“Well... umm... I was thinking that if you wanted…that well...maybe we could gotogether… that is if no one better has asked you yet.”
“Hmm? Like I said, I do have a few choices, but what the heck. Why not? Let’s go.”
At the end of the week none of my buddies had a date. And of course, I didn’t either. We were
going anyway. There was no way we were going to miss it. Maybe a girl would ask us to dance
once we got there and if not, maybe we would break the “rules” and as
k a girl to dance.Friday night came. My dad drove me to the dance.
Rich stayed at home. Apparently, the year before he had learned it wasn’t worth it.
After school that day I had bought some breath mints in hopes that I might get close enoughto Joy for her to notice.Half a mile from the middle school I opened the pack of breath mints as we drove around the
bend on the river across from Joe’s Carryout.
“Hey Dad, you wanna mint?”
“Are you saying I have bad breath?”
he said flatly as he inhaled on his cigarette.I guess that was his idea of a joke. But I thought he might just as well be serious.
“No. I was just offering,”
then popped two in my mouth for good measure.We pulled into the parking lot of middle school. I opened the door to the car and hopped out.
“I will be back at 9:30 to pick you up.”
I said not looking back.I walked up the wide white concrete sidewalk to the front doors, took a breath, straightenedmy white clip-on tie and yellow v-neck sweater. I raised my hands to straighten my hair andremembered, just in time, that before leaving the house I had put in an extra dab of Dippity-Do and that my hair was stiff as plastic and brittle as ice on a puddle.I breathed again putting my hands down.I opened the orange metal doors and heard muffled music. I walked past the lockers andopened the doors to the dance.