RECORD STORE TALES #986: Forbidden Fruit
Even without the nostalgia, it sure seems like the second summer at the Record Store was an endless string of perfect sunny days. It certainly was that on this occasion when I walked with confidence into the Record Store for my shift. The hottest artists on the charts at the time were TLC, Boyz II Men, and Bryan Adams with “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman”. The source of the mojo in my stroll came from the company I kept that day. I was accompanied by the girl I liked and her kid. My ladyfriend and I were not dating, but to use the parlance of the times, she was smokin’ hot. She was seeing a guy I knew, but she confided in me that had she met me first, she wouldn’t be dating him at all.
File that under “things nobody had ever said to me before”.
We had been hanging out and shopping that afternoon as friends, but the truth was, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew it was just a matter of time before she dumped my buddy. Because I’m not a complete backstabber, I tried to talk her up to his positive attributes. In fact at one point she asked me to stop defending him because I was making it really hard for her to dump him. OK! I’d done all I could. Had she met me first, she wouldn’t even be dating him. The words rang in my head! Would this be the summer that I could answer the question “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” in the affirmative?
I was in the midst of my angriest of angry phases: 1994-1996. But that summer was an island of happiness. Still, I had gone absolutely mad for the doom, gloom and aggression of Black Sabbath, and was still in the middle stages of “collecting them all”. I had ordered the rarest ones, Seventh Star and Born Again on CD from Japan (never came). I had a CD copy of Headless Cross coming in and just got Technical Ecstacy on cassette. And they had a brand new album coming too, reuniting the Tyr lineup.
The exact date might have been June 20, the day of release for Black Sabbath’s Forbidden. I remember that our store received no CD copies, although I think we did get some on cassette. What I do know is that we drove up to Waterloo to get it at HMV, and she was with me. But I had a 5 o’clock shift back at the Record Store, and she gave me a ride. Tom was working behind the counter that day. After my ladyfriend departed, I distinctly remember Tom asking me a question that was also filed under “things nobody had ever said to me before”.
“How do you meet such hot chicks, man?”
I laughed and tried to say something cool. The truth was I was tearing up inside because A) I’d never met one like her before, and B) she was going out with someone else!
I saw the ways guys looked at her. I remember walking around uptown Waterloo with her, on our way to the Huether for lunch and a milkshake. She was wearing a bikini top with an unbuttoned shirt loosely around it. A creepy dude glanced and made a comment as we walked. She was definitely the kind of girl that attracted lookers.
But I knew I had a chance. I continued to be the friend. I helped her out when she needed a babysitter and I drove her around when I had the car. As the cool friend who worked in a Record Store, I hooked her up with music for her and the kid.
One weekend at the cottage, the phone rang. A rare occurrence. It was for me; a rarer occurrence. It was my buddy Aaron, who was well aware of the situation with the girl and was in my corner. Aaron always called me “Geddy”. He still does!
“Geddy? She dumped him.”
No way. Finally!
“What’s your next move?” he asked me.
What to do now? I was going to wait.
I got home and there was a message on the machine from my buddy. “Mike, don’t call anybody else. Call me first.”
On the phone, he told me of the Great Dumping. It was hard for me to have sympathy knowing the other side of the story already. If he didn’t mooch so much, if he didn’t hang out doing nothing all day, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. But I couldn’t tell him that. He had a plan to win her back. I told him how sorry I was, but I sure didn’t tell him that I was going to make a move.
I waited a long time. My birthday arrived; I had a murder mystery party and she came over to celebrate with me. A guy hit on her at my house! The birthday passed and I still had not made a move. It was like some kind of emotional paralysis. In fact I’d never asked a girl out before and had no idea what the hell to say. I’m notorious for tripping over my words. Finally, she confronted me. On the phone one night she said “I’m not going to ask. If you don’t, somebody else will.”
I asked her if it was lame to ask somebody out to dinner or a movie. She said no, so I asked her out to dinner or a movie.
She seemed relieved that I finally asked. I think she had everything for the first date pre-planned. She told me instead of just dinner, how about dinner in Toronto after a day on Toronto Island? I had no idea what that entailed but it all sounded great to me. I got her flowers, first time I had ever done that too. I had no idea what I was doing. I bought them too soon and they wilted so I got more. But it was a fun day and one of those magical, youthful memories that only get warmer with years. The funny thing, even though I asked her out, she organised all the details and even drove. Our relationship was a lot like that. She showed me things she liked and hoped I would enjoy. I remember listening to Loreena McKennitt with her. Harp music; very different from metal, but not so different from Blackmore’s Night which was only a few years away. But she didn’t care about my Iron Maiden. And she really disliked my Kim Mitchell. It wasn’t meant to last. I got three months.
“Nothing you can do will hurt me, I am indestructible.” That line from Black Sabbath’s “Kiss of Death” really resonated during the angry years. It wasn’t true though. The island of happiness was over and I was pretty was wrecked afterwards. Took a while to recover.
We had a fun summer, but I needed to be with someone who didn’t want to change me or improve me. Who demanded that I mature. Who liked me as I am, warts and all. Fortunately I have that now, even with the added mileage I’ve clocked since then! That’s real love.