Posts tagged with "high-school"

small world

The drive to Toronto is getting easier. It’s my only chance to really listen to albums nowadays1, not to mention the comfort of seeing familiar towns on the way, like the names of subway stops you can’t help but memorize as a child on the way home from school. And in a way, so many years later, Toronto still feels like home. Getting there is a journey, but the people always make it worth it.

My patience tends to wear out about a quarter way in, when it becomes hard to maintain a reasonable speed. It’s a test of whether I can drive safely to see how far I’ve grown as a person.

I fail every time.

Toronto view

The view from Alex’s downtown apartment. You can easily tell Yonge Street apart from how brightly it’s lit.

Continue reading “small world”…

  1. Editors in both directions this time, cause anything I listen to nowadays is Antje recommended. []

old habit

  • Rob: Sometimes it still hurts. You know how it is, man. It’s like, you wake up every day and it hurts a little bit less, and then you wake up one day and it doesn’t hurt at all. And the funny thing is, is that, this is kinda wierd, but it’s like, it’s like you almost miss that pain.
  • Mike: You miss the pain?
  • Rob: Yeah, for the same reason that you missed her… because you lived with it for so long.


I’m in my last days of high-school again. Pretty much this. Feeling like I have the rest of my life ahead of me with so much to look forward to, but only cause I’m trying to shed everything that happened in the final disastrous year.

I remember writing a lot back then in this black notebook. It was filled with all these verbal scribbles, short passages of text, words, lyrics, emotions I couldn’t contain. My thoughts were a jumble, lost somewhere between the pain and the love of how it made me feel alive.

That’s how I feel now. Old habits break hard.

About once every two years I unceremoniously threw it out and bought a new one, because I hated everything in it. I never wanted to think of myself as the person who wrote all the things in there. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll look back on these entries one day and think the same.


In my last year of high school — which was also my first year at that school, so no one really knew me — I had a creative English class. We were given 15 minutes of free writing time at the beginning of each class, of which I mostly spent making verbal doodles to any kind of cinema stimulation I had recently seen at the time. Around then, it would have been quotes from Monty Python and lines from Casino. Anyone could put a CD in the stereo for everyone to hear, so one week I put my most recent mix in.

In the middle was Creep by Radiohead , and another guy in class suddenly exclaimed, “A great song!”, amidst the silence of our working minds. Everyone looked at him, then at me, and I felt a redness flush on my face.

That was followed by One by Metallica, and again he said, “Another great song!”, and the same chain of events happened as last time.

He was that edgy kid with bleached blond hair and always got in trouble for wearing walking shoes with his uniform. He did his own thing, had his own tastes, and fit in with the crowds he wanted, not necessarily the crowds that wanted him. I was that awkward kid who had no real friends, had a mop for hair, and a perpetually taciturn demeanour. To have him acknowledge my taste for two songs in a row had suddenly given me some kind of street cred because he was far more popular than me.

Some of the other kids started looking at me differently from then on.

My Interest In Russian Literature

The story of a human soul, even the pettiest of souls, can hardly be less interesting and instructive than the story of a nation…

Many of my earlier entries contain references to Russian Romantic literature, but I’ve never explained my fascination with it. I’ve always identified with ideas of the Byronic hero and Nihilism, whether they were ideals or philosophies I felt drawn to. It was one book that introduced me to these ideas, called A Hero Of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian poet (in the truest sense of the word) who died in a duel at 26. Whenever I meet someone from Russia, I ask them if they’ve read it, in the hopes that perhaps I can gain some insight into this book from someone who understands the original language. I read it when I was in grade 9, and so much of what the protagonist, Pechorin, made sense to me.


Ah, well! If I must die, I must! The world will lose little, and I am weary enough of it all. I am like a man who yawns at a ball and doesn’t go home to sleep only because his carriage hasn’t come.

During a brief phase, I’d say about year off and on in high school, I was at the very depths of depression and somewhat suicidal, but I could never bring myself to do it. I was just hoping death would take me. It was an easy way out. Not only did I have no reason to live, but my life was quite unpleasant. My best friend had ditched me for the popular crowd1, so my time at school was miserable, then I’d come home to an empty life and parents that ignored me.

Ever since, I’ve felt like I’ve been living on borrowed time, waiting for the end to come, when it should have already arrived. That’s why I remain unphazed by the idea that I’m going to die, and accepting of the fact that it’ll happen one day. As Pechorin says near the end of the novel, “After all, nothing worse than death can happen — and death you can’t escape!”

Onegin painting

There’s a particular scene in the movie Onegin2 that captures the spirit of this morbid acceptance. Onegin (played by Ralph Fiennes) has been challenged to a duel that he cannot back out of, lest he be the subject of ridicule, so he accepts. He’s fired upon as he’s walking towards his opponent, and, faced with death, simply closes his eyes. The expression of calm in his face shows that it’s out of reflex, instead of fear.

Continue reading “My Interest In Russian Literature”…

  1. This was made especially more painful by the fact that I was so insecure that I defined myself through others, being left without being anyone’s “best friend” meant that I was worthless. []
  2. Written by Alexander Pushkin, arguably Lermontov’s biggest influence. In fact, as the character Onegin was named after the river and lake, Onega, Pechorin was similarly named after the river Pechora. []

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Michele

Why should I stay and pretend?
You make me laugh again
My darling, truth is we are not even friends
Love comes and it goes
Where your heart stops no one knows
How did I wind up in this mess, here with you?

Just a moment of weakness
I should examine my head
Just a moment of weakness
I never meant a word I said

—Bif Naked, Moment Of Weakness

The first thing about you that caught my eye was your platform shoes. More specifically, the lanky way you walked in them with your plaid skirt on. You had such a funny gait that I would study when I was walking behind you in the halls. Sometimes you looked like an injured fawn, vulnerable and awkwardly running away with your long, slender legs. It was the very definition of sexuality to a depressed, hormonal teenage male.

Those shoes gave you an extra couple inches, and I resented every time you subtly knelt so you wouldn’t be taller than me in any pictures.

I only have a single good memory of our relationship. You were sitting on my lap in the jacuzzi at Cammy’s place. It was February, and there was snow all around us, but we were warm and wet. Every few minutes, we would dunk our heads under the water, then style each other’s hair, the winter air freezing it within seconds.

The more I got to know you, the more I learned that it was all a big mistake. I stuck it out because I didn’t want to break up with you in the months leading up to your exams. It was especially hard when Lisa started showing interest in me, but I couldn’t do it.

You were a sexual bore. No sound, no reaction, nothing in bed. Your friends were all snobs. Your thoughts were trite, and your interests were shallow.

You never knew it, but I had to decide between dating you and Marina. It tore me up for a week, knowing that one of you was going to be hurt. I chose you in a moment of weakness.

It was the biggest mistake of my high school career.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen