon and got nailed in the head by this asshole who thinks I’m a jerk”.
“Hockey!? You didn’t seem like a sports guy to me at all. I mean, we’ve been talking about books and politics and things all week”!
“I know”, I snapped grumpily and slumping into the café booth, “but I also play hockey”.
“Oh! God, you look… well, you look… really awful”!
“I know. I’m really sorry”.
At this point, for reasons unknown, Trish brightened right up and we had another lovely naive, adolescent conversation about all the great things we were going to accomplish in life – together. We held hands across the table and talked animatedly about which country we should go to first – together. When the waitress brought the bill, Trish leaned across the table to kiss me and, as I leaned towards her there was a dreadful ‘pop’ – ‘pop’ sound as those two miserable bits of sticky tape came apart and my chin sprayed blood all over her face and hair.
Trish was so good about it. Laughed it off. Went to the bathroom to clean up and helped me get the two bits of sticky tape back in place. I felt so humiliated but loved at the same time. We blew off the movie and talked the rest of the night away and, when we parted company, we re-promised our hearts to each other eternally.
The next week, we both came down with mononucleosis (the “kissing disease”). I came out of it quite quickly but was shocked to discover that Trish’s phone number was out of service. I spent the next days in agony wondering where she was. I even went to her house, which I’d never been to before, and rang the doorbell – to no avail.
Not long after, I got a letter from her telling me that she had moved to Vancouver to live with her Dad but that she still wanted to “be with me”. For a few months we exchanged letters and then it just… dried up. We were young, horny teenagers – and hooked up with other people.
Funny that almost 30 years later – I still miss her.