Jake kicked a stone, threw a brick and shouted his frustration and anger out into the world. The wind, drowning his voice, nearly blew him off his feet.
“Why, why did I even bother to go?!”
The night’s events replayed in his head and he helplessly watched on, unable to control the memories of the night that was.
Hours earlier he head spent an hour in front of the mirror, experimenting with style after style, carefully selecting his outfit. Just before leaving home, he had rushed back inside to brush his teeth again, check his hair and add another touch of deodorant. Everything had to be perfect tonight.
Arriving at the dance, the sun had just started to set and the hall was bathed in a golden rosy glow. He nervously scoured the hall. Finally he spotted her amongst the milling crowd, as usual surrounded by the group of friends, who never seem to leave her side, and his heart skipped a beat. When their eyes locked, he could feel the irritating blush creep up his neck, warming his cheeks and ears. “Pull yourself together mate, this is not the time to make a fool of yourself.” Jake mumbled to himself as he approached the group of giggling girls.
“Care for a dance?” was the question to Mia, which was met with uncontrollable laughter from the irritating friends. Before she could answer, they pushed him away and told him to try again later.
Disappointed and embarrassed Jake slouched away to find his friend, Mark. Well, looking back, he wasn’t much of a friend after all.
Jake and Mark spent the next hour or so eating hot dogs and studying the crowd on the dance floor.
Suddenly Mia’s friends were there, right next to them. “Are you going to keep her waiting all night? Mia wants to dance”. He looked to Mark for courage and started out. “Wait!” Mark said, “you’ve known each other for almost a year, it’s time you told her how you feel.”
The dance started out well enough and about halfway through the number he suddenly blurted out “I love you”. Immediately he wished the floor would swallow him. “You idiot, why did you do that!” a voice was shouting in his head.
Mia looked at him and he couldn’t figure out the emotion on her face. Was it surprise, relief, shock? She turned around and left him there in the middle of the dance floor, the music drowning the sound of her voice and the strobe lights mocking him with the sight of her back appearing and disappearing to she beat of the music.
Embarrassed and angry he stormed off the dance floor to find Mark doubled over with laughter. “Let me show you how it’s done”
Jake watched in horror as Mark and Mia swept across the dance floor, laughing and glancing his way every now and then.
The rest of the night was spent trying to find a dark corner to hide in.
Several times on his way home, Jake paused to kick a stone, punch a wall or shout into the wind. By the time he reached home, he felt defeated and sad.
While rummaging around to find a movie to watch, he suddenly looked up and said;
“Mom, I think next year you should be my Valentine. At least you will never embarrass or disappoint me! I love you mommy, happy Valentine’s Day”
Tears sprung to my eyes. At 10 he was fast becoming a big boy, but he will always be my baby.