I know how it started. I remember who that certain girl was. The years have passed but the memories remain. It was probably at school. I’m certain it was at school. As a young child growing up I had very few friends. I remember playing with some of the other kids living along the same street but I can only remember one real friend from those years. A boy of the same age. We remained friends up to around 12 years old. Then he began to not want to hang out with me because he wanted to be with the older kids and I was still very much a child. Didn’t care for the same things so the friendship faded out.
Anyway, this post is not about that. This post is about that certain girl. In the first years of school she was a blonde girl in my class. I had a crush for a while. At that age it was not easy to identify what the feeling was but I remember I really liked her. For a while. I never really knew her but I liked her. A few years passed and that certain girl became a brunette. Probably because I had seen Star Wars and developed a crush on Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) so that certain girl at school had to look somewhat like Princess Leia – or at least be a brunette. There happened to be one certain girl in my class who was a brunette and actually looked a little like Princess Leia. I never got to know her though – not more than as a friend in class. Probably just as well. She never knew about how I felt anyway. I didn’t really mind at that age. I prefered to keep my feelings to myself as I was a bullied boy. And shy, and insecure and scared of my own shadow. Well not really. With the exception of school being a pain due to the bullying, I was feeling safe and secure and enjoyed creating my own world in my mind.
Another couple of years passed and that certain girl was a blonde. Not one in my class but in another one, at the bigger school I had recently started at. That certain girl was very pretty and I guess I really fell for her. Except she never knew about it. Not that I didn’t try to let her know in my own very twisted way. I was thirteen but not at all sure about what I was feeling actually was. So I remember writing some kind of letter. If I ever sent it is a matter of debate. I might have but I can no longer remember. Anyway that certain girl never knew about my feelings, of that I’m sure. And I didn’t really mind. Everything was still very innocent. At least in my world.
Another year or year and a half passed and that certain girl was a brunette. I guess the reader can now sense a certain pattern emerging. I certainly do sense a pattern. This certain girl was in my class and I actually talked to her before having a crush and even during the crush and also after. What was talked about was actually nothing special, mostly about school and studying but still it was talking to a certain girl, and you have to start somewhere.
Then I left for high school and got into a new class. That certain girl was now a…brunette again. Sorry, so much for a pattern. Anyway, I remember talking to that certain girl a bit now and then but she never really knew me and she never knew how I felt about her. Maybe half a year later that certain girl was a blonde. This time it all started because she approached me. I was minding my own business and didn’t really care much about her before she suddenly talked to me a lot. I didn’t even know how to respond for some time but gradually I probably fell in love with her. I do remember being madly in love and wanting to do something about but not knowing what or how. I wrote a letter asking to be friends. Yes, I was a coward then too. So it became a kind of awkward friendship that lasted a few years beyond school but it kind of ended when I told her of my true feelings and got rejected by the words “I’ve never seen you as anything but a friend”. I was devastated, dead. It took many years to recover from that day.
So many years that I was around 24 before I ever let myself feel anything towards a certain girl again and this time that certain girl was a brunette. She worked at the same store as I did and she was a few years older and I think she flirted with me but I was too shy and scared to respond but inside I of course fell fo her instantly. Never dared to even try to find out what could have been as I was too afraid of rejection.
A year or two later that certain girl was a blonde. Again she worked at the same store as I did and this time around I did my best to be mature about the matter. Whatever mature means…I’m still not sure I’ve figured that one out. Anyway I remained calm and let things run its own pace. Which means that nothing ever happened. I think it was just as well.
Shortly after this I started at the University and after about 6 months that certain girl was a blonde again. I remember she smiled at me once and that was about all it took. Well I admit I just let my imagination run away with me this time. I think I even tried to let her know about my feelings but as usual I wasn’t too good at being straight forward about the whole affair so it ended in nothing.
Then the years passed and I devoted my time to studying. Around the last year of study I encountered a certain girl online and I found myself having those loving feelings again. Much to my surprise. Anyway the whole thing developed into some kind of friendship for a year or two but nothing was really serious, I guess. Looking back I can only feel like a fool when I think of how I felt and acted but it was a learning experience.
Almost right away after this that certain girl was once again a blonde (however not a real blonde, I learned after a while) and this time I was not looking for love but instead some kind of love happened over time. It took a few years of close friendship but then there was a time of real love, real feelings and I almost acted upon it but was too scared to really do anything. I had health problems during most of this time so I blamed that for never meeting that certain girl in real life. The feelings of love faded and the friendship remained but started to fade too as time passed and things happened in our lives. However this certain girl remains the best friend I’ve had so far. I am very happy for everything this experience taught me about myself and about others.
What about now? Is there another certain girl? What do you think?
Dear readers, this is my post about the books that managed to have a meaning in MoonieZ’s life. I’m going to go back to the time when MoonieZ was still a small boy who only recently had learned to read well enough to read on his own. What kind of books did he read ? Well – first of all there were comic books like Donald Duck and Bamse. Later on there were others like Tomahawk, Jonah Hex and other Western-style stories. Then there were the comic book albums like the adventures of Tintin, the Smurfs and others. There were also the comic books based on classic novels like the stories about Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Three Musketeers and others about Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, the battle at the Alamo to name a few.
From the comic book versions MoonieZ moved on to read the actual books they were based upon. Around this time or a little later MoonieZ went to the cinema to watch a movie – Watership Down – that pointed him towards a book written by the English author Richard Adams. The movie and the novel upon which it was based was a wonderful story about a small group of wild rabbits escaping destruction to find a safe place to start a new life. For years to come this book would be almost like a Bible for the young MoonieZ. He would carry his worn copy of the book with him everywhere he went and read it over and over.
At the same time he had discovered another interesting book at the school library: J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit. From then on the years onwards would be dedicated to reading the other books by Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The world of Tolkien kept MoonieZ spellbound. He even dreamed of becoming a scholar of languages and started to create his own language.
Through the lessons in school he also read some classic novels by Swedish authors like Strindberg, Lagerlöf and Fogelström and later on some by Hemingway and other internationally canonized authors. During these years of reading and daydreaming MoonieZ had also begun to write his own short stories and also created some comics. The reading fueled his writing and his imagination knew almost no limits. Then somewhere in the middle of high school he picked up a novel by Stephen King and found yet another author to be inspired by. In the years that followed MoonieZ read almost all the books then published by King. The best one beingIT – a novel that would inspire and influence many of his own writings for better or worse.
Along the way MoonieZ had started to read a lot of non-fiction books, mainly on the subject of History. The main areas of interest were the Wild West, wars and warfare, the Swedish Empire , the second World War, the American South and the American Civil War. Through his interest in these subjects he found the way to the novel and the movie Gone with the Wind which he immediately fell in love with after watching the movie and reading the novel. He also picked up the novels by John Jakes about the Civil War. Those books were also turned into a TV mini series which MoonieZ watched and liked a lot. His general interest in the American South lead him to read some of James Lee Burke‘s novels as well as novels by various other Southern authors.
MoonieZ also managed to read all the novels by Swedish authors Sjöwall & Wahlöö about the police detective Martin Beck and his colleagues. During his college studies and later MoonieZ almost stopped reading fiction with the exception of the novels by Jan Guillou, Leif GW Persson and recently Stieg Larsson‘s famous Millennium trilogy. Instead he read text books about Cultural Studies, Cinema Studies and communication theory and after finishing the studies continued to read non-fiction books about a variety of topics. A favorite author of non-fiction is the Swedish scholar Peter Englund who writes books about Swedish and European history.
That’s about all I had to say on the subject of books that have managed to have a meaning in my – MoonieZ’s – life.
I was fresh out of school, I was real real cool, I got the… Ok, never mind. I wasn’t cool. But I was fresh out of high school and had to find a job, make a living. I didn’t want to go to college just yet. Had applied for it and had been accepted (I learned that later when I already had a job, but I’ll return to that). Anyway, I was 18, school was out (forever…I thought then) and I had to start making a living. I wanted to make a living writing bad novels, listening to music, watching movies and looking at pretty girls while eating a lot of junk food and drinking soda by the gallon. But this kind of living wasn’t going to bring me any money…at least not for as far ahead as I could see, so the only option was to find a normal regular job. After scanning the ads in the morning papers I started calling around for work and pretty soon got to go to some interviews. Looking for work in those days, the mid 1980’s, were nothing like today. Back then you called the place that was hiring, set up an appointment, went in, talked a little and either you got the job straight away or you didn’t and went to the next place. No need for written resumes or pro-written applications, no need for long job interviews with difficult questions. Getting a job was pretty much no big deal for anyone. Not for the employer and not for the employee. So after about a week I had been turned down a few times but then I saw an ad for a job at a small supermarket not too far away from my home so I called and then went there and after a brief interview and waiting a few days for the owner to interview another guy, I got the job and signed the papers. Two weeks after graduation from school I had a regular part-time job. I couldn’t believe it. So easy. Looking back on it today I wish it could be that easy now. However I started taking the train and the bus to go to work almost every day and quickly learned how to do my job. I had a nice co-worker (a girl my own age) teach me how to work the cash register and almost everything else that I needed to know. After a month I got my first paycheck. To go to the bank and cash that check was a great feeling of independence and freedom. Finally I was all grown up and ready to build my own life.
Probably I spent most of my money on books and records, going to the cinema, food, drink, clothes and rent at home. But I also saved a little each month and did my best to be responsible. I also still had the small office cleaning job that I had started while still in school. However after a while I left that job when I had gotten a full-time job at another market. My first months at work went by fast. I got into the habit of eating too much already at this point. I guess it was impossible to avoid eating when working with food products all day and always being tempted. Anyway I mostly cooked my own lunch at work or had something that I could eat right away. So I remember having four or five hamburgers for lunch on some days, and other days lots of hot dogs or sandwiches or some other fast food I liked. I gained weight pretty fast. About 10 kg’s just during the first years of working. I started to look fat but I didn’t see it myself. Not until my clothes didn’t fit anymore and it became more difficult to find new clothes of the right size (but all this is a little beside the point of this post).
At my first job I had some very nice co-workers and my boss was a good guy too. In fact I liked working in that small market a lot. There was always some funny things happening and most of the customers were nice. I was not often afraid of working late or of the place being robbed but I remember it got broken into once while I was still working there. One other thing I also remember is coming in to work on a Saturday morning and finding the market closed, locked and empty even though the guy responsible for opening was supposed to be there. He didn’t show up and when the time to open had passed there was a big crowd of customers waiting outside and all were asking me why I wasn’t on the inside ready to open the doors. I explained I didn’t have the keys and that there was another guy coming to unlock the place. However I had no phone number to the guy and no phone (this was the time before cell phones, mind you) but some of the customers managed to find the owner by calling him at home and finally he arrived to unlock the doors and let me in to start working, then let the customers in. While that was going on the guy arrived. He had overslept and forgotten he was supposed to work. Still the day went on without any more incidents and there were not any hard feelings.
Only problem I had with that first job was that the way to work was a bit long. I had to go by train and bus and it did take some time. So I looked for work closer to home and also I wished to have a full-time job. Looking trough ads in the paper I noticed one that promised I wouldn’t have to travel more than 5 minutes to get to the workplace. That sounded good so I sent an application and after a few weeks I got a reply to go see the local manager of the market closest to my home. So I did, and I got the job straight away. I was happy. But my boss at the other market said I should have stayed and many years later I began to think he had been right, but I’ll get to that later. So about a month before Christmas 1987 I started my new full-time job. However that will be the third part of this story. Stay tuned !
Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Paris 1985 on the Born in the USA tour. I couldn’t really relate to the story or the emotions in this song at that time. Back then I was still in high school and a teenager without too much experience of any kind. Now a lot of years later I can relate to the lyrics and the emotions a lot more. This song is one of the rarely played ones from the Born in the USA album and one that is rarely performed live. However Bruce did include it in the set on July 3 1988 in Stockholm – the one and only time I’ve seen him live. That night was awesome though. Even the ending of the show was classic – Quarter to Three.