Here I am with my first prom date.
It turns out I was the only girl he DIDN’T kiss.
I’d had a crush on him from afar.
He was one of my closest high school girlfriend’s older brother.
Let’s call him. Mike. Because that was his name.
Mike’s hair feathered perfectly. Even wearing his braces, I wanted to kiss him.
He was my favorite boy to try to drown in my girlfriend’s swimming pool.
He called me by the sexiest, most provocative, most desirable nickname.
Which was my last name.
But when he said it, as in, “Bradley! Why don’t you stop your yammering?!”, my heart beat out of my chest.
Years went by.
Two of them. In which I pined for him from a distance.
Having to satisfy myself with the charley horses’s he bestowed upon me, knuckle-punching me in the shoulder when we played a pick-up game of basketball. I reciprocated by kneeing him in the groin.
The sexual tension was palpable.
He never asked me out. Even though he was the only boy my dad hadn’t terrified, by casually cleaning his gun in front him.
(Let us not forget my future prom date, who moved to Nicaragua under the assumed name of Poncho Libre after my dad — oiling his Ruger 10/22 — caught me sneaking home with him from a jaccuuzi tryst at 2 a.m.)
In fact, Mike frequently came over JUST TO SEE MY DAD!
He’d walk in my house and say, “Where’s your dad?”
“In his bedroom,” I’d reply, which was tantamount to telling Mike he was Saddam Hussein in his spider hole aka dangerous and best left alone.
Mike would just waltz right back there and watch TV with my dad. The two of them sitting on the master bed.
What. The. Shmazolee?
So imagine the thrill I had when I could not, for the life of me, purloin a date to my sophomore prom and Mike asked me.
I believe he said, “Hey Bradley, if you want to go to prom I’ll take you.”
I thought seriously about having that sentence tattooed on my coccyx.
I don’t remember much about the actual prom; car ride, dancing, eating et. al. What I do remember is standing just outside my house after the prom saying goodnight to Mike.
The setting was perfect.
A flickering/guttering streetlight lit the scene a la the moment when Michael Meyers was going to eviscerate Jamie Lee Curtis on the street in the first Halloween.
My neighbor, Antonio, roaring by in his jacked up El Camino screaming, “Do it in the road!”
My father not exiting the house carrying any kind of weapon.
I waited, armpits sweating, chest heaving, lips puckering for the most romantic kiss of my life (i.e. the 2nd kiss of my life).
My eyelids became sensuously heavy, lashes batting incendiar-ily, until my eyes couldn’t stay open a moment longer. I was ready.
I was still ready.
What the hell was taking him so long?! I opened my eyes. Mike stared at me quizzically, as if I’d suddenly become a mutant troglodyte.
“Bradley, go inside. I gotta make sure you get in safe or your dad’ll kill me.”
“Of course, it’s not like I was waiting for you to kiss me, because we’re friends and that would be weird and I’m going inside to cry as I eat six bowls of Count Chocula. So thanks.”
“Yeah, thanks, Bradley. That wasn’t so bad.”
I could have lived with that. It would’ve been okay. Because he took all of his sister’s friends to dances over the next couple of years. Viv. Kris. Tammy. Others I don’t really remember.
Obviously, he didn’t want to complicate his young life with the high-tension drama romance could incite. He just didn’t need all of that headache in high school. I admired him, actually.
Then came my 30th high school reunion.
All of Mike’s dance dates sat around a circular table, reminiscing about high school in general, and our dance dates with Mike in particular. And guess what?
He kissed all of them. Every single one of them. Except me.
It’s a blow, I’ll admit. I’m malingering a little.
But, I’m hoping to set things straight when my eldest goes to her prom. She will wear a better dress than I wore.
I’ll invite Mike to chaperone alongside me, so he can rue the day he didn’t tap this: