HIGH SCHOOL NORMALITY contains strong language and some themes not suitable for audiences under 17. Viewer discretion is advised.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Open Arms (Season Three Premiere)

"So, where are you going?"
"I'm going to Israel."
"How long of a term is it?"

"You are my present, and hopefully my future, because I love you, and I want us to last so much longer than Joy and I did."
"I love you too, David."

"For someone who's never had sex in a coat closet before, you sure know a lot about escaping."
"I've fucked in a lot of other really odd places. Remind me to tell you about it some time."
"Will do. Anyway, um, great sex, and I'll see you later."

"Hey, where's your purity ring?"
"Oh, must have fallen out somewhere. Oh well."

"I'm late."
"I know, the party started at 5:30, but you're here now, so--"
"No, Michael. I'm late."

"May I help you?"
"I'm looking for Cal Adler."
"He doesn't live here anymore. Um, who are you?"
"My name is Lucy Greer, and this is my daughter Maya. You must be David."
"So, where is he?"

I couldn't believe that even with him halfway around the world, Cal still had the power to fuck up my life.

"Would you believe me if I told you he was in Israel?"
"That's hilarious."
"Oh, I wish it was."

Lucy Greer and her daughter stood there, staring at me as though I was a wealth of information.

"Look, lady, Cal's in Israel, so if you want to talk to him, you're going to have to go there yourself."

I was about to slam the door on her face, but before I could--


I looked upon Lucy and Maya.

"Are you really going to let a mother and her small child stand out here in the cold?"

My name is David, and I'm a normal high school student.
And while I would have liked nothing more than to watch a bus murder Lucy Greer, I couldn't leave her child out in the cold, nor could I leave the child's mother to flounder.

Meanwhile, as I dealt with my surprise visit, Michael Florence and Leslie Lawrence were dealing with their own surprise.

"Come on, Leslie! How hard is it to pee on a stick?"
"Anytime you would like to take a pregnancy test, please be my guest."

As Michael stood outside Leslie's bathroom, he anxiously awaited the results.

"How long is it supposed to take?"
"Positive results can take as little as 40 seconds, but that's when there's a really high concentration of a certain hormone. They say it's best to take a test in the morning."
"So why didn't we wait until the morning?"
"Would you have been able to sleep tonight knowing that I could be PREGNANT?"
"I guess not."

Leslie sat in the bathroom for about a minute before she opened the door to show Michael.

"You have a lovely home, David. Do you live here by yourself?"
"I'm 17."
"But Cal told me that it was just you and him, and that Jake lived with your mother across town. If Cal, really is in Israel, wouldn't you be alone?"
"David, are your friends still--who is this?"

It's what every man who has an affair hopes would never happen. The mistress meeting the wife.

"Mom, this is Lucy Greer. Lucy, this is MY MOM."
"What are you doing in my home?"
"I'm here to see Maya's father."
"He's in Israel."
"Wait, you weren't kidding when you said that earlier?"
"Not even remotely."

Everyone was silent. Finally, Mom broke it.

"David, you should probably tell your friends to go home."

I went into the living room and saw Aaron Stanwick, Mark Adams, Mal Wales, and Callie Anderson standing by the door listening to everything that was going on.

"Well, Cal's mistress is here, so my mom thinks it's a good idea for all of you to go home."
"Okay. Aaron, can I get a ride?"
"Sure. Do you need one, Mal?"
"No thanks, I'll walk."
"In this weather?"
"It's alright, I don't mind the cold. And it's not very far from here."
"Okay, let's go."
"I'll meet you in the car."

While I walked Aaron out to his red truck, I explained what was going on.

"That's not right. She can't just show up at your house."
"Well, I guess she can because she just did. God, you have no idea how much I wanted to just slam the door in her face for all the grief she's caused us, but then I saw the daughter, and for some reason I just couldn't."
"It's because you still have compassion in your heart."
"Thank you, Father Aaron."
"Hey, I'm Mormon, not Catholic."

It was nice to be able to talk to him about this kind of stuff again. We had just come off of breaking off our friendship, and it was really hard easing back into it. I finally felt like we were best friends again.

While Aaron and I had our heart-to-heart, Mark and Mal were having one of their own.

"Look, about the whole sex in the coat closet thing--"
"I feel the exact same way."
"You do? This is great! I haven't had a fuck buddy in a while! This is going to be so much fun!"
"Uh--yeah--fuck buddies--sounds great."
"Why do I get the feeling we're not on the same page."
"Oh, Mark, we're totally on the same page. Yeah, um, you're the best I've ever had."
"I get that a lot."
"I'm sure. Well, I guess I'd better go home now."
"You're sure you don't want Aaron to drive you."
"No, that's okay. I've got--a lot on my mind."
"Okay, well, we'll definitely fuck again soon!"
"Yeah, but I do have one request if we're going to do this."
"We have to keep it a secret."

Mark looked at her with surprise.

"Look, no offense, but I see the bimbos that you usually copulate with and I don't want people thinking I'm a bimbo. That's just not who I am."
"Okay, sure. Your secret's safe with me."

So the fuck buddies went outside to Aaron's car and we all said goodbye to each other. Mal gave Mark an awkward hug as she started walking toward her house.

"Did something happen between the two of you? You both seem a little awkward around each other."
"Nothing's awkward! Everything's fine! I barely saw her all night!"
"Don't worry, Dave. I'll try to get it out of him on the ride home."
"Okay. See you guys later."

Callie and her parents, Robert and Suzanne were still in the house, but they were all on their way out.

"Linda, it was a pleasure meeting you."
"Yes, I certainly hope this won't be the last time we meet. David, always good to see you."
"Yes, David, take care of yourself. Come now, Calliope."

Callie's parents went out to the car to give us a moment.

"If you need me, I'll come right over."
"I know, and I love you for that."
"I love you too. Goodnight."

We kissed and then the Anderson family went home.

As I walked back into the kitchen, where Lucy and Maya had likely made themselves very comfortable, I knew that I was officially alone in this. I had my mom, but I had no distractions from the situation. I had to deal with it.

I sat down at the table, where Lucy, Maya, and Mom were already sitting. It was silent for what seemed like an hour before Lucy said the first words.

"So this is where Cal comes home to."
"Yes, this was his home."
"I always wondered why I could never come over to his place and why he never spent the night. Did you--"
"Know? Yes. But I didn't know about the child until I was arrested on his behalf."
"I really am sorry about that, by the way. I just--I was so angry at Cal for abandoning us. When I lost my job, I couldn't afford to take care of myself, let alone my own daughter. I needed that child support check every month. I know that we weren't married, let alone divorced, but the court said that he would have to help support us, and he did for a while."
"Really? Because he didn't have a dime to give to us."
"Well, I can't control that. He should have been supporting both families."
"He shouldn't have another family."

While my mom and Lucy talked, I couldn't help but fixate on Maya, this innocent little girl. She knew Cal not for what he was, but for who he could have been. She loved Cal with all her heart because she didn't know how to not love him. She had no idea how much he had hurt her because she didn't know the difference between heartache and neutrality. And I remembered a time where I allowed my own naivety to stand in the way of me feeling anything toward Cal except for love. As a child I looked forward to being with Cal. He was the "fun" parent, the one who would take me out of class for a "doctors appointment" when we would really be seeing Star Wars, Episode I. I longed to be naive again just so I could feel that way.

I couldn't let Maya be subjected to this. At the age of three, one needs to have that perfect image of their father.

"Hey Maya, I have some old toys up in my closet. Do you want me to get them down and we can play while the grown-ups talk?"
"Oh that sounds like a great idea! Go on, Maya."

Without a word, Maya got up from the table and followed me upstairs to my room.

As I looked for some blocks or legos or hot wheels, Michael and Leslie looked for another pregnancy test.

"Shit. This is the third positive one. Oh my God, I'm pregnant. Michael I'm pregnant! What the hell are we going to do?"

Michael wrapped his arms around her.

"Leslie, I'm just as scared as you are."
"No you're not! You don't have another person growing inside you!"
"But I had a significant role in creating that person. Besides, it could just be a bunch of false positives."
"Yeah right! Three false positives!"

Leslie began to cry in Michael's arms.

"How could this happen? We used protection. You wore a condom, and I took the pill every single day."
"Unfortunately nothing's 100% except for abstinence."
"Well I think it's kind of late for that, don't you think?"
"Just a little."

They were silent as they held onto each other.

"We have options."
"I'm not getting an abortion."
"I'm not talking about killing it. We could give it up for adoption."
"Oh yeah, and then in 19 years some Cornell student will show up at my front door and say I'm his mother."
"It could be a girl."
"I'm sorry. Look, whatever happens, we will figure this out. Together."
"You promise?"
"Cross my heart."

As Michael and Leslie made possibly the biggest decision of their entire on/off relationship, Mal walked home thinking about Mark, and how he just wanted to be her fuck buddy, and she wanted so much more. Who was to say that she was any better than any of the other girls Mark had been with? She looked at her n0w bare ring finger. For the first time since she had vowed to wait until marriage, she felt unclean. But she also felt good, like it was meant to happen.

As Mal walked the rest of the way home, Maya and I had started our mission to build the roller coaster of roller coasters with hot wheels. She didn't talk very much, but it was okay. I just enjoyed having an excuse to play hot wheels.

I turned the motor on, and the buzzing sound gave both Maya and me a sense of excitement.

"Now, Maya, don't put your hand anywhere near the motor, because if your hand touches one of the white spinny-thingies, you'll get sucked into the motor and you'll never be seen or heard from again."

It made her laugh to think that she would get sucked into the motor, but she listened to me and picked out a shiny yellow car to zoom across the hot wheels tracks.

"Please keep your hands, feet, and egos inside the vehicle at all times."

I placed the yellow car behind the motor, and with a soft tap, it zoomed across the bright red tracks, looped the loop-de-loo, glided upon each turn, and ended up right back at the motor just in time to go again and again. I could tell that Maya enjoyed watching the car zoom through because at the end of each run she applauded and went straight back to the look of amazement as the little car sped across the track. After it had done a few runs, Lucy came into my room.

"Come on, Maya. It's time for bed."
"But Mommy--"
"No buts. We will be sleeping downstairs on the couches. We're only going to be here for a few days while we figure out what to do next."

Lucy went back downstairs before Maya left my room.

"Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
"How do you know my daddy?"
"Well, your daddy is my daddy too."
"So you're my brother?"

No one had given me that title in a very long time. Even Jake, whom I had known since his birth, hadn't acknowledged me as such in years.

"If you want me to be your brother, I would be honored."
"Goodnight, brother."

She kissed me on the cheek and went downstairs.

It had been a night of emotions. Love, hatred, confusion, fear, and even doubt had all come to play on that first night of Chanukah. Unfortunately, emotions not only dictate how we feel, but they play a significant role in the things we do. Out of anger, I almost shut the door on Lucy and Maya Greer. Out of pity, I let them into my home. Out of a need to protect, I led Maya away from the adult conversation. And out of love, I allowed the little girl into my heart.

I could still be angry at Lucy, but Maya was a little girl. It wasn't her fault that both of her parents, unknownst to her, really sucked.

David Adler
Normal High School Student