One night last week, as I blew my nose, applied eye-liner around my red eyes and popped two Sudafed while getting dressed to go to what would probably be a noisy and crowded cocktail party, I thought to myself, “Why on earth am I going to this thing when I have such a bad cold? Why don’t I just stay home?” And yet it seemed that I must go. A party always holds promise.
Suddenly I had a flashback: I am in the 7th grade, and Bert Richards--the hottest guy in the 8th grade (the bluest eyes, the deepest voice, the coolest friends)--has asked me to a Valentine’s Day dance. For this special night, I had bought, on sale at Hutzlers, a brand new outfit. A swingy skirt and matching top with long flowy sleeves, made out of black rayon with little white and orange flowers. It was an “ensemble” (my mother’s word) which made me look older, showing off my curvier-than-average 13-year-old figure.
And then, disaster! The day before I have a scratchy throat. By the time the night of the dance arrives I have a stuffed up nose and a 101 degree temperature. But when I beg and cry and tell my mother how it is the most important night of my life, she hesitates, worries and then--miraculously--lets me go. She gives me a Sudafed, two aspirin and an early curfew, and sends me out with the handsome and exciting Bert Richards.
Many people would say she shouldn’t have done this--that a good mother would have been stern and put me to bed. But I will never forget how much I wanted to go to that dance. And it didn’t kill me, did it? I still remember dancing and laughing to “Mama Told me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night. I swayed and twirled in my sexy rayon matching skirt and top. At the end of the night Bert Richards kissed me with an exotic taste I would later recognize as cigarette smoke.
Of course I spent the next two days sick in bed, and Bert eventually dumped me for Cynthia somebody. But I’m telling you that was one great dance. Thanks, Mom.