Photo of the day – 12


My mom was a school teacher at my school. She taught honor students. I got by with mostly D’s. Before starting eleventh grade my mom told me I should take a vo-tech class. The vo-tech school was near my high school and was a half day class for two years. I choose graphic design and printing.
Our classroom consisted of a print shop just like you’d see now. It had a dark room, lots of printers, paper cutters, etc. It also had a classroom inside it that our teacher would occasionally try to teach us something.
The classroom wall closest to the print shop was mostly glass. You could see each student come into the print shop to make their way to the classroom every day.
The first day of this class I was sitting at my desk and this blonde girl walked through the door to make her way to the classroom. I was immediately intrigued by this girl. She chose a seat next to me and I was really happy about that.
Over the course of the next few months we became friends. I wanted to ask her out, but as always I was afraid to. We spent a great deal of time in the darkroom alone and we would talk for hours. I think we were really good for each other. We could share our thoughts without fear of what the other might think. I was feeling a really strong connection with her. I spent a great deal of time thinking about her. She lived far across town, so we never really saw each other outside of class.
One night I was out at a place called Hard Roxx. It was our local heavy metal club. It was right off the military based nestled in between raunchy trip clubs. It was a place notorious for allowing under age kids in, as well as allowing them to drink. They served beer by the gallon jug. What I mean when I say that as I’m pretty sure the owner just brought used empty milk jugs from his house and filled them with the worst beer on the planet. A Hard Roxx hangover was a special thing.
One night at the bar, I could hear this loud drunk girl running her mouth. I thought she was good looking and I was drunk, so courage was plentiful. I approached her and she made quick work of me. She asked me to drive her home. Home meant some barracks on the military base. She was in the army and a few years older than I. We sort of had sex, by sort of I mean I lasted about three seconds, threw up in her sink and passed out shortly after. The bad thing about her sink was it was in the room. There was only one room. It had a mesh screen on the drain, so my throw up had no where to go. She got mad that I didn’t choose the toilet. She then took her hands and actually scooped my puke out of the sink and carried it to the toilet.
The next day we ordered pizza and watched Hoosier basketball. She was from Indiana and was a big sports fan. We had slightly better sex two more times.
I went home. The weird thing was, that after my dad died, my mom took the leash completely off. She did not want to put me through any more hardship. It was a bad call on her part. I was able to come and go with no regards to curfew. Occasionally she would get pissed at me. I feel bad for putting her through so many hard nights. One night I had finally pushed her too far and she charged me and grabbed me by the throat and push me up against the wall, digging her fingernails hard into my throat. I was real calm about it. I just let her get her rage out of her system. She finally let go and I just went to my room. I felt real bad about pushing her that far. I deserved way more than that.
I had started seeing the Army girl on a regular basis and we pretty much just had sex most of the time we spent together. I was cool with that. However we got along terribly. We fought a lot. One day I decided I was going to break up with her and go ask the girl out from my vo-tech class. I entered her room with my speech practiced and worked over for many hours. As soon as I saw her I knew I was fucked. I knew she was pregnant. She told me and I got down on one knee and proposed.
I went home to tell my mother the news. I was in my room trying to get the guts to call her in to tell her. I was playing my purple BC Rich guitar and likely playing Cinderella’s Nobody’s Fool, because it was the only song I kind of knew. I had learned it specifically to impress another girl, PJ. That’s a story for another time.
I called my mom in and just blurted it out. “Rhonda’s pregnant and we’re getting married”, I said. She laughed out loud and told me I was funny. She quickly figured out I was serious and got boiling pissed. I mean really fucking pissed. She yelled out to my sister. Your stupid brother knocked up Rhonda. Then all hell broke loose. She made me call my grandparents and ask them to come over and tell them in person. They came, I told them.
Then it came time for Rhonda to face the fire. She came over and they went at it like I can’t describe, almost coming to blows, maybe even coming to blows on occasion.
I sat like there and watched it all unfold like I wasn’t in the room. Maybe you saw the movie, Garden State. There’s that scene were Zach Braff takes pills and sits motionless on the couch while craziness surrounds him. That is kind of what it was like.
My escape was Vanessa, the girl in my vo-tech class. I finally had to tell her I was getting married. She didn’t even know I had a girlfriend, which of course something I did not want her to know. We sat in the darkroom and talked for hours about it. She was the only one I could talk to about it. Our teacher was barely around. He let us do whatever we wanted. He was fine I guess with us just being alone in the darkroom for many hours. He did give us crappy assignments that were so simple and it was always just one project for a semester. One semester I made this cover as my project.
At one point everyone in the class was sure Vanessa and I were having an affair. The teacher called us in separately and told us both to stop. We both said there was nothing going on, because there wasn’t anything going on. I don’t know if I had the energy in my to deal with an affair.
While I was busy with planning a wedding, moving out of my mom’s house, finding a new job, decorating a room for my upcoming daughter, fighting with my wife, I thought of Vanessa almost constantly. I felt guilty for it. I was cheating in a way.
Late one night during my marriage I even parked in front of Vanessa’s house and wished she could come out and we could just go anywhere.
My senior year was a blur. I went to school full-time and worked at a flooring factory six days a week from four in the afternoon to one in the morning. I came home every night, showered, sat with my daughter for a while, and fought with the wife. Then I went to bed around three or four and got up at seven-thirty and did it all again. Sunday was domestic day. We went to Sam’s to get groceries, we did laundry and shopped for bullshit for the apartment like shelves to put knick knacks on.
After I graduated I had no way to get a hold of Vanessa. I heard she had moved to California. One night after my divorce, I ran into someone at a bar who had her California number. I called and we reconnected. I’d say over the years we have spoken on the phone for possibly over a thousand hours. Even though I haven’t talked to her in a few years she still crosses my mind daily. There was a time when I was certain I would marry her. I thought it was our destiny to be together. It is weird to think that as close to true love as I have ever been.

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