American Coming of Age High School

The week had started out stormy and the greyness held its

grip on the landscape for three full days.

On Wednesdays, it had become the unspoken rule for all to

meet up at the local pizzeria after their last morning class period at

Hemmingford High School. This large group of friends participated

in many of the school’s extra curricular activities and often

weekend plans were set over a slice of pizza and a Coke.

“Let’s all meet for the basketball game on Saturday,” Bill


“I’ll go if I can grab a ride with someone,” Pete implored to

anyone within earshot.

“Margaret’s brother can pick you up. He’s going to the game,

too. He earned his wheels about six months ago and even has his

own car. Come next year, many of us will be able to drive,” Carl

boasted with anticipation.

Blake, a recent newcomer to the group, entered the pizzeria

with his twin sister.

Fortunately for Jenny, they were not identical twins.

“Hey everyone, this is my younger sister, Jenny,” Blake blurted

his introduction as he stepped to the counter to order two slices of


Blake passed the first slice over to Jenny and picked up the

second slice for himself. As he turned from the counter, he was

bumped from behind and his slice of pizza slid down the left side

of his light beige jacket.

Wonderful, just wonderful!

Bill’s suggestion of the basketball game was received well and

many showed up for it.

Over the next few days Luke was able to ask Blake a few

details about Jenny.

“Say, Blake, if you’re twins how is it that Jenny’s your younger

sister?” Luke challenged.

“You’re right, Luke, I should have said that I’m her older

brother,” Blake responded.

Luke look confused.

“Luke, I was born first, before Jenny, by eleven minutes,” Blake

quickly explained to keep it simply a joke and not be meant to


“You and Jenny don’t look at all alike. You’re tall and Jenny is

short,” Luke explored. “You could be making this whole story up.

Richie claims that he was adopted, but he might just be saying that,

you know.”

“Luke, you should stop chewing all that gum,” Blake

interjected. “It’s hard to understand you at times. Now why would

Richie tell you that he’s stopped up?”

Luke removed the wad of gum with his fingers and stood there

holding it with innocence. He had been caught with his hand in the

cookie jar.

Luke was not allowed to chew gum at home. His father was a

practicing dentist of twenty years, and would not permit it in the

house. He did not approve of it whatsoever!

It was a form of rebellion for Luke.

“No, not stopped up,” Luke defended. “He says that he is


“Oh,” Luke said. “Now I hear you. Maybe he is adopted. So

what?” Blake said in an effort to drop the topic.

Luke wasted no time getting to know Jenny at the basketball

game. The mutual attraction was evident to many and especially


Blake was always protective of his younger sister.

As the game was in the final minutes, Luke decided to make

his move. He turned to face Jenny and asked for her phone

number. She was receptive and leaned forward to get paper and

pen from her purse. She sat back upright and pulled her long,

auburn hair out of her face. She wrote the phone number and

handed it to Luke.

“Jenny, the last dance of the school year will be in two weeks.

May I take you to the dance?" Luke managed. It was still an

awkward moment for him.

“I would love to go with you, Luke,” Jenny calmly replied,

although she was hiding her excitement well.

“I live far out, but one of my parents will drop me off and pick

me up. Why don’t we pick you up on the way? Don’t you live close

to the school?”

“Yes, sure do,” Luke said with a wide smile.

Two weeks flew by and the dance rapidly approached. Blake

dressed well and Jenny looked glorious in her blue dress.

The group looked at them differently, as they now had become

an item.

The first half of the dance went well.

During the dance, the school’s cafeteria served as a room to

sit, relax and talk.

“What kind of job will you look for after graduation?” Jenny

asked of Luke.

“I thought about being a burglar,” Luke replied jokingly. “I don’t

know, maybe a chemical engineer. They work developing new

products, like rubber and silly putty.”

“How about you Jenny?” Luke said with interest.

“I want to be my own boss and run my own beauty salon.

Basically, a hairdresser, but owner of my own salon,” Jenny insisted.

“Would you stay here in Hemmingford?” Luke wanted to know.

“The band is starting up,” Blake said.

The music started.

Jenny recognized the song, one of her favorites.

Blake commenced to whisper in Luke’s ear.

“Not very cool to be chewing gum on a date,” Blake advised.

“Let’s hurry!” Jenny insisted, taking Luke’s hand and yanking at

his arm.

Up and running! 

Later, at one point, the band played a long, slow song. Jenny

and Luke embraced and started to dance.

Luke had no chance to remove the gigantic wad of gum from

his mouth when the band break ended. Now he couldn’t kiss her.

So Luke kept chewing.

A few people, just standing and talking behind Jenny, started


Jenny swung her head to the left and right to see what was so


Now Luke laughed, as well.

And with that, Jenny’s hair thrashed into Luke’s mouth and

pulled out the gum.

Now Luke laughed harder, which led to Jenny swinging her

head left and right even faster, causing a massive tangle on the top

of her head.

Jenny and some friends spent the remainder of the dance in

the restroom attempting to remove the gum as best they could.

There was no further contact with Luke at the dance that


When the dance was over, Jenny slipped out of the side door

to look for her parents’ car.

“How was the dance?” her mom asked.

Jenny relayed the horror of it all and cried.

Her mother felt horrible for her daughter’s unfortunate


Luke called Jenny on the next day to apologize for the whole

ugly matter.

“Hello, Jenny, this is Luke.”

“Don’t ever call me again!” Jenny screamed. “I’m never going

out with you again.”

July 27, 2021 03:18

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