I had two choices, if you could call them that, both felt more like predictable ends to a total crap day. I wasn’t up for either. Predictability offended my sensibilities and yielding to someone else’s, technically two someones, predictable attempt to stage a picturesque life was worse. Far worse. So, was the alternative, skipping out and being the bad guy, the teen rebel.

No, I’m not a child of divorce. I’m the child of two people who hate each other, but selflessly stay together for the children or child, they just have the one, me.

Tonight’s agenda: Mom’s cocktail party to announce her candidacy for State Senate. Okay, maybe their staying together is less about me and more about their careers. Who knows? What I do know is that my girlfriend broke up with me, via text, in the wee hours of the morning. The text was actually meant for Dillon, who she’s apparently been hooking-up with, but what I read was “it’s over.” Nice, right?

College couldn’t come soon enough.

Now, I’m stretched across the backseat of Dad’s classic, convertible Mustang. He bought it new. It was his first car. It’s been his only car. I’ve never driven it. I will never be allowed to drive it. Ever.

Upstairs, the “fashionable” tuxedo Mom picked out was waiting. Just thinking about the fake smiles and sweaty handshakes irritated me, but leaving in Dad’s car? Make no mistake, he would report it stolen and he would have me arrested. He was big on “lessons.”

It all felt predictable. Regurgitated headlines, at best. I chunked the keys into the front seat, he should at least know I’d been here, and stared at the tons of crap our troubled trio had accumulated. Who keeps their kid’s recorder? Was a kazoo tucked away up there too? As I shook my head, I saw it – Big Green.

Maybe? I thought.

No. I exhaled and looked away.

Seriously, a total crap day, but Big Green? Big Green!

I sat up. Thoughts began to percolate. Crazy thoughts. Big Green was one of Dad’s deepest, darkest “secrets.” It was the mascot costume of his high school’s longstanding rival. It was supposed to be a gator but was barely more than a fuzzy, green onesie with a hood that had the bill of a ballcap. Lame? Yes. Still, it was his favorite memory to relive, especially over cocktails. The sneaking in. The waiting for hours, cramped and motionless, until the coast was clear. The breathless running, convinced they’d been seen and could be identified and expelled.

It definitely beat the tuxedo.

My smirk twitched up one side. I looked around the garage. Big Green was Dad, but what about Mom?

The answer was peeking out from behind two discarded bags of golf clubs: Nate Zalinski’s bicycle. Poor Nate had insisted on taking the same route my mother took to the office, thus, slowing her down on the narrow, rural road.

Perfect, I thought, feeling the smile all the way to my toes as I walked toward the dusty Schwinn.

Was I going too far? Big Green was thirty years ago, but Nate? I took a deep breath and considered it. She would try to pin it on me. I knew this, didn’t doubt it for a moment. Then, I remembered I was away at camp two summers ago when Nate’s bike, his only means of transportation, was stolen. We’d moved to small town America so she could feel like a big fish, but she didn’t bear the inconveniences of the little pond well. Neither of my parents did.

The doorbell interrupted my thoughts. Mom’s guests were arriving. They’d come all this way, maybe a little show was in order?

Quickly, I donned Big Green, straddled Nate’s bike, and made my way down our long driveway, waving to people as they arrived.

Someone yelled, “Go Green!”

I doubled over with laughter and almost wiped out, that’s when I realized Nate had painted his name on his bike in large, block letters. This was too perfect. It was time for an “impactful” moment with the mayor’s sparkling new Benz.