School Days

My high school homeroom teacher, Mr. Barnes, had an alphabetical list of his students’ names, and he read from it as he took attendance on the first day of ninth grade. Due to the list being a poor copy, some of the names looked garbled.

“Ralph Nessman.”

“Here.”

“Tina Olivieri?”

“Here.”

“Tammy Ramos.”

“Here.”

“P… Princess… P… P… is it Peringtau?”

Everyone looked around the room.

“Princess Peringtau?” he called again, and there was no response.

When he finished his list, he asked if there was anyone who he didn’t call, and so I raised my hand, thinking I had really screwed up and got in the wrong homeroom.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Francis Remington.”

“Francis Remington... Francis Remington… Oh! Here it is. I thought it said Princess Peringtau.”

And after the laughter stopped, I had another new nickname: Princess. That only lasted a short time, however, because I was one of the biggest guys in the ninth grade.

High school started out rough for me, and it never got much better. I had classes with the worst teachers, the worst classmates, and I knew right away that I didn’t want to be there. Most of the teachers only cared about themselves and didn’t give a damn about the students. Some went through the motions of just writing everything they could on the blackboard while the students took notes, while others read aloud from the textbooks. And there were those who ruled with an iron fist, and if they were crossed, we would get more homework than usual.

There were student who showed up for classes without their books, without their homework, and even without paper and anything to write with. All they wanted to do was sit there and let the time pass. And when class was over, they hurried outside to sneak a cigarette.

I found old friends and made some new ones, but things just weren’t what I expected them to be. It could be because we were all teenagers, and hormones and glands were working overtime in our ever-changing bodies. And, of course, just like junior high school, many kids were put into a category. It was inevitable; I was a “jock.”

My high school years are but a blur to me anymore. There were good days and bad days, and the bad days seem to outnumber the good. I remember the day when I discovered that everything was removed from my locker. I turned the combination lock to left-26, right-2, left-36, and lifted the handle, only to find that it was empty; no coat, no books, no folders, no pens, no gym bag, nothing. It turned out that the vice-principal made a mistake and removed my things instead of Walter Roth’s things, who got expelled for smoking marijuana on the school grounds. I got my things back later in the day, but I felt naked going to some of my classes without any books, paper, pens, and homework assignments, like many of the “heads” did.

When I was a sophomore, Sam Valente accidentally spilled milk on the crotch of my tan corduroy pants, which made it look like I had had an accident of my own. Yeah, people laughed, but the worse part of the situation came later, when the milk turned sour. I smelled it for the rest of the day. Sam repeatedly apologized for the incident for the rest of high school.

Then there was the day when a sophomore, a big, stupid sophomore, dumped perfume on me on “Freshman Friday” thinking that I was a freshman. I was a junior. That was the first and only fight I ever had in school, but I was left stinking like someone’s Aunt Bertha from New Jersey for the rest of the day. Luckily, I never got in trouble for punching the kid in the face.

Freshman Friday was always the second Friday of the new school year, and all the freshmen had to watch out that an upperclassman didn’t throw flour in their hair, dump perfume on them, or worse. When I was a senior, there were a couple of freshmen that had their heads dunked in toilets and then the toilets were flushed. This prank is called a “swirly.” Though, I would never do that to someone, I still thought it was funny.

I played football all four years of high school, but our teams didn’t do very well. When I played during my senior year, we lost all but one game. We were the worst team in the league, and the scores were never even close. I was a linebacker and tackle, and I played whatever other positions the coach wanted me to play, depending on how badly we were being beaten.

I was also a wrestler, a very good wrestler in fact, and I won two All-County wrestling titles in my weight class during my junior and senior years. The only match I ever lost was to my friend Mike, and I actually let him beat me because he was one of those kids who was covered with pimples, and I didn’t want to touch them and have them popping and bleeding on me.

Academically, I became very lazy.

It started in the ninth grade. While I attended every class and did all my homework assignments, I would quickly lose interest in my classes and I rarely participated in class discussions or answered the teachers’ questions. I would stare out the windows while the teachers were lecturing, and I would doodle on my folders and notebooks instead of taking notes. Seeing my lack of interest, the teachers would call on me with questions, and I usually knew the answers, which surprised them.

“Eyes forward, Mr. Remington,” they would say when they saw my eyes drifting to places other than the front of the room.

After ninth grade, we could sign up for classes that interested us. It wasn’t just Algebra, English, Biology, and Social Studies anymore. Now we could take classes like Wood Craft, Metals Shop, Art, Typing, Auto Tech, Accounting, Home Economics, Fashion Design, and many others. So, when tenth grade started, I took English, Geometry, European History, Earth Science, Photography, German, Health, and I still played the trombone in the band. And, of course, I took phys ed. Everyone took phys ed except for those with medical problems, and Bruce McCarthy, who always seemed to have a written excuse from his mother. I don’t think I ever saw Bruce in gym shorts.

I had a lot of friends, and when we weren’t in classes, we spent a lot of time hanging out in the library or the cafeteria. We weren’t allowed to leave the building, and mandatory study hall didn’t come until after I graduated. So, when we weren’t in a class, we could do whatever we wanted, within reason, of course.

In the library, the place where everyone is supposed to be so quiet, there was more noise than anywhere else. People used to leave the library and study and do homework in the cafeteria or an empty classroom. My friends and I were part of the problem, however, because all we wanted to do was mess around and waste time until our next class. And we got kicked out of the library so many times that we probably still hold the record.

But halfway through tenth grade, I changed.

I met a girl.

Her name was Hannah Zimmerman. She was one of those cute, shy, and quiet girls who never seem to get noticed, always get good grades, and never have milk spilled on them.

She was beautiful. Hannah Blue Eyes I called her. She had the bluest and prettiest eyes I had ever seen, and were as blue as the bluest sky of a clear and bright autumn day. She had long, smooth, reddish-brown hair, which was so pretty, she could have starred in a shampoo commercial on TV. She sometimes wore her hair in a ponytail or a long braid in the back, and whenever she did, it drove me crazy. I just loved it when she wore her hair like that. And when she just wore it straight, it was so silky and clean and shiny and so pretty!

She was gentle, charming, kind, and sweet.

She was my best friend.

She was my first date, my first girlfriend, my first kiss, and my first love. And after a couple of years of knowing each other, we even spoke of marriage.

I still have a stack of love letters that she wrote to me, most of them on pink or light blue stationery, or school notebook paper. I used to get one or two, sometimes three a day in my school locker. I tried to keep up with her with letters of my own, but I failed miserably. She did get a bunch from me, however, but not like the bunch I got from her.

We were both just 15-year-old kids when we met. She still had the face and the body of a young teen when I first knew her, but I watched her develop into a beautiful young woman, physically and mentally.

I met her in band practice when we were in tenth grade. I played the trombone and she played the French horn. Because we had assigned seats, we sat next to each other at every practice. And if I was any better at the trombone, I probably would have been a seat or two further from her, and, perhaps, never would have known her at all.

When I first saw her I couldn’t get over how cute she was. In the beginning, we would just talk a little bit now and then, but we quickly became friends. Then, I would enter the band room and look to see if she was there, and our eyes would meet, and her face would light up, and I could feel my face become warm and flush.

Whenever there was a break during practice, I did my best to make her giggle. She had big, cute dimples whenever she smiled, and her smile was one of the best things about her.

Outside of band practice, we shared a class or two, sometimes ate lunch together or sat together in the library. We always had a lot of fun when we were together, and I like to think that I was responsible for her coming out of her shell, as one might say, and becoming more outgoing and social.

Before one of the school dances, I asked her if she was going.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “I really don’t know anyone who’s going.”

“I don’t know anyone who’s going either,” I said, my heart beating fast and hard. “But if you want, we can go together.”

“Okay. Sure,” she said, her smile reducing me to mush.

I had never asked such a thing of any girl, so I was quite glad that she said yes and I didn’t have to deal with the awkwardness and heartache of rejection.

And so we went.

After I ate supper that evening, I put on my best corduroy pants, a nice shirt, my good shoes, and I combed my hair.

“Goodbye Mom and Dad,” I said.

“Oh, don’t you look nice,” said Mom. “You look like our little prince.”

“Thanks, Mom,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“But aren’t you going too wear your good suit and a tie?” she asked.

“No, Mom,” I said. “People don’t wear suits to these things. If I did, I’d be the only one there wearing suit!”

“He’s okay, Dear,” said Dad, as he handed me a sawbuck. “He looks fine.”

“Do you need a ride, Honey?” Mom asked.

“No thanks. We’re gonna walk.”

“Are you sure? It’s a chilly night.”

“Yes, I’m sure.” I said. Besides, I wanted to try and be alone with my beautiful princess.

“Be careful and have fun,” Mom said.

“Keep your zipper up,” my dad said as I closed the door behind me. It was the only advice he gave me. I didn’t really know what he was talking about it first, but then it dawned on me that he was telling me not to engage in anything that was normally reserved for married people.

In those days, if we turned down a ride from mom and dad, we usually rode our bikes or walked to where we were going, so I walked to Hannah’s house to pick her up.

It was a chilly February evening, and the moon and the stars were out.

I rang her doorbell and she answered the door almost instantly. She looked great. Though, I don’t remember what she wore, I do remember that her hair was in a braid. I was invited in for a short moment, and I met her cranky parents for the first time. Immediately, I was lectured by her father and learned that the family was devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I was told that they dreaded when the day would come when their daughter might go off to some event and be tempted to dance, or some other “evil” thing. I didn’t say a word as I was told of their ways and what they believed, and I barely remembered a thing that I was told.

I was told to have her home by midnight, and we were finally able to leave.

From her house we walked to the school.

“I don’t understand. What’s a Jehovah’s Witness?” I asked. It was the first time I ever heard such a thing.

“It’s our religion,” she said. “We used to be Lutheran, but my parents met these people that my dad works with and they sort of converted them.”

“And they don’t let you dance?” I asked.

“No.”

“That’s weird,” I said.

But Hannah just wanted to be a regular girl and do what all the other girls did. And so, when we got to the school, she danced with me. We danced two or three times, and only to the slower songs. I don’t really know if one can call it dancing, as all we did was hold each other and rocked back and forth slowly, shifting our weight from one leg to the other.

We met up with many of our friends and we all hung out together.

The dance was lame. There was a DJ playing records, soda pop, cookies, and pretzels, and whatever we could buy from the vending machines in the cafeteria. And, if we wanted, we could play volleyball in the gym. But the best part was hanging out with a bunch of friends on a Friday night.

After the dance, a mob of us walked to the local fast-food restaurant for hamburgers and milkshakes. We had a blast.

Then I walked her home. It was just the two of us, and we held hands on the way. That was special. But our bare hands became chilled during the long walk home, so we alternated between holding each other’s hand and warming them in out coat pockets.

The way to her house was dark and quiet. Traffic on the roads was sparse and the walk would have been scary and dangerous for her if she was alone.

Before we got to her house, we stopped at the corner of her street. There was no one around, it was quiet, and it was a beautiful night. The waxing moon was spoiled by the lofty tops of some pine trees.

We stood on the curb and talked for awhile beneath the beam of a streetlight. That was when the streetlights were still white and not orange, like most of them are now. We never raised our voices to more than a loud whisper, the whole time holding hands and keeping each other’s hands warm.

And then there came a moment, a moment when she wasn’t talking, and I wasn’t talking, and we looked at each other tenderly and anxiously. Her eyes sparkled. Our hands were getting hot. Our faces slowly grew closer together. Our breath turned to a white vapor between us as we exhaled. We both hesitated. And then I quickly leaned in enough until our young and eager lips met, and we finally kissed our first kiss. Needless to say, our lips were very strong and limber from playing our musical instruments.

I compare that moment to what it would be like to pull the fire alarm at the school: the excitement of the possibility of getting caught, mingled with the exhilaration and the thrill of all the bells and whistles.

When we stopped for a moment, I looked into her bright, blue eyes and…I was in love. She smiled. The moment was magical. I kissed her again, and again, and once more.

Sadly, I had to have her home by midnight. Or maybe it was 11:00. I forget.

From that evening on, I had a girlfriend. I was her boyfriend, her peer, her confidant, her protector. We were “going steady,” a term that was used regularly then, but certainly seems to be outdated now. And we were one of the few couples in school whose relationship lasted more than a few months.

Each time I kissed her, it was like I was kissing her for very the first time. Each time was more special than the last. And whenever I held her hand, it felt like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting together perfectly.

We had so much in common, and we liked the same kinds of things; music, TV shows, history. She was great. And when we had any sort of disagreement, we never argued, we worked it out peacefully, like adults.

Her parents didn’t exactly care for me, however. We could both tell. We never really knew why. It could have been that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and I was a Catholic. Because of them, we would often meet in the woods behind her house, no matter what the season was, and it became our special place. I would call her up, tell her I was on my way over, and before I arrived, she would leave her house and go into the woods and wait for me. I lived a little over a mile away and it took about 20 minutes to get there. And when we met, we would make out for a little while on the trunk of an old, fallen tree.

We were inseparable. In school, we scheduled our classes together whenever we could. We always ate lunch together, something that we looked forward to everyday. We roamed the halls together, studied together in the library, and we even got detention together once for laughing too loudly in the hallway.

Though, it was out of my way, I would often walk her home. There were times when I would give her a ride home on my bike. Other times one of my parents and I would stop by and pick her up or drop her off with the car. Neither of us took a school bus.

On the weekends, we would go to the mall, the movies, or just hang out together, usually at my house.

My whole family, all ten of us, adored her, but we were sure that her parents disliked me. Her younger brothers didn’t seem to approve of me either. She called her brothers Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, after the two characters from the Alice In Wonderland story, due to their roly-poly physiques.

Things were great between us. Though, I hated high school, she made going everyday seem worthwhile. We both got decent grades, and we both made honor roll each quarter. But without Hannah there, I don’t know what would have become of me.

We went to other school dances, sporting events, a play or two, and we played in the concerts together. She watched me play football on Fridays or Saturdays, and she sometimes watched me at practice. She came to my wrestling matches and rooted for me. We helped each other with homework, and we encouraged each other to try different things. With that, we took the same ceramics class together, and I was one of only two guys in the class. When I took photography classes, she was often my subject, and the photos that I still have of her are something to behold.

In January of 1977, I got my driver’s license. I was sixteen going on seventeen. I had my permit for about five months before I signed up for my driving test, but my dad felt that I was ready to try for my license. Luckily, I passed the test on the first try, and a couple of weeks later I got my license in the mail. It was cool to have a driver’s license back then, but it was even cooler to have a car. This is what I lacked.

In February, we were informed that there was little money in our class treasury to help offset the price of the tickets to our junior prom, so we were told tickets would be about thirty dollars a couple, which was a heck of a lot of money in those days. And that didn’t even include dinner. Add the cost of a rented tuxedo, a prom dress, dinner for two, and flowers, the cost of the prom was astronomical. We all wanted something that was more affordable, but we were told that a deposit was already made to a particular party house, and it was impossible to back out of the deal.

There was very little time to raise any money, and there would have to be a whole lot of money raised to bring down the cost of the tickets. While the freshmen, sophomore, and senior classes were all out raising money by washing cars, selling candy bars, and even having little carnivals to raise money for their class, the juniors did absolutely nothing. And now we were to pay for it… literally.

There was talk of somehow having a second, more affordable prom somewhere else, but that idea never materialized. Instead, the majority of the class of 1978 protested by not going, and my girlfriend Hannah was instrumental in leading this protest. From one of the art teachers, she obtained paper and paint to make signs. She mustered friends and other classmates to paint them, and she and I posted them all over the school. “Boycott The Junior Prom!” “No Prom!” “Fun, Not Profit!” “Prom-miss!” were what some of the signs said.

In the end, the prom was a bust. About two dozen couples went. That’s twenty-four couples out of a class of over three hundred and fifty people. And as a result, there was no band that played, and there were no hors d'oeuvres served, just some softdrinks, snacks, and the use of the party house. Those that did go were called scabs behind their backs. But they had suffered enough by attending what was dubbed as “The Prom That Never Was.”

The disappointment of not attending the prom was somewhat overshadowed by the unity of the protest, and we were glad that our efforts made such an impact. But ultimately, there were no winners, and all we did was make the prom miserable for those who did attend.

There were rumors that money had to be borrowed to pay for the remainder of what was owed to the party house, as it was their gripe that another school could have used the facility. And when the school administrators considered punishing all that were involved in making the prom such a failure, they quickly changed their minds when they discovered that 95% of the juniors were involved. Instead, they worked to see that such a thing didn’t happen again.

When we became seniors, the entire senior class government was replaced with competent students. Hannah was asked to run for an office, but she declined, saying that she didn’t want the responsibility. I was also asked to run, but it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do.

The new student government got an early start on fund-raising activities by selling snacks at football and soccer games. And it snowballed from there. With classmates wearing sports jerseys and the cheerleaders wearing their outfits, we held car washes at local gas stations. There were 50/50 raffles every week, and were announced every morning on the PA system. There was a dance marathon, a rope-jumping marathon, sock hops, mini carnivals, and even a kissing booth in the cafeteria. Though, such a thing would be frowned upon these days, the kissing booth brought in as much money in an hour as other fundraisers combined. And, yes, I did work in the kissing booth.

In the cafeteria, some tables were set aside. From 11:30 to 12:30, any willing senior, guy or girl, would stand behind the tables, and for fifty cents, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and even seniors alike, were allowed to kiss the senior of his or her choice on the cheek, or could have the senior kiss him or her on the cheek. And sometimes, when business slacked off and was kind of slow, for the last ten minutes of the day, the deal was sweetened to one kiss for a quarter.

The kissing booth thing took place every Friday for two months and the student council always asked me to take part.

“Biff, the kissing booth on Friday. You in?”

“Yeah, but only if Hannah does it with me.”

And she did. How could we turn down our classmates?

Anyway, it was fun, and the lines of kids wanting and willing to kiss the guy or girl that they admired sometimes stretched halfway across the cafeteria, and the event drew crowds of spectators.

The kybosh was put on the kissing booth when somebody’s parents complained. The principal’s integrity was questioned, but he saw no harm in what we did, and there was always a teacher or administrator there to oversee the whole thing in case someone decided to kiss somebody on the lips. These days, however, we’d all be arrested for sexual assault and statutory rape, and psychiatrists would be brought in to evaluate all who were involved, and counselors would be brought in to counsel, evaluate, and console those who watched.

When the time of the Senior Ball approached, Hannah asked me, “Are you going to ask me to the ball?”

I guess I just figured that we were going together and I didn’t need to ask her.

“Yeah. Sure.”

“Well?” she waited.

“Will you go to the prom with me, Hannah?” I asked.

“Yes, I will,” she said. “Joe Polumbo asked me and I didn’t know what to say.”

“Joe Polumbo?” I snapped, “Why would he ask you? He knows we’re together!”

Joe Polumbo was a jock who played all the sports he possibly could: basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming... Joe was an okay guy, but he had a reputation for his stinky armpits and bad breath.

Then there came what they called Sadie Hawkins Day, where the girls who hadn’t been asked to the ball yet were encouraged to ask a boy to go with her. And though they knew that Hannah and I were a couple, two girls took a chance and asked me anyway: Mary Jo Abbott and Katrina Ready. And if I wasn’t already going with Hannah, I would have liked to go with Katrina. She was like Hannah in many ways; cute, smart, and kept a low profile. But Katrina had something that Hannah and I didn’t have: a car. I don’t remember if any of those girls ever ended up going to the ball, but I hope they did.

Tickets to the ball were only five bucks per person, ten bucks per couple, and included hors d'oeuvres, buffet style dinner, soft drinks, and a live band to dance to at a nice party house. This low price reflected our great success at raising money, from all of our hard work washing cars, selling tickets to sock hops, 50/50 raffles, and the difficult work in the kissing booth. We were all very pleased and proud of ourselves.

I rented a light-blue tuxedo, which was fashionably acceptable at the time. The tux fit me okay when I tried it on in the store. The pants were long enough, and the jacket was roomy and just right. But I never tried the shirt, and as I put it on for the first time I realized that it was a bit snug, just snug enough to make me uncomfortable.

I borrowed my parents’ car for the evening. I got the lecture about not speeding, not following other cars too close, not drinking any alcohol, and not having an accident. Plus, I was told to go right home after I dropped Hannah off. I promised them that I would be careful and smart.

Before I left home, my mom made sure to take a couple of photos with the old Polaroid camera. Then Mom insisted that I bring Hannah back to our house for more photos of us together.

Picking Hannah up at her house, I rang the doorbell…twice, and waited for what seemed like hours for someone to answer. Mr. Zimmerman finally let me in, with Mrs. Zimmerman closely behind him. They looked me over disapprovingly, and I was never invited to sit down or enter the house any further than the tile floor by the door. I stood there awkwardly as I endured the severe discomfort of having to make the most menial chitchat imaginable as we all waited for Hannah to come down the stairs. My bowtie seemed to be getting tighter and tighter as I grappled for something more to say to the two, as the topic of how nice the weather had been was worn to a frazzle.

Finally, I looked up the stairs and saw Hannah descending, being careful not to tumble in the white high-heeled shoes she was unaccustomed to wearing. She wore a pretty white dress with light-blue trim, which matched my tuxedo almost perfectly. A white shawl draped her shoulders, and she had her hair pinned up, which was an entirely different look for her, but looked absolutely wonderful. And the string of pearls around her neck completed the ensemble nicely. She was beautiful, and I told her so.

I handed her a nosegay of little white and pink roses, and she went to the kitchen to retrieve the boutonniere that she got for me. Then we spent the next five minutes trying to pin the thing onto my lapel, when I would much rather have forgotten about it and gotten out of there.

When we were finally done, I expected that her parents wanted to take some photos, but they didn’t. Perhaps that, too, was against their religion.

We said goodbye, and I was told to have her back home by midnight, “Or else!” I thought that midnight was a tad too early for anyone’s special night, but Hannah didn’t argue, and it wasn’t my place to say anything.

Finally, we were in the car and on our way. We stopped at my house for a couple of quick snapshots. My mother fussed over how nice we both looked, how cute of a couple we were, but we had to be on our way.

The ball was held at a local party house. We had no idea what the night had in store for us, but we were both very excited about it.

Once we arrived, we saw our friends and classmates all dressed up. I parked the car, helped her out of it, and then I escorted her inside as she clutched my elbow, meeting others as we made our way in.

We had professional photos taken once we got inside. We stood beneath a flowery arbor and held each other as we smiled. I saw the photos once about a month later, and we looked nice together. Sadly, I didn’t get any of these photos for myself. Hannah, however, got a couple of eight-by-tens.

We had a buffet dinner of roast beef, chicken, pasta, green bean casserole, tossed salad, and some rolls. Everything tasted like it came out of a can, even the rolls. Many complained that the beef was too fatty and undercooked, the pasta was dry and hard, the rolls were stale, and everything was cold. We were all disappointed. Later, there was cake, and that was stale too.

Then there was a lot of dancing, and later a King and Queen of the Ball were elected. I forget who won, but it wasn’t us. I’m sure that Hannah was a close second, though. She was the prettiest girl there, after all.

We danced several times, usually to the slow songs, but we weren’t much for dancing, so we sat around and talked to friends.

And that was about all there was to the ball. I was disappointed. I thought that there would be more to it, but I didn’t know what. The best thing about the whole night, however, was being with Hannah. The second best thing about the whole night was the people telling me that I was lucky to be with such a pretty girl, or telling us that we were such a cute couple.

We left the ball at 11:30 because I had to have Hannah home before the clock struck twelve, and her parents turned into goblins or something. We were invited to a couple “after ball” parties with some of our friends, but, sadly, I had a deadline to make, and I had to get the car home.

We were both reluctant to leave the ball so soon, but we knew that there was nothing we could do.

Before we got to her house, however, I pulled the car into a dark and vacant church parking lot.

“What are we doing here?” she asked.

“Well, I figure that I probably wont be able to kiss you goodnight once I get you house, so I think we should do it now,” I explained. “What do you think?”

“Good idea,” she said. “Besides, aren’t you going to take off my garter?”

“What?”

“My garter,” she said, “You’re supposed to take it off.”

“What garter?”

She hiked up her dress and showed it to me on her thigh. I had never seen one until that night, and it was still unclear why I was supposed to take it off. At the ball, I saw guys wearing garters on their arms, but I didn’t know what they were and why they were wearing them. You see, this is one of those things that if nobody tells you, you don’t know.

We didn’t speak anymore as she put her soft lips to mine. We kissed like we had never kissed before, and before I knew it, I had taken her garter off of her smooth and sexy leg.

“Did you have fun tonight?” she asked.

“I guess so,” I said. “I expected that there would be something else to it, but I don’t know what.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“We dressed up, we ate, we danced, and we talked to people that we see almost everyday. I just expected something more.”

“Like what?” she asked.

“I don’t really know,” I said. “It’s supposed to be such a memorable time, but, besides being here with you, there really wasn’t anything that was so outstanding that this day will go down into history.”

“I think I see what you mean. But I had a good time, and I’m glad I could spend it with you,” she said.

Then we went back to kissing, which was the other best part of the whole night.

But I had to cut our make out session short to get her home on time.

As we approached her house, I saw her father looking out the living room picture window, obviously looking for us. Moments later, Mrs. Zimmerman was looking out the window too. Hannah pretended not to notice and she didn’t say a thing. I think she was embarrassed about the whole thing and so I pretended like it didn’t bother me. Instead, I gave her parents something to see. I shut off the car, got out and opened her car door, and then I helped her out. At that time I thought of taking the garter out of my pocket and wearing it on my head, but I decided not to risk getting her in trouble. But what I did do probably had them hating me even more. Before Hannah could take one step toward her house, I picked her up and carried her all the way to her doorstep.

“What are you doing?” she said, laughing all the way. I had to keep from laughing myself or I could have dropped her.

“There! You’re home before midnight, Cinderella,” I said, loud enough for her parents to hear. “Now you won’t turn into a pumpkin.”

Hannah giggled, trying to cover my mouth with her hand. I set her down on the step.

“Thank you for going to the ball with me, Cinderella. I had a wonderful time.”

“Thank you, Prince Charming,” she replied, playing along. “I had a wonderful time too.”

“Goodnight, Cinderella!” I said, bowing down to kiss her hand.

“Goodnight, Prince Charming!” she said. “Call me tomorrow!”

I walked backwards to the car, blowing kisses and being as silly as possible as her parents watched. Once I was in the car, I could see the three of them in the living room window. Hannah waved to me as her parents just stood there, their arms folded, and their scowling faces evidence that they were not amused by our playful antics.

In return, I presented them with an adolescent sneer. Then I waved back at Hannah and tooted the car horn as I pulled away.

I was glad but disappointed that the night was over, that the night of my Senior Ball was over, but I couldn’t wait to get home and take that stupid tuxedo off. And I got the notion to go to one of the after ball parties that I was invited to, but I had to get the car home.

Hannah told me the next day that her parents were wondering why I didn’t kiss her on the lips.

© 2011 Biff Remington, Model Citizen - 9/18/11


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