Normally the neighbor girl has her hair pulled back in a tight pony tail and is in a T-shirt and those flowing warm-up pants that have a set of white stripes running from hip to toe down the side. Last night, she wore a layered chiffon, jade colored dress that tied around her neck and layered at the bottom. Her hair was down. I watched as her date came to pick her up and nervously took her arm. I watched her smile for nearly 50 pictures. She was gorgeous.
It’s funny how you can completely forget all about certain memories until you see someone else making the same ones.
I remembered homecoming last night.
It was something I haven’t thought about in a long time. I remembered how much it meant to me back then. How much I would fantasize about how it would go down. And the funny part is that as much as I thought about what dress I would wear and how I would do my hair, I wasn’t doing it for me. I was doing it for him. I used to regard boys as mystical creatures who somehow could unlock my happiness and rescue me from all things sad and boring. Maybe that’s something all teenage girls do, I’m not sure.
I recalled the picture I was searching for in my mind and was struck by how stunningly beautiful I was. I didn’t see it then. Even in that size 7 dress, I thought I was fat. I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, or cool enough, or whatever it is you were supposed to be. How young I was. How different life was then. How I thought I knew everything and could have never been more wrong. I smiled and let out a snort with the shake of my head.
It’s weird how time changes you. How you keep learning even when you think there is nothing left to learn. How you learn to appreciate the small things, like even being able to afford a new dress that you feel great in.
The neighbor girl must have forgot something cause her date pulled back into the drive-way and she pulled her dress up away from her shoes and scuffled into the house, running on her tip toes. It reminded me of Cinderella, but I know better now.
When she ran back out to the car, she noticed me and gave a big smile and a wave.
“What do you think?” she said, turning around in her dress.
“I think you look beautiful….more beautiful than you even realize right now.”