by Dave Gregory
liked her since high school. Anita. On days when
my classes were boring, Id sit and pretend
we were lovers, imagining sexy things she would
say to me.
In real life,
she never said anything like that. Not to me. The
closest we came to speaking was early in grade
nine when I said hello to her in the hallway. She
looked at me. Grading me. Then walked away with
her nose up. Apparently, Id failed.
She must have
known I was attracted to her; thirty-seven times
she caught me staring from across the classroom.
Once, when she caught me, her icy glare pierced
through me as she mouthed the words: What the
came of my attraction.
not exactly true. After graduation, I was
unemployed for a long stretch of time. Two years.
I spent my days practicing guitar, dreaming Id
write a hit song and become famous.
never happened but I did write a song about Anita.
A love song very tender and mellow. A
strikingly good piece of work, I thought, almost
as beautiful as the person who inspired it. Then
I got an idea.
I recorded the
song on my laptop a video of me singing
and playing the guitar. After several tries, I
had one version just right, exactly how I meant
it to sound. Then I put the video on a jump drive.
I had to mail it because shed blocked me on
Her reply was
unexpected. An envelope arrived two weeks later,
empty except for her grad photo. Wallet-sized. On
the back she scribbled: Have fun jacking-off!
So I wrote six
more songs about her and had one published as a
poem in The Atlantic. Half a million copies, they
told me. Thats as close to fame as I ever
receiving an advance copy of the magazine, I sent
it to Anita. I marked the page, where my poem was
printed, using a post-it note. On it, I wrote:
Thanks, it worked perfectly.