Monday, October 4, 2010

He Couldn't Believe His Luck

He couldn’t believe his luck. 
He had taken a chance and gone to the Fifties Dance hoping she would be there.  The only other time he’d gone to a high school dance was at Sadie Hawkins with Norma.  Norma was fun, a great dancer who didn’t make fun of him for not knowing the latest dance moves, and who didn’t press against him during slow-dances.  To him that meant she was a nice girl.  It didn’t even bother him that he had to wear overalls and a plaid flannel shirt – everyone said their Sadie Hawkins pictures looked cute.  He had had a blast that night – Norma was a friend and there was no pressure of unspoken expectations, because when she had asked him if he would be her date for Sadie Hawkins, she had emphasized the “I’m asking as a friend” part. 
This night was different.  This night, he had gone stag so he wouldn’t have the encumbrance of a date in case things went the way he hoped.  He wore his letterman’s jacket over a white t-shirt, and rolled up the pant-legs of his blue jeans, and proceeded into the gymnasium sporting what he hoped was an Arthur Fonzerelli attitude in a Richie Cunningham look. 
He had scoped the gym until he could see the lay of the land with his eyes closed.  To his left were the folded up bleachers, and in front of them were groups already formed, with girls in ponytails and poodle skirts and guys in either leather or letterman’s jackets and rolled up blue jeans.  Occasionally he would hear an explosion of laughter or an eruption of high-pitched screams, and he was reminded of a scene from Grease. 
To his right was a set of bleachers pulled out for seating, and already a few couples were hot and heavy and the lights hadn’t even gone down yet.  Right past the bleachers was “Arnold’s” – what the promoters of the danced had decided to call the concession stands.  He looked at the price list, and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that he had plenty to cover what he might need for the night.
He had scanned the gymnasium until he found what he was looking for:  the short, blond ponytail bobbing up and down as she animatedly told a story to the girls around her.  He headed in her direction, and found his buddies near the group of girls.  As he joined his buddies, he positioned himself so he could keep his eyes on her while participating in whatever guys talked about in these gatherings  which, if he were to base it on THIS conversation alone, was a whole lot of nothing.  Occasionally, she would raise her face to meet his eyes, and smile at him while continuing to talk.  On those occasions, his brain temporarily shut down, and all he could feel was his heart trying to beat itself out of his body.
He heard someone make a few announcements and the music started.  He decided he would throw caution to the wind and bust a few moves if he had to, but he was waiting for the first slow dance.  He would then walk to her, not say a word but just hold out his hand, and she would take it, and they would start dancing.  He knew she had an on-again, off-again boyfriend, but rumor had it they were in the off-again phase, and his goal was to change that  off-again to off-for-good.
As his luck would have it, the first slow dance was a ladies’ choice. He couldn’t believe his luck when he found himself dancing with her, her body pressed close against him and her forehead almost touching his as she looked into his eyes while they danced.  Not a word was said, but her eyes and smile said it all. 
The song ended, and another one began – a fast one – and the two of them didn’t even leave the dance floor.  He didn’t remember where he got the moves, -- all he knew was that she was dancing and laughing and dancing and laughing, and his heart sang.
After a couple of songs, he asked if she would like a drink or a malt – she said a malt sounds good, and so he floated towards Arnold’s, ordered two malts, and walked back to her.  The rest of the night had been a blur, but it was a happy blur. 
Later the next week, he had asked her to the junior prom.  She had told him then that she had a boyfriend and that they had an understanding about dating other people, and he had said that was okay.  He couldn’t believe his luck when she said yes to the prom.
In the weeks that followed before the prom, he walked her to her classes, carried her books, bought her treats for lunch or snack.  They got to know each other, and the more he learned, the more he liked.  He had decided that at the Prom, he would ask her to be HIS girlfriend.  He was lab partners with Bill, the supposed boyfriend, but Bill never gave any indication that he was upset over the turning of events.
The night of the Prom finally came, and the anticipation of the previous weeks was nothing compared to the anxiety of the minutes before meeting her parents.  Never mind his luck that he still didn’t have his license so his dad had to drive.  Never mind that his tux was a little too baggy and the arms were too long because his parents insisted they knew his size, but they were off  by a digit and a half.  Never mind the fact that when he finally saw her in her prom gown,  words left him and all he could do was stare, and that he had to decline when her mom told him to pin her corsage on her dress when her gown was only held up by spaghetti – no, vermicelli – straps.  Never mind that the side of his oversized slacks were almost wet from his having to wipe the sweat off his palms every ten seconds. 
Luck had been with him from the beginning and was not going to abandon him now; it was with him during dinner, because he didn’t make a fool of himself or spill sauce on his tux; it was with him on the ride to The Prom because he didn’t spew all over her gown, even though he felt like it;  and it was with him as they sat down after getting their pictures taken.  They had moved to the area where other couples sat, most of them already involved in some heavy public displays of affection.  He took the seat right next to her, and with every ounce of luck and courage he could muster, he slowly lifted his arm and laid it gently on the back of her chair, waiting for the right moment to ask her to be his girlfriend.
He couldn’t believe his luck.
“We need to talk,”  she exclaimed as she rose abruptly, took his hand, and led him to a hallway where more couples engaged in affectionate displays, oblivious to the strangers that had just brushed past them.
He couldn’t believe his luck.
He didn’t remember dancing even ONE dance at his junior prom.   He hadn’t expected to get home in the wee hours of the morning like he’d heard some people were doing, but neither had he expect to be leaving the prom early.  Like three hours early.  He had left her in the hallway to look for his dad, hoping his dad had chosen to wait in the parking lot instead of going home to get a TV show or two in before playing chauffeur again.  When he found his dad, all he said was “I’ll be right back, we’re going home.”  He went back inside to get her, and she silently followed him back to the car.  He didn’t remember opening the door for her like he had done earlier that evening.
When they got to her house, he got out of the car, helped her out of the car, and while she paused in front of him as if expecting some gesture of affection, like a hug or a handshake or something, he said, “Goodnight!” and got back in the front seat and slammed the door.  He didn’t even walk her to her door.
I heard about it that following Monday – how Bud Stud had taken her to The Prom after weeks of carrying her books and walking her to her classes, how he was hoping to ask her to be his girlfriend at the prom, right after taking pictures, and how she had said shot him down before he could even get off the ground.  She had only been making her boyfriend jealous, and that it was beginning to work. 
I cried for Bud Stud, for his heartbreak.   I just couldn’t believe his luck.  
Later that Monday evening, Bud Stud was back on the Far  Left spot on my Wall.
I couldn’t believe MY luck!

Chapter 5:  Beach Bud

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please make my day by leaving me a comment. It's always nice to know when someone's been by...