“I’m just going to go ballistic and punch people in the face, then I can lose my job. Good thing is, hunny, we won’t have to pay for daycare.”
Ladies and gentleman, meet the love of my life.
We met in a small-town mini mart where Confederate flags were hoisted on the backs of lifted Chevys. (Will someone tell them we live in Pennsylvania and, like, totally beat the South?) He was a dream. Him, the older, 6’5 jock with a super hot, super tinted ’01 Cavalier roaring into the gas pumps with Flowmaster exhaust (really just a chrome tip). Me, a now salivating but wholesome, straight-A teenager with one motto: “The key to success? Put a nickle between your knees and keep it there.”
You see, my oldest sister got knocked up at 16. My mom did, too. We grew up on food stamps. She baked me a cake when I hit 17 without a dependent.
We were in a whirlwind of love and lust (don’t tell my parents), and I still feel the Catholic guilt chained to my first orgasm, pulling it into the depths of venereal disease-infested hell.
I had my whole life ahead of me. I could go anywhere with my ability to write a coherent sentence and poverty-level upbringing that provided some charm and depth to my college entrance essays. Destined for greatness. Determined to leave this small-minded place. Heathens.
So why, as a self-centered, success-oriented natural leader, did I come back to this godforsaken place to only become an overweight, extreme-couponing mother of two with a glass-ceiling-bound career?
Grab a glass of wine … (You might help yourself to some of my finest boxed pinot in our Frigidaire Gallery, French door, stainless steel refrigerator, which we’re still paying for, 12 months no interest. Don’t mind the dog pee under the kitchen table.)
“Let’s try this long-distance. We’ll call every night, travel every other weekend,” we cooed to each other, only one of us bound for college in Philadelphia. The other worked in a warehouse, driving a forklift on third shift.
“You’re the smart one,” he said, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
He wasn’t kidding. Philadelphia, South Philly, Richmond, D.C., Virginia Beach. There he was, loading and unloading the UHaul, even my Kawasaki Ninja that ended up getting run over in a newspaper parking lot by an award-winning photojournalist.
“Why the (bleep) do you have so much nail polish?”
He was not only observant, he was strong. A giant bull who could reach any top shelf. No matter how long I hung from the swingset in my backyard at 8 years old, I’d never be tall.