When I was very little, when Prince ruled the airwaves, when McDonalds made little plastic Mario Koopas that fluttered and Goombas that hopped, my parents took me to the Science Museum. The streets were slushed with snow and lined with people, gazing up in awe at Emilio Fucking Estevez, seated on a device with a camera, some 20 feet in the air. And everyone whispered their hushed Minnesota whispers, asking if it were even possible that Martin Sheen’s most handsome son could really be there, before us, behind a camera and not in front of it. People in the crowd speculated that it was a double, though why his double would be behind the camera is beyond me to this day. Even more confusing was the question of how the star of Mighty Ducks might be, for any reason, filming the very movie he was meant to star in.
Anyway, months later, my dad took me and my brothers to a swimming meet in a small nothing town where the sunlight bounced off the technicolor plastics of a water park. I sat at the playground while my brothers were competing, underneath one of those swirling turret towers, and watched the light flashing on the water nearby, where boys that would someday become men who really knew how to hold their breath, thrashed madly through the pool as their coaches screamed commands.
I thought about Emilio Estevez, about the way his eyes locked with mine, and I convinced myself that he was probably in love with me. I had been watching The Breakfast Club since I was 4 years old, and thus this seemed entirely possible. Probable, even.
All this is to say, I was also a swimmer. I can hold my breath for a really long time.
I’m doing it right now.
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