Note: Sorry for the delay in posting this new part. I started watching Merlin on Netflix and that binging is no joke!
The Duran Duran Chronicles – Chapter 2 – Part 2
We decided on that first day of school that our musical tastes were superior to everyone else’s. We were little music elitists at twelve years old. I guess we still are but it’s not like we don’t have our guilty pleasures. We just refuse to listen to a band or singer just because they sell a lot of records. Playing a song on the radio eight times a day doesn’t make it good; it makes it unbearable.
We didn’t have another class together until lunch. We planned to meet at the cafeteria. Ugh, the second I walked through the door, the dread crept up like a cat stalking its prey. I had no clue that the junior high cafeteria was going be so horrible. The cliques had already claimed their territory; The Stepford Cheerleaders™ filled two tables near the entrance, while the Junior Varsity Football team occupied the tables behind them. That was obviously the self-proclaimed popular people area.
It was also obvious which kids were friends from their previous schools. They took up the majority of tables. Outsiders would not be welcomed there so we didn’t attempt to mingle. Since this was before computers were all the rage, it was easy to tell who the nerds were. They all sat at one big table in the back, far away from the popular kids.
Of course, by the end of the first week all those tables had changed. Old friends met meet new friends and the cliques became more distinct. The science and math nerds sat together, the drama nerds and band nerds co-mingled; all while the cheerleaders and athletes kept their distance. (As it was and as it shall forever be.)
Hazel and I ordered lunch and dessert then headed into the ocean of tables; all of which were occupied. Not one empty table. I spotted a few kids I went to school but just rolled my eyes. Hazel waved to a group of kids but there was no room for us.
Then we spotted the table against the far wall of the cafeteria; the misfit table. (We can spot our own.) The boys had long hair. The girls were all wearing leather motorcycle jackets. They were wearing band tee shirts that said Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. They were what would be become the metal head table!
We headed over. “Hi,” we both said in unison.
Four sets of eyes inspected us. “Hey,” the boy at the end of the table nodded.
“Do you mind if we sit here?” I asked.
The girls nearest the empty seats, shuffled over to make room. “Sure,” one of them said. “I’m Dana.”
“I’m Taylor,” I said dropping my tray on the table, “and this is Hazel.”
One of the boys looked up from his lunch. “Cool names, I’m Dave,” he motioned to his friends, “this is Paul and that’s Maria.
“Nice to meet you,” Hazel said taking a seat.
“Nice shirt,” Paul said, referring to Hazel’s Joy Division tee.”
“I love your hair, “Maria said. “How did you get your parents to let you do that?”
Hazel laughed. “They made me promise that I wouldn’t smoke. They said it’s only hair.”
“Taylor?” Dave looked at me. “Are you the same Taylor that got into a fight this morning with a cheerleader during first period?”
“Yeah,” I started, “wait, how do you know that.”
“I heard it in 3rd period.” Dave answered.
“I heard it in gym.” Dana added.
“Wow,” I said. “That got around the school fast.”
“This food is so bad.” Maria said.
Dave pulled a baloney sandwich from a paper bag and waved it at Maria. “That’s why my mother made me bring lunch. She said the school lunch isn’t good for you.”
Dave was a really cute kid. He grew up to be an extremely hot adult too. He had long hair down to his shoulders but it wasn’t straight and stringy. It had a natural wave that most girls could only get with a big round brush or a curling iron. He had these big brown eyes that always had a sweet, begging, puppy dog adorability to them. He was average height for his age. The girls were a little taller than he was in Jr. High but by time high school started, he towered over us by five inches. He oozed coolness without effort or irony. He wore rock band tee shirts and a leather motorcycle jacket. At 12, he had knowledge of music history that would rival the best music critic of today.
He knew that rock and roll began in Cleveland and where Elvis got his start. He was familiar with Bach and Debussy. He could read and write music. He played piano by ear, played the drums, guitar and sang. Those talents placed him on the radar of the drama club and the band. By time we got to high school he was writing the music for the musicals, playing drums in the marching band and singing in the choir. We had no idea on that first day of 7th grade that we would be become friends with a future rock star. That first day we were just trying to fit in; a topic that Dave would go on to write many songs about.
At the lunch table, we had no idea of where we would end up. Some of us still don’t. We had no career goals. No aspirations. We just wanted to get through the first day of a new school in one piece. We wanted to fit in but on our own terms. We had no vision of the future; and barely a vision of the present.
What was important at that moment was the intense debate we were involved in over which Ozzy Osbourne was better; Black Sabbath Ozzy or Solo Ozzy. I fell on the Black Sabbath side. Hazel, Dave and Maria felt solo Ozzy was much better. Paul and Dana liked both Ozzy’s so they refused to get involved. The argument was heating up when a commotion distracted us.
In the front of the cafeteria, Theresa was engaged in what looked like a very serious looking conversation; the kind of serious conversation that can erupt into a fistfight without warning. You know the kind where, at first, it seems innocent, two people talking, until BAM, one punches the other in the face.
The cheerleaders formed a circle around them and kids from nearby tables had to stand up to get a better look. Before we had a chance to figure out what was going on, the lunch monitor stepped in. Crisis averted. The girl, a fellow cheerleader, who was arguing with Theresa, pushed past her and scanned the cafeteria. We went back to our debate. We didn’t care if two cheerleaders beat the shit out of each other. Still don’t.
“Hello.” I heard a soft voice from behind me.
Dave looked up. “Um…umm,” he stammered, “hi.”
“Can I sit with you?”
I turned around and saw the cheerleader who was fighting with Theresa standing behind me, tray in hand. “With us?” I asked, genuinely confused.
She took the empty seat at the end of the table. “Yeah, with you, I don’t want to sit with them.”
Hazel and I looked at each other then turned to Dave. Dana, Maria and Paul shrugged.
“Sure, “Dave said. “You can sit anywhere you want.”
“I’m Jennifer,” she said.
Everyone went around the table and introduced themselves. “I’m Taylor.” I said when it was my turn.
“You’re Taylor?” She started giggling. “The whole school knows about your fight in first period.”