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Sunday, December 03, 2006

I can sense it. Something important is about to happen.

Bjork came into our lives in 1994. When I say "our", I don't mean Steve and me. I mean me, Marilla, Robert and all my other friends from high school. 1994 was the year Stefan moved to Bay Roberts.

Stefan was from Clarenville. Although he was himself a smoker, he's the one who told me the story about Peter and the bus, with much attendant eye-rolling.

He shocked the entire school when he dyed his blond hair black. He wasn't a natural blond (this was obvious from his brown roots) but for some reason it took the black dye to make people realize that he was the type of person who would dye his hair. This seems silly now, but in Bay Roberts in the early 90s, teenagers didn't do this.

Stefan was friends with us. Not part of my inner circle, but definitely part of the next ring. We ate lunch together and hung out at recess time and most weekend evenings, but not after school. (It's odd, how you can divide your friends into groups this way.)

Stefan was a Bjork fanatic. At that time, she did not have a large following anywhere, but she was especially unknown in North America. We thought she was a freak. It is still impossible for me to think about Stefan without thinking about Bjork, and whenever I hear Bjork on the radio, I think about him. We spent many hours listening to him talk about how great she was, being forced to read CD liner notes, and watching obscure videos where she would say odd things like "I don't know what I'd do without my ears. Probably die. But not really."

He was the first of my friends to come out. This set off a chain reaction that at one point had me wondering if ANY of my friends were straight. Actually, he didn't technically come out. His boyfriend outed him after they broke up. This happened in the summer of 1995, after a particularly ill-advised graduation party. I think the newfangled word the kids use for this is "orgy". I wasn't there. The explanation for this involves the Conservative Party so I'll leave it at that.

That was the summer that his ex-boyfriend moved into my house to escape his real life and told us why he didn't want to be anywhere near Stefan just then. We didn't believe him at first. Marilla actually laughed, thinking that it was one of his silly stories that were just too crazy to believe. You see, people in Bay Roberts didn't go around telling people they were gay. This had never happened to us before. Heck, I remember the shock that would go through our group at the revelation that a STRAIGHT person had had sex. (There was no way THAT was going to stay secret for long.)

After that summer, we all went in different directions. University took me and Marilla to Halifax and most of our friends to St. John's. We kept in touch using this newfangled thing called the Internet - a text-based program called "talk" allowed us to type back and forth to each other in a way we had never thought possible. Stefan eventually moved to Alberta, and I never saw him again.