Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stéphanie: Girl Of My Dreams

Because you never know how or when a chapter of your life might end, it's always tricky to get started writing about it. But it never pays to wait too long, because you might forget crucial details or its termination might bring a sour taste in your mouth that will melt the good times from your brain forever.

This one though, was a big piece: my quest and obsession of the late 90s, my luck and love of the 2000s.

It's hard to pinpoint an exact date at which it started, because it seems we were often in the same area at the same time - even in the same building often enough - from the late 80s onwards, when I played a handful of shows at local dive La Brique despite being well underage. But that one's unlikely, if only because I was so young and she wasn't even legal yet either, and girls on the verge of adulthood in bars tend to hang around with older men, not younger ones.

So that brings me to the late 90s when I moved to the Plateau. The closest and best supermarket was only a few blocks away, a mid-sized Provigo where we'd both shop. I was single and enjoying life, at school during the day, rocking out in bars and hanging with a large group of friends at night, and working at my first dream job (L'Échange) the rest of the time; she was dating Fernando, a body-building jobless ape who apparently cheated on her all the time.

I don't remember when - but I sure remember how and why it was that she caught my eye; she had everything I ever wanted in a girl, the best of them all; top-notch quality everything. Long, flowing curly brown locks, a piercing stare from blue-green eyes, curves that would make a TV car commercial highway jealous - and breasts bigger than my hands can handle.

Problem is, the Ice Storm happened (bet you can't wait until that one's explained - as with my stint at L'Échange, it'll be in later posts) and created a shit storm in my life that led me to move to NYC and, later, move in with my mom at l'Île Perrot, then with my new-found dad and grandma in Pointe-Aux-Trembles for a summer - all while straddling one College and two universities in two languages.

Time passed and I ended up living in the Centre-Sud district in time for New Year's 2000, attending Université De Montréal. It turns out that a few fellow Cinema students also lived in my neighbourhood - and they all worked at Vidéo 20/20, two blocks from my place, open 24/7. I'd rent stuff there all the time, mostly at night as per my lifestyle (and because I was at school during the day) and eventually made friends with the night worker. He wouldn't give me free movies, but we'd drink beer and order pizza and eat it there during his shift, using the ice cream fridge as a table.

And because karma has a way of making things go full circle before spinning a complete 180, I started a habit of returning the films during the day, on my way to school and, lo and behold, who was the assistant manager? The afore-mentioned Girl Of My Dreams. She was going through changes in her life and they were reflected in her physical appearance: weight loss, sudden blondness (meh) and an eventual short-haired blondness (doh!)...

There was also one instance where a movie I had returned ('It', the TV miniseries based on the Stephen King book, in double-VHS format) hadn't registered in the computer (something you have to expect when the worker is a drinking buddy - during his shifts!), and she didn't believe that I had returned it, so she actually went downstairs to verify that it was, indeed, there. She thought I was ripping her off!

In any event, time passes, and one of the friends I'd made there, Norm, becomes my flatmate. It's early July 2000, and since many of the store's staff are celebrating moving into new apartments, they decided to celebrate at a local dive - L'Astral 2000 (no, they haven't updated their name to keep up with the times). Being one's roommate, I'm also invited. As luck would have it, the seating arrangements have me positioned between Norm and Stéphanie, as he would introduce her to me - the Girl Of My... you get the idea.

I think I recall there was a ''singer'' performing, the type of fucker who sings cover songs and is backed by a terrible Casio keyboard, but thankfully not loud enough to drown out our conversations or make us want to drink elsewhere. There was, however, this one dude, much older (think late 50s, early 60s), looking like a much older Jimmy from South Park, who wouldn't stop hitting on her - he was also a video store customer; she pretended I was her boyfriend (classic) to make him go away, and from then on, to help the story stick, she made sure to pay more attention to me than anyone else at our table.

When 3AM came around, two girls invited themselves to my place so we could continue the party - Stéphanie and her roommate and employee Mélanie; additionally, Norm brought a chick over, our friend (also in film school with us) Louis' ex-girlfriend, nicknamed ''The Star'' for her knack for lying on her back and not moving an inch during sex. Norm and The Star promptly went to his room, while me and the prettier ladies moved into mine, a luxurious double-length room with adjoined living room that made for a nice suite all to myself.

As we drank more and talked, time flew by, and Mélanie decided to go home to sleep. Eventually, Stéphanie and I made our way into my bed, and at least one of us was in it for the next 96 hours - that's 4 days, genius.

The rest of the summer was more of the same: if we weren't at work (and, most of the time, I wasn't), out drinking, or eating, we were fucking. My birthday - and September, i.e. Fall - came along, and we realized we were, pretty much, dating.

I had bagged my Dream Girl, and she had stayed; she was mine.

And, of course, all dreams end.

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