When I was in the fifth grade I was in love with Brian Gadbois. All the kids called him Gay Boy because kids don’t know shit about French names. Even though I knew how to pronounce his name I still called him Gay Boy in my head. This was after my summer of guitar lessons and shitting in the bathtub.
Technically, Gay Boy was my first kiss. Kinda. I don’t count the kiss with Brian Christiansen because it took an hour of seven kids chanting “Kiss! Kiss!” at the top of their lungs. Fucking peer pressure. I know Gay Boy and I kissed under a streetlight. I was glad it was dark because I had a zit the size of an island volcano on my chin. And I think his tongue went up my nose.
So anyhoo….Gay Boy and I went out on our first date. His parents chaperoned. His mom had long hairs growing out of her chin. Not peach fuzz. I’m talking about 2-3 inches of hair sprouting from her face. I think they even swayed in a gentle breeze that night as Gay Boy and I bought tickets for a double feature. We saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit and….I want to say it was Cocoon. But it was probably Short Circuit. It was some Steve Guttenberg movie. I think that was the last year he rode out the rest of his 15 minutes. I realize now that I can’t remember the second movie because I may have blacked out for a bit.
Gay Boy, his hirsute mother and his father who didn’t talk at all (to this day I still have no idea if the guy was capable of speech) and I were standing in front of the theater waiting to go in when here comes Gay Boy’s grandfather. Who immediately collapses from a heart attack on the side walk.
The paramedics are called, there’s a group of rubber-neckers gathering and Gay Boy is in hysterics. I’m holding onto two giant Snickers my mom bought me at the grocery store because even 25 years ago if you wanted to buy candy in the theater you had to mortgage your house. I was ready to split. Grandpa was down on the ground with paramedics working over him so to my 11 year old brain that meant the date was over. I felt bad for Gay Boy who was rightly in tears with snot running from his nose. But oh no, his mom wanted us to have our first official date. Too bad the only memory I’ve taken away is his grandpa falling down on the sidewalk and then having to sit through almost 4 hours of movies.
We went into the theater and took our seats. I was still holding onto those candy bars for dear life. It wasn’t until the second movie that I realized I’d been gripping them so tight that they became a lump of chocolate. I shoved them under my seat, excused myself to the restroom and then hid in a stall for half an hour. Gay Boy came looking for me. I think he tried to kiss me but I was like “Dude, your grandpa may or may not be dead and this is the girl’s room. Fuck off.” I didn’t say that. I felt like throwing up. Looking back, I think that was my first panic attack.
Why didn’t Gay Boy’s parents say to me “Well, honey, we’re going to take you home because this has been a scary night for all of us?” Why didn’t they just ask me if I wanted to go home?
It’s all a little blurry after that. Gay Boy bought me earrings I never wore, picked out by his mom, Gandalf. Gay Boy dumped me for a girl named Missy because she was willing to kiss him in the shower. No water was running. It wasn’t an actual kiss underneath a shower. My generation was kinda stupid and it’s obvious Gay Boy had a thing for kissing in bathrooms. I wonder if he knows George Michael.
Weird coincidence: years ago I worked with this girl who knew Gay Boy. I lost touch with the kids I grew up with. It’s the usual. They went one way while I went the other way. She told me Gay Boy had married and was cheating on his wife. All I asked was “Does his mom still have that beard?”