December 19th, 2006

(no subject)

1197.
Part 1: The Legend

1197 Williston Road may very well have been the dirtiest apartment in the history of all teen-infested party houses to occupy the city of Burlington. With its million red cups half filled with beer and discolored with extinguished ciagrette butts, its distinct smell of rotting food and sweating human, and its array of festival mishaps and furniture casualties strewn over every inch of the walls and carpets, no place I'd ever known could compare to its suqalor. Spending more than five minutes in that shithole merrited a shower upon return home, with a stench that lingered in your nose for hours following. Just being within those quarters was a reason to feel a little dirtier about your life; a little lower as a human being and a little more delinquent and misguided than you could possibly feel anywhere else. The chosen passtimes of these occupants of 1197 Williston Road were foul, harsh, and distasteful. The walls had seen more drama, more deceit, more contradiction than that of any home with broken glass littering the floor and boards of wood covering the windows. Behind that door at the top of the stairs was a place that closely resembled the bottom of a congieled and rotting pot in which all of our innocence had been cooked until charred by the forces of drugs, corruption, sin, and our inevitable pubescence.

This is how I always saw 1197. At the time, its unavoidable presence in my life felt negative, and every time I found myself in there, I felt as if the termites were crawling underneath my fingernails while I succombed to its magnetic vibe. I couldn't help but be there because as dirty, disgusting, and dramatic as it was, it was where I knew I could always find my friends; the ones that meant so much to me at the time. No matter the nature of the environment, the company was all I could ask for at the time; I had love, companionship, trust, and happiness, all pure although disheveled. No less than three generations of our friends came and went though that apartment. Rooms belonged to a person or a pair for only so long before another set of elements of our vibrant crew took their place in one of the infamous rooms. The cycle never seemed to end, and although those that left moved to other parts of the city, 1197 was where everything happened, and where everyone ended up when the sun set, or the snow fell, or the shipment came. There were marriage proposals, nasty brawls, ecstasy rolls, coke lines, broken glass, first experiences, and stolen shoes. There were lovers, friends, acquaintances, and enemies, all rolled up into the grime of 1197 until the cloud of cigarette smoke became too thick, the walls became too cracked and plagued with holes, and the furniture became too sunken, at which point everyone seemed to move on, and the legend of 1197 seemed to shrivel up into nothing and end. We found ourselves scattered throughout downtown and outter Burlington, and none of us occupied the space behind the dirty door at the top of the stairs. Even though we all continued to see each other, and we all remained friends, the finale of 1197 left us inevitably separated in a way we couldn't quite piece together.

1197 seemed like dark days at the time it was happening. It seemed depressing, indecent, and polluted, prepossessed with bad memories and nights in which intoxication had lead us into dark holes of blackened suffering. 1197 seemed at the time like a decision we'd all made to spend our lives in hell on the condition we were with our friends. But when it all ended, and time passed by without its grime constantly beckoning from the parking lot as the windows sent the screams from inside pouring out onto the street. I personally didn't spend too much time thinking about the days I spent at that infamously dirty apartment building on Williston Road, and I acknowledged it as a time from my past when I hadn't exactly thought myself the most admirable person or the most in control of my life. Regardless, the fact that 1197 was over and every one of us was now cleansed of its possessed dust sent chills down my spine when I thought of returning there. The idea that anything would ever connect a perfectly unique group of friends and enemies the way 1197's decay and debauchery did was impossible. After two or three years, it was obvious that we had all moved on, and put the legend to rest.

(no subject)

1197.
Part 2: The Reunion

It wasn't until years later that the possibility of a reunion was brought to the table and discussed by past occupants and leaders of 1197. The idea seemed unthinkably powerful; to somehow gather up every single face of 1197 from around the city and the country, and create one night wherein the madness of 1197 would be revisited; reincarnated into one final closing of this party venue that would undoubtedly make one huge dent in the history books. Bigger than any hole in that shithole's walls, any fight within that apartment's quarters, and ecstasy-induced dance party that dirt house had ever seen, the 1197 reunion party would sure enough bring closure to the nostalgic days of our dangerous youth.

The word began to spread, and the remembrance of 1197 came careening at light speed into everyone's head like a hammer to the eye. Suddenly the thoughts of our misguided pasts were unstoppable, and the slop of reminiscence was a song stuck in all our heads that we sang every day until that fateful date would come. This was bigger than senior prom. This was bigger than your average kegger. This was bigger than anything our yearning for history had ever fathomed. So much time had passed and so many things had changed in such subtle ways, from the songs we listened to all the way to the people we loved; the idea of time-traveling back with that infamous group of friends to the days of our beloved and despised 1197 seemed so monumental that no one could deny its appeal.

I remember walking up to those steps and hearing the same screams I once heard years ago from those cold windows in the dead of December. Suddenly I became overwhelmed with excitement, and the mere possibility of what I was about to experience was overpowering; I could feel the tingle turning rapidly into a stampede of butterflies in the deepest regions of my stomach. I clenched my fist around the palm of my 1197 companion, reunited for this historical occasion, as we approached the door. The car we had emerged from was certainly no Honda anymore, as its plethora of lights beamed and blinked as it disappeared in the parking lot to head into present time once again. I had completely lost track of where I was on the grid of my city, and realized that it had happened, and one by one, or group by group, the faces of 1197 traveled back in time to meet at this one final place to celebrate the mayhem and merriment that once was. Unable to contain myself, I ran the rest of the way to the door, swung it open, and screamed at the top of my ecstatic lungs, "1197 REUNION PARTY!!" with my fists in the air and my eyes shut so tight that they began to water.

There they were, all of them. Every last face that had ever set foot in that fateful place was back to relive the days that once brought us together. Ton Ton and Cote and Matty D and Courtmo. J-Kwest, Andy, Tito, Wee Ryan, and Jazzmin. Elliot Levi and Elliot Smith, Timmy and Tommy, Billy and Zito, Gonyea and Adam and Nitro and the whole damn crew, every single one of them with a smile from ear to fucking infinity. The shear thought of what was taking place was so overwhelming that no one could deny that at that very moment in time, whether it was present or not, we had never been happier in our entire lives to see each other again. There was that acoustic guitar, with all the songs we'd sang so many times blasting from its strings as Tito plucked them madly with endless excitement. From the stereo came the bumping beats we hadn't heard or danced to together in ages, and the happiness was mind-blowing. Never before had the presence of friends from those days I'd thought to be so dark felt so incredible that any more excitement would have left us bawling on the floor. It all came back to every one of us; the spirit of 1197 lived within us and came out screaming like a banshee in this infamous relighting of the old flame. The furniture broke, the vomit spilled, the E pills raged, the music screamed, the punches flew, and the love came back in buckets filled to the brim as every last characteristic of 1197 came back into us in the most contagious positivity our crew had ever even dreamed to experiencing. For one night only, and the only night we needed, we were 1197 one more time; the faces of the past hugging and kissing and smiling in the present, as we could finally find ourselves able to close that door for good. This time, though, we would never be separated again.