My mom was very happy that I had a date. Her health was not improving. As I understood it, at this point her cancer had spread to her bones and maybe her eyes. The details were vague and I was expected to contribute at home, lay low, and I felt like people wanted me to stay out of the way.
The Dude and I continued regular phone calls. On the day of the dance, I got beautified at my friend Tammy’s house. We did our own hair and makeup and we both borrowed dresses from her glamorous mom.
Mine was stunning peach silk, strapless, tea length, drop waist number with a bow of the same fabric prominent on the waistline, large rhinestones adding extra flair on the knot of the bow. I went back to Bakers for the ever-important matching shoe and purse dye combination.
I felt beautiful and headed home where The Dude would be picking me up. My mom was in the hospital for what I only knew were cancer complications. I would finally meet The Dude in person and see if he was as cute as he sounded.
My older sister secured the boutonniere to match my peach dress. My dad had the camera ready and there would be extra pictures taken for my mom to see.
The doorbell rang. I held my breath and opened the door. The Dude was as cute as he sounded. Breathless, I invited him in and walked through the house to get his boutonniere from the refrigerator. I was so excited for the promise of this night. I opened the fridge, grabbed the flower box, and peered inside.
Inside the box was a fresh giant white carnation and tucked into the exact center was a delicate peach rosebud. The boutonniere looked exactly, I mean exactly, like a boob. In a panic, I called my sister into the kitchen and demanded an explanation for this breast I was to pin on my super cute date’s lapel. She was also surprised as she hadn’t examined the flower boob when she picked it up. Through our panic, we were stifling our laughter. I was grateful for her efforts and knew it was really time to test The Dude’s sense of humor.
As I pinned it on, I quietly apologized and he just laughed and went with it. What a relief. It appeared as though my blind date was indeed nice, funny, and cute. As I floated to his car, I waved at my dad and in a not quiet voice, we both heard my dad say, “Well, they’re off like a prom dress.” The Dude grabbed my hand and laughed some more. We drove to meet up with the rest of our group and were served champagne. What a night this was shaping up to be.
The Dude and I continued to hit it off. We piled into taxis to transport us to prom, and in the backseat of that cab, The Dude turned his gorgeous face towards mine and kissed me.
I’m talking about a real, passionate, kiss. An actual unsolicited kiss before we even got to the dance. In my eighteen-year-old mind, every missed dance in high school years, and all the heartache from never being chosen as a date disappeared. It melted away on the lips of The Dude in the back of a taxi on the way to Senior Prom in Chicago.