My previous neighbor, Kathy, and I remained friends, much to her mom’s chagrin.
I was a junior when Kathy, a year older, invited me to a senior dance at her high school. Hudson Falls High was five times the size of Hartford Central, making it five times as exciting with five times the number of boys.
A few days before the dance, a little pimple popped out on my cheek. I gently squeezed it and applied hot washcloths. Instead of fading away, it grew. And it hurt a lot. My pimple turned into a super-pimple, known as a boil.
I never had a boil before. It swelled up as big as a golf ball, stuffed full of oozyness. Because of its location on my cheek, I couldn’t hide it. I felt like the elephant man.I took this moment in time to radically change my hair style. Mom convinced me to chop off my long hair. The idea was to look like the second version of Barbie; the one with the bubble haircut. It didn’t work.
I became a bad version of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. I was ten when the television movie first played. And I didn’t believe, for even one minute, that the lady with the ugly haircut, pretending (unsuccessfully) to be a boy, was a viable candidate for Peter Pan. And now I also looked like a boy, but without green Neverland clothes.
My sheered head didn’t stop at horrible; it made my head look shrunken and crooked. It also highlighted my boil.
On the day of the big dance, I continued applying hot presses to my facial appendage until Dad and I left for Kathy’s house. My deep-red boil stuck out about two inches, so I crisscrossed it with a couple of Band-Aids; X marks the spot.
The first thing Kathy noticed was my hair.
“You cut your hair,” she said, graciously refraining from further comments.
Then she noticed my dress; the one Aunt Sophi bought me.
“Thanks,” I said. “I like yours, too.”
And then, she noticed the two Band-Aids humped out on my cheek.
“What the heck happened to your face?”
So much for hoping my skin-colored Band-Aids blended in and might go unnoticed. Kathy smoothed her long black hair, parted in the middle and hanging perfectly straight. I once tried straightening my bushy-wavy hair by ironing it, and succeeded in getting singed ends and a burnt scalp.
I was still in Driver’s Ed, while Kathy was a full-fledged operator. As we drove toward the dance, I was the ugly step-sister next to Cinderella.
Little did I know what the boil or night held in store for me.
Lesson learned: Do not try to make yourself look like a Barbie doll.
Now it’s your turn: What’s the worse thing that happened to you before a big affair?
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