Continued from His First Date | Part One...
The days between the invite and the movie were filled with fear and the nights were sleepless. I juxtaposed between dread and elation. I was at the peak of anticipatory joy and at the same time unmitigated fear. I prayed for an illness to consume my body leaving me powerless to attend the matinee, while at the same, time I combed through my wardrobe and prepared my opening line. It was the longest week of my life.
Saturday arrived and I awoke and laid I bed. This was a life altering day.
This was the first Saturday since my brain had begun registering my memories that I did not start my weekend with Bugs Bunny. Instead, I laid there in a cold sweat. My hands were clammy and I am pretty sure my breathing was erratic. I was too petrified with fear to move. This was so confusing.
One year ago I would have slapped Melissa upside the head with my lunch pail if she would have suggested a joint social opportunity, and now I found myself in the position of bathing and dressing up to be in the presence of this girl.
“When had my life ended?” I bemoaned.
I walked to the movie theatre. Every step is heavier and longer than the one before. There seems to be a cloud following me and I am not sure if it is the cloud of doom or a cloud from the half of a bottle of Old Spice I had taken from my Dad’s dresser. As I near the theatre I spot Melissa and her friends in line. I start to turn to run when I hear my name called. It’s her and I’m stuck.
I walk slowly towards the group of females. There are sneers and smiles of the conquerors over their subdued prey. I recognize many of these girls as previous targets of my preteen male aggression, replete with rhyming names and snide commentary. And now here I was, entering their stronghold of hormonal induced surrender. Melissa held her hand out to me and I was subjugated. This was already much more physical contact than I was prepared for, and my equilibrium was completely off kilter.
I was hearing condescending welcomes and a sarcastic homage about my ability to be in the presence of civilized people without resorting to blows. All of this was coming from Melissa’s friends. My dignity was shrinking by the minute, but for some reason I did not retaliate. Instead I smiled, acted pleasant, and pretended to enjoy myself.
I had sold my dignity for a girl with blue eyes.
I sat silent throughout the movie. I did not talk. I had stopped moving about 30 seconds into the movie when I shifted in my seat and the seat groaned. I feared that the seats groaning could be confused for a lack of bodily control on my part, so I sat motionless. I could feel the sweat running down my body, and my muscles were aching from this rigid position... but I held firm. For what seemed to be hours and hours I endured this movie. I do not know what movie it was because I was too busy concentrating on not moving and pretending not to exist. I even tried to mute my breathing, hoping everyone would forget I was there. The movie finally ended and we walked to the foyer.
As Melissa and her friends discussed the movie, I tried my best to blend into the wallpaper. I was hoping that I would be forgotten and they would all go on their way without me. But Melissa turned to me and asked me what I thought. Not having a clue what the movie was about, I told her that I agreed with everything she has said. She smiled at me and nodded, putting her hand on my arm. I almost fainted but again I did not utter a sound.
Two hours into the world of women and I was already letting them decide my opinions.
After her friends were gone I walked Melissa home. I fought the urge to pick up rocks along the way. I fought the urge to chase a lizard that crossed our path. I fought the urge to challenge her to race to her house. Instead, I walked by her side agreeing with what she was saying and not having a clue what she was talking about.
When it was finally over I ran home. It was the most miserable afternoon of my life. I was exhausted. I had wasted my lawn mowing money on a movie I did not remember. I would surely be the butt of jokes from my friends on Monday.
It was awful; and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
That spring afternoon I had my first experience of dating. There was no kiss. There was no ride home. There was no love exchanged. Instead, a young boy harnessed his wild spirit and for a few hours conformed to the world of the civilized female. Little did I know then that this afternoon was an omen of days to come.