Fifteen: Angela in Blunderland, Part 2!
Angela Pleasant kissed a boy for the very first time ever the day after she was rejected from Pleasantview Prep.
Pleasantview Prep was the local private school, an upscale affair that required uniforms and four-figure alumni "donations" towards the care and maintenance of the riding stables and the hedge maze. Angie has always just sort of assumed she'd go, one day. Her grades were always perfect. He teacher recommendations were written and waiting. And she had the same carefully cultivated air of intolerable superiority that all the prep girls had.
But she had her first pang of doubt when the Pleasantview Prep headmaster showed up for dinner.
Now, Angie would be the first to tell you that she was NOT racist. At ALL. Some of her favorite movies EVER had a black person in them, somewhere. And she ate watermelon and fried chicken TWICE last summer. But she didn't know those people were running the schools, now. What was she supposed to do?
She dreaded messing up the handshake.
Fortunately, Mom was there.
Angela loved Mom. She was so worldly. She would know exactly what to say.
That bit about being a credit to his race? Angie woulda NEVER thought of that. And she followed it up with a compliment about how well-spoken he was.
They just don't teach that kinda cool sophistication.
Hm. Or maybe they did. When she got into Pleasantview Prep, she'd know for sure.
Angie didn't hear the Headmaster's response, but whatever it was, Mary Sue stalked off to sulk on the couch for the rest of the evening.
Angela knew the Headmaster had a reputation for being a bit crabby, though. She wasn't surprised. Mom could be awfully sensitive. And things had only gotten worse, since she'd had to cancel her subscription to the Healing Crystal of the Month Club.
So while the pork chops baked, Angela kept up the small-talk.
The Headmaster seemed genuinely interested in their conversation; he even listened in polite and complete silence. He didn't interrupt, not even once. It was really encouraging that he thought so much of her opinions on social Darwinism and fast-twitch muscle tissue.
She was about to serve dinner when the Headmaster told Angela her enrollment at Pleasantview Prep was a matter the school would not care to pursue.
Her mouth opened and closed a few times, but no words came. Well, except one. But she held it back. I mean, Jesus, that, man may have had a gun.
The Headmaster saw himself out.
Mom was asleep by then, anyway.
It occurred to Angela that perhaps having the only available parent snoring away on the couch while you were interviewing for private school might not be the best idea. Maybe. But really, who was this guy to have such high expectations?
Mom consoled her over breakfast the next morning before she went to work. She said the Universal Higher Power of Indeterminate Gender had oodles and oodles of maygykcal blessings of bestow upon Angela in this lifetime, and it was important not to get too worked up about small disappointments. This, too, shall pass, Mom said. Look on the bright side, Mom said. Every cloud had a silver lining, Mom said. And shit, they couldn't have afforded the tuition, anyway.
Mom also said now she finally understood why Coda Experiment was let into Pleasantview Prep in the first place.
Those kinds of people. They liked to... you know. Stick together.
Mom knew a lot about life. Her incredible sensitivity and woman-wisdom were some of her best qualities, Angela thought, even though her sweet, motherly honesty meant she was going into retirement as a law office intern.
And the main thing Mom seemed to know about life was that it was really unfair.
It was times like this that Angela was glad she had Dustin. Sort of.
Dustin Broke was from one of the unsavory families that used to live across town, but now just lived across the street. She began seeing him a bit after he kicked out the window of the soda machine in the school cafeteria. God, it was so sexy the way he threw things across the room in wood shop. A real, honest-to-God bad boy, just like the one with the mustache and the frown in her favorite boy band. If she'd still been well-off, it would have probably been very scandalous. Sometimes, he even swore. With ALL the bad words. TOGETHER. Angela practically swooned.
It was his suggestion that they meet at the public pool, that day. And he was just explaining to Angie how sex was different for boys, how they had to do it or they would die, when she noticed the stranger on the swings.
He said his name was Stone Child.
Stone lived on Angela's street. It was a crummy neighborhood, but Stone had the nicest house on the block, with brick walls and a double door. There was a time when Angie might have called it "quaint," or "picturesque," or something else that meant "small and decrepit," but she had different standards, these days. Any place where you could take a shower and flush the toilet simultaneously was a palace.
Stone also was unusual in that, as far as Angie could see, he was always home. She never saw him leave for work in the mornings. He said that he was because he was "independently wealthy," but he lived modestly to "avoid attracting attention," and he filled his days with study. He'd never had an opportunity to go to college, and was making up for it now.
But his true passion was art. He painted, he said, and attended gallery showings and museums whenever he had a chance.
He was even something of a collector.
"I'd show you my best finds," he said with a wink, "But then I'd probably have to kill you."
Angie giggled, and tried to ignore the strange, tingly sensation creeping through her pelvis.
Stone Child was a hard guy to say no to. They swam together, and they danced together. It took up the rest of the afternoon. Angela invited Dustin to join them, but he said swimming pools were for fags, and went to sulk on the swing set instead.
Stone finally left just before dark. Dustin took it as a sign to move in for the kill, and began talking marriage.
It was kind of a shock, but he was definitely serious. His eyes didn't have that glazed look they got when he was snorting at bottles of model glue.
His parents had married young, he said, and his family hadn't suffered for it. The child welfare people didn't visit his house half as much as the others on the street, and the Broke family trailer was vintage. The Broke family, he said proudly, was Old Money. So old, in fact, that most of it had already composted. And his mom would be cool with them living in his room. He only had a twin-sized bed, but Angela could sleep under the pinball machine. And things would be great, as long as she didn't give him any fucking FEMALE TROUBLE about naming their first son Earnhardt.
Angie excused herself and called a taxi home.
A little surprise appeared on her doorstep the next morning.
love is our own tender thing
baby you get me all funny up in my thing
no i will not buy you rings
but can you please touch me down there
WILL U MARRY ME?!?!?!
-Dustin da HI ROLLAH
ps: INSIDE my pants this time
Angie had never gotten flowers before. She took them inside and parked them on the kitchen/dining/rec room table.
They were absolutely beautiful. A full vase of blooming red roses. Angela wondered, briefly, who Dustin had stolen them from. She also wondered how many more roses an independently wealthy art collector could buy her than a high school delinquent.
Fortunately, she had remembered to get Stone Child's number. She could call and ask him about it herself.