The year was 1999. I was 16 years old, a Junior in High School living in Reno, Nevada. I was active in my Youth Group at church and had been the captain of my cheer squad for three years running. (*collective gasp!*) I had been in a handful of relationships throughout high school- none of them too serious. I was happy and carefree (as most pre-heartbreak teens tend to be), and my life consisted mostly of hanging out with my friends and school.
Around that time I began ‘seeing’ a guy named Jesse. He didn’t go to my school, he had been home schooled, but some of my friends from church started hanging out with Jesse’s friends, and I really liked him. He liked me too, and we were just starting to spend lots of time together and hang out one-on-one. He took me skiing, and I would go and watch his band “Employees Only” practice out at his parent’s house. I remember Jesse even took a poem I had written and turned it into a song.
photo at right: Jesse playing with “Employees Only”… and a special guest drummer, Chris Clark.
He was always a perfect gentleman, he never even tried to kiss me, but he made it clear that he wanted to pursue me from the beginning. And Jesse wasn’t into pointless relationships… he wanted it to be meaningful and lasting. I was excited about this, and things were going great.
The church I was going to hosted concerts of local bands every so often, and one Saturday night, a band called Martyr 2:10 was scheduled to come and play. A couple of the guys from Martyr 2:10 knew some of the guys from “Employees Only”, Jesse’s band.
In fact, Jesse’s COUSIN was in Martyr 2:10. You can pretty much GUESS who that was…
The night that Martyr 2:10 came to play at my church, it was packed. Everyone was excited to see the
fresh meat new band play. They were a ska band, and by the end of their first song, everyone was dancing and sweaty and having a grand old time.
photo at left: A young Chris, circa 1999, feigning surprise.
After that night, our friend groups merged. My good friend Elizabeth knew some of the guys in Martyr 2:10, and everyone started hanging out like one big happy family from that point on. Previously, Elizabeth had liked Jesse. I had sortof cut-in on her in that department. (I was a total jerk face and didn’t even realize it.) After that, Elizabeth became interested in the drummer of Martyr 2:10. The drummer who was also the cousin of Jesse.
His name? Christopher Clark.
**to be continued…**