Sunday, May 19, 2013

Levagood Legends

There was a park called Levagood in my high school days. As far back as who knows when, it had served as a starting point of those limitless nights for Divine Child kids - my high school. Many a high schooler had drank beers and smoked cigarettes in that parking lot throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's. You could almost feel the spirit of youth past and present, lurking in that parking lot. As soon as dusk began to fall, cars gradually began to pull in. By the time the sky was pitch black as soot, a small congregation of high school vehicles had accumulated. All were in pursuit of the one desire of those high school weekends: how to find booze, and where to find the party.

Arriving at Levagood on those nights was like a choose your own adventure novel: you never knew who you might come across, or what party you might hear about, or where the night would take you. Some of the vehicles were people you knew, some were randoms from the public schools. Maybe someone had stolen a fifth of whiskey from their parents liquor cabinet, and if you knew them they'd offer you a swig or two from the bottle. Maybe someone had some weed, and gratuitously let you sit in their backseat and take a puff as REO Speedwagon hummed from the stereo. Maybe someone pulled in to let everyone know about a public school party going on, and our excitement peaked at the thought of non-Catholic school girls that we might find in the night.The seniors had their own corner of the parking lot, where they sipped cheap beer and smoked hookah in the bed of a truck; that seemed like the place to be, but to us the seniors were off limits, and we could only jealously wonder in awe what it felt like to be them.

We were young. Full of life, and night. We all came out to escape the prison of living under our father's roof, searching for our freedom in the dusk. As Bob Seger knew, it was funny how the night moved. We didn't have anything to lose.

Local legend in our small community of the parking lot had it that there existed somewhere a shady liquor store that sold to high school kids for a small charge. 'It's an urban legend,' someone claimed, 'it doesn't exist'. 'It's true, I know a guy who bought there,' someone else countered. It was a closely held secret, available only to that small corner of the parking lot belonging to the seniors.

Thanks to my friendship with the high school quarterback, son of a legend at my high school, I was invited over to that corner of the parking lot on one of those magical nights. 'You guys want a beer?' one of those seniors asked. Of course we did. I tried to look casual. Those seniors seemed so much older and so much bigger, as I watched them sipping beers and taking hits from the hookah. It looked like they had been doing it for years. It seemed like they had some sort of wisdom about how to live those nights.

Finally, we were told the secret about the legendary liquor store. 'Tell no one,' one of the seniors exclaimed in a grave voice, as if it were the secret of the Holy Grail. 'If anyone else knows about it, the guys at the liquor store won't sell to anyone'. We were in. My friend and I toasted our beers, smiling the smile of innocence.

Thinking back now, it's funny how insignificant it all seems. But for that night, we were kings. There were no bills to pay, no demons of our past to haunt us, no worries of the future and the uncertainty it brought. All that mattered in the world was living for the night, seeking out the marrow of the present night and all that it might bring. Ain't it funny how the night moves? When you just don't have as much to lose?

No comments:

Post a Comment