My first time at a High School Dance
I went alone.
Me, the new girl at the high school who
Hadn't quite found her sea legs yet
Who slipped behind
Forgotten, as the crew sailed through
Hallways and lunch lines
Always stuck on the outside,
I went alone,
But someone did ask me.
A boy in the Junior class
Who was missing a forearm
Asked me if I'd like to be his date.
I said “yes”
But he warned me he might skip
The dance entirely and
Go to Worlds of Fun instead.
I didn't care,
I was ecstatic someone
Had finally asked me, or
Even noticed me
At the end of the day
He walked me to the front
Doors where my
Mom was waiting to pick me up. I wasn’t
Sure if he liked me, or if he just was
Being nice. He never did ask me
For my phone number, so I assumed he
Was merely being nice.
The night of the dance came,
And we had not discussed any details
Or even spoken to one another since.
So I assumed he would be riding roller coasters
Rather than slow dancing with me.
I didn't blame him, really. I wasn't hot stuff and
Neither were Christian high school dances.
At the dance, I tried to enjoy myself
But I felt so out of place
Surrounded by people
Who had known each other their entire lives.
I was a sea monster,
Begging to be taken aboard
As they readied their harpoons.
The night dragged on, and the music grew louder
And I sunk lower and lower.
It occurred to me that the pit of pulsating teenagers
Might swallow me
And I'd disappear once and for all
So I pulled off my heels and sat
On the stage at the front of the room.
I could feel the beat of the music
Bounce around the inside of my rib cage.
The room seemed to grow bigger
And I felt smaller.
Like a faint wave lost in
A sea of bodies
Going whichever way the current pulled them.
And while I sat there on the stage by myself
In my fluffy green homecoming dress,
Watching people I didn't really know dance
I realized it was possible
To feel alone in a room flooded with people.
So I shut my eyes,
Watertight portholes to the soul,
And let myself drift off at sea.