There is one night that sticks in my mind because it was the first time someone asked me to slow dance. I didn't want him to—but that's the problem I suppose. We never get asked by the people we want. I guess he was sort of cute, but ruining his looks was a horrible, snively way of speaking. He was a know-it-all. He followed my sister around like a lost dog every day at school. When he asked me to dance, I was completely taken off guard and said yes. It wasn't a problem—my sister liked someone else and was always trying to get rid of him, so it wouldn't have been an issue if I had liked him. But . . . I didn't. Not at all. His hands, draped over my shoulders, were hot and thick with sweat. His glasses were foggy with perspiration. I tried not to meet the eyes behind the clouded lenses because I could tell he was waiting for me to, and God knows what kind of urgent message he would try to pass between us. I remained evasive and quiet, shuffling my feet to the rhythm with an occasional mistep. After a while he muttered something about how I looked nice and I replied with a timid, "Thank you."
The song ended and he tried to get me to dance again, but I told him my friends were waiting for me. "Who cares about your friends?" It rattled me. Why he was being so possessive when I knew that deep down he had a thing for my sister? Did he really want to dance again, or was he trying to make her jealous? If I danced with him again, that would make two on my experience chart. I'd almost be a pro by night's end. I thought about it real hard. He reached for me, but the minute I felt his wet palms, I jerked away. "Sorry, I can't."
I found those friends of mine. They stood in a dark corner, reveling in my sweaty, shoulder-stained glory. I had credentials, real credeantials. And friends have the cool air of life and freedom. It was good to be back.