I felt the tickle of a trickle of sweat run down under my arm as I waited just beyond the corner past his locker. My mouth was dry, my heart pounding.
It was now or never.
I had to have a date for the dance coming up next weekend, and he was the only boy I could think of to ask.
He was a Kicker, not in the Popular league, so more within my reach. (Me definitely not being in the Popular League or anywhere near it.)
We got along okay, I thought. I sat behind him in history and sometimes we exchanged a few words. He at least saw me. I made him laugh once with my impromptu impression of the teacher.
I spotted his cowboy hat and forced myself to call his name, my heart suddenly full of hope. He turned and came over my way. I felt like my whole life was about to change.
My words tripped over my tongue and landed between us with a clumsy thud, but he got the gist.
He paused for what seemed a lifetime. My heart sank in the silence.
“Nope, I have to say no. But don’t feel bad. I wouldn’t say yes to a dance, not even if you was Susie Moore.”
Susie Moore was hands down the most popular girl in school. She was everything I was not: pretty, petite, outgoing, a cheerleader, funny.
I laugh a curt, self-derisive laugh and say “Oh yeah, of course!” a little too brightly, a little too pushed.
I walk away, my hope around my ankles, the taste of recognition of my non-Susie Mooreness bitter in my mouth. I’d known it already, but having it stated to your face is a whole different ball of wax. Especially from the mouth of your major crush.
Never again, I vow silently to myself. Never. Again.
I read my writing for the first time in a public forum today. It was amazing to share my words live, and to experience the other writer’s works.
Because I was so involved with that, I thought I’d repost Old Baggage for today’s word prompt, but this came to me instead. 34 years later and I still feel the sting. Isn’t it amazing? How intense our early experiences can be?