Last weekend I took the test. The biggie. The test to end all tests. FDNY. Two hundred questions which had been sweated over by hopeful recruits on the other side of the country, all of whom were much younger than me, and certainly better qualified. The culmination of my little project, 14 months of my life, right in my little hand.
I'd been reading, observing, studying, flirting, and interviewing for over a year in preparation for this moment. The exam itself looked innocuous enough; a few diagrams, floor plans, 200 bubbles to fill in. I wanted a 90. I'd settle for an 80. I plopped into my spot on Thor's couch, took a deep breath, and jumped.
My 200-question test actually consisted of 2 100-question tests, so I flew through the first one and scored it. It didn't seem so hard, and I got a 90. I knew then...Kat is not settling for an 80. I needed a 90 on test 2. After all, test 1 wasn't so hard, right? I should get another 90, no problem. I am Kat, hear me roar.
Test 2 was more difficult. WAY more difficult. Turns out FDNY actually expects you to APPLY what you've learned in Fire Science class and use deductive reasoning, rather than just regurgitate facts. Geesh. Having not actually taken any fire science classes, I had to rely on my months of exam prep, my years in the military, and 8 seasons of Rescue Me episodes.
I colored in my last bubble and turned to the answer key. Honestly, I almost couldn't grade it. I almost had to ask Thor to do it for me. Almost.
I went down the column, bouncing back and forth between bubble sheet and answer key, the letters like machine gun fire from my mouth ...."A B D B C C A C B B D"...... and then it was done. I looked back over my test sheet to assess the damage.
There was none. I got a 100 on test 2.
I looked at Thor, eyes wide, mouth gaping. "I did it. I got a 95."
I remember his face bursting into a huge grin, eyes lighting up, a little bark of laughter. I don't recall tackling him, but I did end up all wrapped up in him with my face snuggled up under his chin. In this moment of complete contentment, I murmured, "If I were a different person, in a different body - I would have made an excellent firefighter."
I felt his smile against my forehead, his whiskered chin on the bridge of my nose as he planted a little kiss on it. "Yes, babe, you would have."
I would have.