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.