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Kathy and I drove to Hudson Falls High in her Rambler. After checking our make-up one last time, we joined a steady stream filing into the school. We paid our entrance fees and I registered as Kathy’s guest for the senior dance.
The dimmed gym lights provided teenage ambiance. Given my double disasters of a golf ball sized boil protruding from my cheek and a misguided attempt to duplicate Barbie’s bubble cut, dim lighting was a good thing.Kathy, a few of her school friends, and I danced to the live music of a local band. An hour into the dance, something warm trickled down the side of my face.
I touched the crisscrossed Band-Aids on my cheek. They no longer humped out.
Kathy and I rushed to the ladies room. The hot compresses worked a few hours too late. My foul boil had boiled over.
I peeled off my Band-Aids while Kathy handed me a wet paper towel.
I wiped the ooze away, along with my foundation and blush.
The boil hump was gone, replaced by a boil pit filled with wetness. Afraid it might overflow, I brought a little wad of toilet tissue for dabbing the juice.
“It doesn’t look too bad,” said Kathy. “Just be sure to keep it mopped up.”
We left the ladies room, walked down the hallway, and returned to the gym.
The boil pit juicing had pretty much stopped, when someone tapped me on my shoulder. Instinctively, I knew it was a boy. I slowly turned and saw a guy cuter than any of my daydreams.
He was tall, blue eyed, extremely handsome, and his light-brown hair was styled just right. I wanted to swoon into his arms, but knew it would scare him off.“Would you like to dance?” he asked.
I looked at his feet and said, “Okay.”
The music was too loud to talk while fast-dancing. I carefully kept my boil side turned slightly away. He flashed a movie-star smile with straight white teeth.
I returned a half-smile, in an attempt to hide my crooked English rabbit-teeth, a gift from Dad. (I eventually got braces as a senior in college.)
When the song ended, he said, “My name is Rick.”
What a great name. Once again, I lamented Mom’s lack of naming ability.
“What’s your name?” he politely asked.
“Mary.” I left off the Barbara.
The next song was a slow one. I casually tucked the wad of dabbing tissue inside my sleeve cuff and gave thanks that the boil pit was on the left side of my face. I wiped my clammy hands on the side of my dress.
Rick had definitely paid attention during the dance portion of gym class. One-two-three, one-two-three, we box-stepped a waltz.
“You’re a great dancer,” he said. “A lot of girls can’t follow me when we slow dance.”
I already knew I danced well, but acted humble. “Thanks. You dance good too. It’s easy to follow you.”
When the gym lights resumed full power, he walked me over to Kathy and her friends, and asked for my phone number. I introduced him to the girls, and then he bid me good-night (no kiss).
‘I’ll phone you tomorrow,’ he said.
Kathy was quiet until he was out of sight, then she started shaking me. I squealed, and we both jumped up and down.
“Do you think he’ll really call?” I asked.
“He seemed pretty interested,” Kathy assured me. “And he’s a senior!”Could the evening have been any better? Well, yes, the beginning and middle could have. But the ending was as good as it gets.
I had almost canceled on Kathy because of my chopped hair and boil. I went to the dance with zero expectations. With no thoughts of attracting a guy, I let my guard down, stopped trying to impress, and simply had fun being myself.
I didn’t fully catch on to the lesson here, but enjoyed the outcome.
Lessons not quite learned: Don’t pretend to be what you’re not, just be yourself. And good things come when you least expect them.
Now it’s your turn: How did you meet your Prince Charming or Cinderella?
Related posts: Chapter Fourteen: Boiling Over
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