By: Kyla Dowling, SFU Student
I remember that day so clearly.
Fourth period meant that it was time for gym class. Normally, I’d be nauseous from the anxiety of playing dodgeball against the eight-year-old Olympians, but our teacher opted to lead us outside, instead. Who needed our brand-new gymnasium that steered funds away from replacing our textbooks from 1967, anyway?
I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe we’d play Four Square, or “Slurp Tag,” a messed up version of tag where you had to lick your hand before tagging someone. Ah, what class. This was the beauty of pre-pandemic times: bonding via wiping your saliva on some kid’s shoulder.
Ms. Williamson went to the supply closet that my third-grade boyfriend Dylan swore was haunted, and to everyone’s delight, she pulled out . . .
The coveted rainbow parachute.
It was a marvellous invention. It was more beautiful than Sam from Totally Spies — which, if you knew how gay my eight-year old self was, says a lot.
“Grab a handle,” said Ms. Williamson, and we obliged, eager to take part in the blessed (cult?) ritual. We lifted it up and down, more synchronized than Mariah Carey lip-syncing on New Year’s Eve 2016 (which really isn’t that hard to do, but still.) Finally, we pulled it over our heads, settling underneath it. We blocked the world out and thrived underneath a nylon rainbow sky.
That, my dear reader, was the last time I ever felt happy.
When we went inside for lunch afterwards, Dylan — my third-grade boyfriend, if you recall — immediately broke up with me. He dumped me in fear that holding hands would get me pregnant. That was the first incident in a miserable series of events, often headed by stupid men, that brought my cynical ass here today. Such events included: dating a guy who said he was a pilot but was really a sad stamp collector and then staying with him for three years, choking on a hotdog because I was trying to show off my deep-throating skills to a different guy, and getting high and writing a song you all should know but don’t called “Friday.” I’m coming for you, Rebecca Black. It should have been me who had a glamourously gay TikTok comeback.
Underneath that rainbow parachute was the last time I have ever felt an ounce of serotonin light up my sad, smooth brain. My therapist says that I’m “severely depressed” and “need to stop falling for toxic men just because they look vaguely like Owen Wilson, but specifically Owen Wilson when he was on That 70s Show because it was the only time he was ever attractive,” but I know the truth, Susan. One day I will return to Our Lady of Holy Trinity Saint Jesus Elementary School. I will find that rainbow parachute, and I will find happiness again. I wonder if Dylan is still hanging around there.