Monday, March 22nd, 2010
Spring is here! And so are teenage traumas.
Spring is here! Birds are singing; days are elongating; and prom dresses are hanging on the department store racks once again. Yes, I can always tell it’s spring by the prom dresses. When I know spring has come, when I finally see those prom dresses—those frilly tents o’ tulle and chiffon—hanging haughtily on the department store racks once again, I think back to my high school dance experiences. I think back to the one time I got asked to Homecoming by the great and terrible Lucas Lumbrugdelia IV.
Lucas and I were both freshman and played in the school band together. I played flute; he played saxophone. In general, brass-playing males are an attractive bunch (the horn is an alpha-male instrument and shows off the masculine curve of the bicep), but Lucas was definitely the one exception to the attractive brass-player rule. He literally had a hunched back (bless his heart), a mad mop of red hair, countless freckles and an overall awkwardness to top it off. Discounting maybe my own biological father, there couldn’t have been anyone I would have been more mortified to go with to Homecoming.
Lucas popped the question to me a week before the dance, just after one of our boring band rehearsals. I was walking out of the band room, flute in hand, when I felt his awkward presence come up behind me. He was cumbersomely carrying his saxophone, and the staccato stuttering of his steps, baritone banging of his backpack and cymbalic clashing his saxophone case made when it hit the side of his leg all combined to create a sort of nails-on-the-chalkboard orchestration in my head. I looked straight ahead, purposefully ignoring him and the annoying symphony, and walked faster, faster; but he didn’t relent. Using his long, gangly, freckled legs to gain some ground, he pulled up beside me and took a deep breath. I knew what was coming (I knew by then that he liked me, that he was going to ask me), but I kept on pretending he wasn’t there, kept on looking straight ahead. Acting as if no eye contact or general acknowledgment of the other person is necessary in starting a conversation, he proceeded to unashamedly blurt out—
“Hey, Megan Michelle, are you going to Homecoming?”
Still looking straight ahead, I replied with a vague, “Ummm, I’m not sure.”
Capitalizing upon the vagueness, he quickly said, “Well, would you like to go with me?”
By the time that line was out, I was beet red and walking faster than most people jog.
I should have let him down gently. I should have said, “Oh, Lucas, that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever asked me, but I really don’t think I can say yes to you. I wouldn’t be any fun, and there are so many other girls who would love to go with you.” Yes, I should have just lied and said something sweet, but I was Megan Michelle, and Megan Michelle doesn’t believe in sugar-coating or burying truths; so instead, I said:
That’s it. I just said, “Naaahhhh,” like a sheep, like a sheep says, “Naaahhhh.”
I said it as I literally sprinted up the stairs to my Algebra class and left him standing alone in the middle of the hallway with that answer, and that answer alone, ringing in both of our ears.
When I think back on it now, I feel kind of bad. When I see those frilly prom dresses now, I feel kind of bad. When spring arrives, I think of dear Lucas Lumbrugdelia IV, of boys who risk it all, who only get a sheep’s bleat in return for their hearts; and I say a prayer, a blessing for all of the poor, pubescent peoples out there who are treading tenaciously through their own teenage traumas:
“May the Lord God Zeusisiah bless you and keep you, Traumatized Teenagers! May He make His face shine down upon you, Poor Pubescent Peoples, and give you grace and/or peace!”