My pager went off. I grabbed my Ultra Express Motorola pager off the counter and looked at the tiny screen. It read:
Didn’t make sense to the naked eye..but in 1995, that was pager code. So in my sixteen year old eyes it read:
But I wasn’t. Shower done….deodorant…done…shaved…done. But my most precious asset had yet to be worked on, my hair. I looked into my medicine cabinet to grab the required tools to fix my masterpiece. I grabbed my hair pick and looked at my hair products. I classified my hair gel in the levels of hold. The stronger the gel, the better. I had two choices….Dep extra hold or Dep Ultra hold. I thought to myself, “its gonna be a long day….gotta be Ultra hold.” I noticed the his ultra hold gel was neon pink, but I didn’t pay it any mind. It had to be perfect because Melody was going to be there.
Melody was a girl I worked with at the local amusement park.
I remember the first time I saw her. I was frying chicken at my station and she walked in and said, “Whoa, you are sweaty.” Not a great first impression but I was going to get to know her. I didn’t want to be known as the “sweaty fried chicken guy.” She was so cute. She had dimples and her eyes seemed to sparkle whenever she smiled. But, she was so mysterious. I had to find out more about her. But, if I wanted to do that, I would have to approach her friend Grace. I cringed at that thought because she was annoying. Grace used a “baby voice” whenever she talked…smelled of stale cigarette smoke….and ridiculously hairy arms.
“Yes?” She walked up to me. She was still wearing her work jacket. I checked the thermostat…97 degrees.
“Dude aren’t you hot? It’s 97 degrees….you should take off your jacket.”
She laughed in her baby voice, “Its not too hot.” She rolled up her sleeves and I peered at her arms. The beads of sweat on her arm made her mounds of arm hair sparkle. I was grossed out. I looked back at her.
“I got tickets to the concert at Great America tonight….you and Melody should go.”
She agreed. I received a page that night.
“We R Going”
I did not think Melody would go just to hang out with me….but I knew she loved the singers at this concert. And they were my favorite R&B group at the time. She called me 10 minutes before I was supposed to pick her up.
“Hey..you ready? I can’t believe we are going to see Shai. They are sooo dope. And Garfield is soooo cute.”
“Yeah, I love them. And he’s not that attractive. ” I was instantly jealous.
This was about me and her. Not Garfield, not her hairy armed friend Grace. I was not used to competition.
We sat in our seats and waited patiently for Shai to hit the stage. I turned to my friend who I brought to deflect Grace’s hairy advances.
“Man, doesn’t she look good?” He stared at my hair.
“Dude…it looks like cotton candy exploded in your hair. Its all dry and flaky..but clumpy and pink.”
I was mortified. I looked at Melody. She was staring at my hair too. I laughed nervously. The lights went down and Shai hit the stage.
Melody immediately set her eyes on Garfield. It was like he was singing to her. I could see her just hanging on every single note he sang. And it was like she went to that concert alone. She didn’t notice the clumpy pink cotton candy haired guy next to her. I watched Garfield and looked at my surroundings. Every single female here was in love with this guy. And now I wanted to be him. I could make a signing group right? I imagined myself on this stage with all these women falling for me.
I idolized Garfield because of his talents…and the way women wanted him. I wanted to be that guy on the stage. One big difference though…I couldn’t sing.
(After writing this I was curious about whatever happened to Shai….and it looks like they have a concert in LA on July 5 with a bunch of other r&b groups from the 90s. ) I wonder if Melody will be there….