Fortress Around Your Heart by Sting

I never had “The Talk” with my parents. My mother, being far wiser than anyone gives her credit, knew that I was a snooper and had found many of her present hiding places. That’s how I came across a book called How Your Body Works by Judy Hindley.

How Your Body Works by Judy Hindley, illustrated by Colin King

It provided me quite a bit of information about how my own body worked. I mean, at the time I hadn’t a clue how food was digested and turned into poop. And then there was that section where it described sexual reproduction by using robots that had no resemblance to humans. I don’t know if it was the fact that they didn’t resemble humans or that I was too young, but I didn’t believe it the first time I read it. I mean, wait, there’s this spongy thing with the “male” robot that fits into this slot in the “female” robot?

One thing the book didn’t really tell you about was “love”. Not that I think any book I could read at that time really could, to be honest. And we definitely weren’t at a point in history where men were provided with the tools to be truly aware of how much an ass they could be. And having no older sister to steer me otherwise, this led to … awkwardness.

I had my first infatuation in Mr. Pillar’s Grade 5 class, a girl named Stefanie. She moved away at the end of that year. It would be two more years until another infatuation, which I so utterly screwed up (I was so terrified about having to dance with her at an end of year party that I climbed a tree and refused to come down). It was another four years until I was with the onzaine that infatuation struck again. Hard. Multiple times.

This was the song that became the centre of that feeling, for me. I can’t recall if I had turned onto Sting before I’d entered the group (I did have The Police’s Synchronicity album, so Sting was a known quantity to me), or if I’d picked him up as a result of being around the others as we listened to music at each other’s houses, at parties, and in the cars as we drove about town, between houses, and looking for movies to watch as a group.

There was one in the group in particular that had captured my attention. But I was the outlier, the non-artist, the one whose affections weren’t noticed. (There’s another longer story in this.) I’ll not name names, it’s neither important at this point in time and no-one needs that embarrassment, but my mental Lloyd Dobler kept trying to blare this under a window. Thankfully, the intensely awkward and shy part of me kept Lloyd at bay.

Still, it’s a significant part of my time with the onzaine. And not just this song, the entire The Dream of the Blue Turtles album got extensive play (Chris and I would focus on Moon Over Bourbon Street, inspiring more than a couple of monster-influenced short stories).

It was an awkward period of my life, having strong feelings that I could neither voice nor reconcile. Worse still, I was legally an adult, 18 years old and didn’t have the foggiest idea how to function as one. And those problems would later come back in a far uglier way…