Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"What are you going to wear? Your Soffe shorts and girls' camp T-shirt? So hot!"
"No, Mom. Nobody dresses up. That's what Grace says, anyway."
"So what are you going to wear then?"
"I don't know. Whatever."
Unlike me, Hannah doesn't worry about what she's going to wear. With hair and a smile like hers, she could wear an orange construction cone and still look stunning. I, on the other hand, disguise my ugly with a new article of clothing, usually a shirt. I feel twenty times more confident when I'm wearing something new.
"Let's go to Forever 21 and get a new shirt," I said. She agreed. But after five minutes of looking, Hannah, who hates shopping, said "Let's just go."
"No way! You're getting something new. I don't want you to forget tonight, your first dance! Can you even believe it?" I insisted.
She shrugged and said, "I'll stand in line while you pick something out." I grabbed a shirt off the rack holding the fitting room rejects. I walked to where Hannah was standing, waving the shirt around. "What about an accessory? Accessories make the outfit, right? I said. "Hurry, run, go get earrings or something to match." She came back dangling a floral enamel key, hanging from a long gold chain. "This is so me, Mom." We piled the two items on the counter, paid the cashier, and were on our way.
"We have to curl your hair and pluck your eyebrows when we get home. Plucking your eyebrows is priority #1; they are killing me. Does it not bug you to see all those hairs poking outside of you brow line?"
"No, it doesn't bother me. That's why the hairs are all still there," she said, rolling her eyes.
As the late afternoon turned to evening, she started fidgeting: playing the piano one minute, then reapplying lip gloss mid-song, then up from the bench to the fridge to grab a handful of chocolate chips. Her nerves had her scattered.
"What's the matter?" I said.
Mom, I don't know how to dance with a boy. Like, where do my hands go?"
"Well first, you always let the boy ask; let him come to you. When he does ask..."
Bryce, overhearing our conversation and seeing my pathetic stand-in as a boy, interrupted our dance lesson. He invited Hannah to join him on the living room floor. "This is how you dance with a boy," he said, while extending his hand toward her.
Pulling her close and placing her left hand on his shoulder, his left hand on her waist, he continued, "Let the boy lead. Boys don't know how to lead anymore, but give him a chance. Follow his moves and just relax; be yourself. Talk about school, his family, music...
His voice trailed off as he turned. Standing at the carpet's edge, I watched as her anxiety melted into laughter as the two of them turned round and round. He could always calm her in ways I never could.
As the dancing lesson ended he said, "I will buy you a longboard if you take a picture of the first boy who asks you to dance tonight. I want to know all about him."
"Really," he said, smiling. Send me his picture as soon as the dance ends.
She sent him the picture, and when she returned home, we asked for all the details: How did he ask? How was his breath? What did you talk about?
She gave us the scoop, "He just walked up and said, while holding out his hand, 'May I have this dance?'"
"May I have this dance?" I repeated, giggling. That's so old-fashioned, but totally polite. " OK, keep going. What else?"
"I don't know. It was fine. Whatever, you know?"
"Has Dad ordered the longboard yet?"
at 11:15 AM