It was all because Tonic’s one wonderful hit “If You Could Only See” came on the radio last night as Henry and I were getting ready for bed.
“This song reminds me of when I went to get my GED,” I sighed nostalgically. (Which I originally spelled “nostalgicly.” Surprisingly, “Is ‘nostalgicly’ a word?” was not one of the questions on the test.) And even though Henry has heard my stories ten-fold by this point, he laid there silently while I told him about the boy I met at the McKeesport YWCA, and how we spent our GED testing breaks together in an alcove. (TALKING! We were just talking.) His name was Adam, this beautiful Mulatto boy who enjoyed building computers, which my 18-year-old self thought was pretty nerdy but his face made up for it.
The GED testing was split up into two sessions, so I got to see Adam once more, and this time, as we sat in the alcove after we finished the test (first ones to finish, whaddup), he asked me for my phone number. Right after I gave it to him, Psycho Mike arrived to pick me up.
“Is that your boyfriend?” Adam asked, as we watched from above as Mike entered the building.
“Yes,” I sighed sadly. (Mike and I had a really awful relationship that thankfully would expire a few months later.)
“Damn,” Adam said. “I was hoping you were going to say he was your brother.”
“And then he never called me!” I cried to Henry. “He could have been The One!”
“Maybe he didn’t call because you had A BOYFRIEND,” Henry spat.
Yeah, let’s go with that. But I seriously think about him every time I hear that fucking Tonic song. Even though I don’t remember his last name. (And I honestly only remembered his first name this morning.)
Taking the GED test was really an experience. And by “experience,” I mean CULTURE SHOCK. Before testing started on the first night, people were bitching to each other about how they needed to get home to feed their kids and take care of other Real Life things, when my only priority was going to the Plaza Café for grilled blueberry muffins and coleslaw with Psycho Mike and then renting an Argento movie next door at Firehouse Videos. And I remember slowly slouching down in my seat at the realization that these people likely dropped out of high school for actual, uncontrollable circumstances (I didn’t have to be a seasoned stereotyper to deduce that I was basically the only spoiled suburban bitch in that joint) while my reason was “because I felt like it and I wanted to see if my family would give a shit.”
Spoiler alert: They did not.
“Yeah, but would it have really changed anything if you had graduated high school?” Henry asked. And that was a good point, because graduating high school wouldn’t change the fact that my grandfather died when I was 16, and believe me, things would have been a lot different if he had still been alive. For instance, I definitely would have finished school and I 100% would have gone off to college right away, got swept up in the wrong crowd and likely wound up becoming a raging fan of Dave Matthews and OAR. (This is what I associate with college, apparently.)
And that’s something I think about a lot, not how dull my music preferences might be, but would I have still met Henry? If I had gone to college, I probably wouldn’t have been an office manager for a meat company when I was 20, so where would I have met him? The Army Navy Store? And then what about Chooch?!
This was all too much to think about before bed, so I changed the subject to having another baby, because THAT’S not a heavy conversation or anything. But before Henry could answer, I said, “But what if it wasn’t yours? Would you still stay with me and raise it as your own?”
Henry made a YOU’RE FUCKING JOKING scowl, but I elaborated. “No! I was beaten and raped by a ghost, and that’s how I got pregnant!” Henry started to roll over, a sign that he was peacing out of the conversation, but I kept pressing the issue, until he finally said, “THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!”
“TELL THAT TO THE WOMAN BARBARA HERSHEY PORTRAYED IN THE ENTITY!” I yelled back, nearly in tears from laughing. Then, trying to reel him back in with affection, I put my hands on his chest and screamed, “OMG IS THAT YOUR REAL NIPPLE?”
“No, it’s my fake one,” Henry said dourly. It felt like it was in the middle of his chest! It was dark and I couldn’t see! I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t growing things I was unaware of.
We were quiet for a few minutes. Henry was actually probably already asleep, because he’s like a magician when it comes to sleep. I tried to stop it, but I could feel the giggles convalescing inside me, deep within the pit of my belly, so I silently shook for awhile, taking the entire bed along for the ride to Giddyville. Henry’s one eye opened slowly. “What?” he sighed.
“Nothing,” I squealed as a mouthful of laughs tried to launch themselves out of my face-cannon. And then it was all over. I sprayed Henry in the face with my uncorked vim & vigor, my stomach aching from the exertion. And I laughed and laughed and laughed, tears streaming down my face, while Henry just stared at me and asked me again, in his Papa H tone, what was so funny. (He gets paranoid.)
“I’m just thinking about getting impregnated by a ghost!” I cried, curling up into a fetal position to keep from peeing my pants.
This inspired Henry to expound once more on the physical improbabilities of this situation ever occurring, because he’s a mirth-murderer.
I forget what I said, but he thought I said something about “boozing,” so then I started scream-laughing all over again.
“It wasn’t that funny,” Henry mumbled.
“Yeah, but now I’m picturing myself at the bar with your fake nipple!” I wheezed.
If everything happens for a reason, then dropping out of high school was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
And after all that, I still dreamt of Jonny Craig.