My 14-year-old cousin Christopher had his friends over. This is when it happened – the worst thing that could happen to a girl, a striking inescapable feeling that was never to leave. It was happening...I was beginning to like boys.
His name was Dusty. He had blond curly hair. Although my face was burning and my heart was racing, I had to be near him. This new feeling I had was awful. I thought I liked boys before, but somehow this was different. It was like an addiction now. Everywhere I went, I had to find one and stare, stare at the backs of their heads and daydream about our future life together. I always seemed to choose the altar boys at mass. I would watch them. I felt like they knew.
To me, even scarier than liking a boy was one liking me back. So this Halloween tale is really the tale of when I became trapped in the prison known as liking the male gender, though it didn’t happen precisely on Halloween. (My cousin Pat abandoned my 9-year-old cousin Andrew and me to trick-or-treat with the dorky neighbor kid. Andrew didn’t really have a costume so he told the old ladies that he was a bum.)
On my 13th Halloween, I had what I thought was this great idea of being my mom. I am not sure what I was thinking, maybe that I was insanely clever, but no one seemed to understand. I was already over the holiday. I felt too old and not cute enough to trick-or-treat but I went anyway.
My mom is a pretty well-known real-estate agent in my hometown of Lincoln, NE. I found the shoulder-padded red blazer in the closet, got myself a white turtleneck, and blew up my mom’s face on our scanner. My friend Lucy and I had done a little trick-or-treating in the evening, but there was talk of going to Denny’s Halloween party.
I feared this. Jason had already had the first boy-girl party, where I had one dance with a boy a foot shorter than I was. During that first dance, I searched around anxiously above his head, then asked, “Where did you go?” Anything to lighten up this sorry picture. I had deemed this party: failure.
Lucy decided that we were going to Denny's anyway. It was down in the basement and everyone was crammed in. There was loud music and loud people. I already wanted to leave. And Joe was there.