“1982, Revisited” by Justin Bigos

A new essay by alumnus Justin Bigos (poetry, ’08) appears online at Bending Genre:

1982, Revisited

On March 19, 1982, a group of Argentine scrap metal merchants raised the flag of their nation on the coastal, British-occupied island of South Georgia. In the next two weeks, Argentina invaded the island, and then the Falkland Islands, assuming Britain would retaliate.

By June 14, ten weeks later, Argentina had surrendered to Britain. Argentina had lost 649 military, Britain 255. Three Falkland Island civilians had been killed. This is what Wikipedia tells me. In April 1982, I turned seven years old. I lived on Linwood Avenue, on the second floor of a three-family home, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with my mother, sister, and – for a year or two by this time, I can’t remember – my mother’s new man, whom she would marry in the summer of 1983.

Nineteen-eighty-two. 1982. Nine. Teen. A-D. Too. The tip of the tongue taking a trip. I remember:

E.T.

Breakdancing with my friends Sergio and José, who lived above me, on the third floor. Their sister Janet’s eyes.

Joan Jett’s eyes.

The Dark Crystal, one of the scariest movies ever made, a Schindler’s List for kids.

Our apartment getting robbed. The way the broken glass looked on the floor of the dark hallway when we got home.

The voice of Stevie Nicks.

“Spitting Nicky,” an older kid from the neighborhood who spit even more than the rest of us. His hairlip; his black, spiky hair.

Atari: Donkey Kong, Dig Dug. Q*bert?

I recently finished a story – which, at 49+ pp., I now consider a novella – set in 1982. My protagonist is Nicholas Mikos, Jr., nine years old. I changed Nick Junior’s age in the story after a few scenes. I made him two years older than I was in 1982 because the story began to reveal itself as, in some way, a story of sexual awakening. And so nine seemed more “believable” than seven. But, to be honest, by which I simply mean to remember, and to trust that memory, I began to come of age sexually at the age of five. And not through abuse, as is the case, perhaps, with Nick Junior. Though, his babysitter, his first great love, is twelve. A girl. A girl who dry-humps then does other things to, with, this boy, who is very very willing if not terrified. Who has never heard of the Falklands.

Continue reading online at Bending Genre. 

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