Mississauga, Ontario – October 1999. While playing cards in the cafeteria at lunch with friends, Carla’s teenage girl antennas shoot up when a cute boy approaches her table with a friend. From the enthusiastic reception from her friends and his charming smile, Carla is instantly smitten with Mike. The boys sit down and join their game of Asshole. Before the bell could ring signally the end of third period, Carla causally asks everyone at the table for their phone number. She’s the new girl in school so she’s gotta make friends somehow, right? Carla waits 2 days to call Mike. The phone rings and his brother answers. Her palms are sweating, her heart racing until she hears his brother yell, “Hey Mike, Melissa’s on the phone”. What? Who’s Melissa? Did she just call another girl’s boyfriend? Mike comes on the line and she says immediately, “Hey Mike! It’s Carla”. He replies, “Holy shit! You actually called”. Interesting response. This would mark the beginning of a month-long engagement of phone calls, hanging out after school, sharing a locker and eventually doing everything together. As friends.
One day, specifically November 2nd, Mike and Carla have an interesting conversation on the right amount of time one should know another person before starting to go out. Mike says 1 month. Carla marks the date December 2nd in her high school agenda and waits. She knows her feelings can’t be one-sided, so she begins to write down how she feels, in pencil, but no cheesy hearts. On December 1st, she tries to tells him all day but fails, literally feeling sick to her stomach. The next day, she tries again but another epic fail. Instead, she takes her letter and slips it into his uniform shirt pocket and walks off. During English class, she decides to take a washroom break and runs into Mike. Like the first day she met him, her palms are sweating, her heart racing but a bit more bold, she tells him she took a break hoping to run into him. They don’t talk about the letter, but when she asks him how his day is going, he smiles shyly and says great. Good sign. At lunch, they take a walk to the track. She asks him what he thought about her letter. He responds, “Yeah, I agree with the letter. It was nice.” He asks her if she noticed the clay star in their locker that he had made for her in art class; she hadn’t. They arrive at their locker and Carla sees that the star was now in the shape of a heart. That was Mike’s way of saying, “I like you too”.
Highschool Hangs, Omiš, Croatia. 2012
Photo courtesy of Christian