There's a Flower Sasquatch in This One

Submitted into Contest #35 in response to: Write a story that takes place at a spring dance.... view prompt

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General

I shouldn't be nervous. What is there to be nervous about? I've been taking dance lessons since I was five, any of these other kids can't say anything bad about my dancing. I'm not nervous, I'm just... excited! Yeah.

It's really never any use to convince yourself you feel a different way than you do. And yet, I've been trying to, I really have. Because... well...

Because.

I haven't even let myself dwell on it. I won't dwell on it. I'll go through these doors and the blaring music will shut out my thoughts and I'll dance till my feet bleed and my throat is dry. It's a plan. I won't dwell on how my dress looks, or whether these flowers in my hair are a stupid idea, or whether-

Nope.

The room inside, the transformed gymnasium, is crowded and noisy. People hug the walls in inconveniently placed clusters. Streamers hanging from the ceiling are already becoming trampled into the corners. Flowers droop from every crevice possible. Geez, the student council must have raided all the flourists within a ten mile radius of the school! There are roses and lilies, lilacs, violets, irises, daffodils, and even hyacinths. Maybe some of them are fake, but I'm not going to allow myself to be lonely enough to spend my evening inspecting the flowers.

The music is some sappy spring song blaring way too loud. I head straight for the dance floor but I can't stop myself scanning the room in search of a head of brown hair, of a rounded shoulder, of -

Nope.

Focus on dancing, dancing, and only dancing. The song is simple. It's good for the grooving sway that usually constitutes the majority of school dances, but not super good for distraction. I throw myself into dancing with abandon. People join me, dance with me, blur past in colour upon colour. The gymnasium isn't short of just-inappropriate-for-school attire: dresses with no sleeves, shirts unbuttoned a fraction too low, some odd designs, even one pair of suspenders over a bare chest. There's a lot of pastel colours, glitter, and sequins. And flowers. There's flowers everywhere.

The song ends when I'm mid spin and I accidentally bump into a cluster of peers. They shove me aware with some rude comments. I apologize and back away. I plan on continuing dancing, am heading back to the center of the dance floor, when I'm distracted by the site of some boy stuffing flowers into his collar so that they rim his face like a ridiculous Shakespearean ruff. His friends are laughing their heads off. The kid begins stuffing flowers into his sleeves. I shake my head and turn away.

And right at that moment, she walks in.

She's pinned her hair up in a bun, leaving two strands to frame her face. When she scans the room I can see a third strand trails down her back, obviously accidental. Her dress is pale blue, like the sky. Like a sunny day, full of hope and laughter. She wears flats, unlike some of the other girls and boys who wore high heels. She has a daisy stuck in her hair, right above her left ear.

And then she looks at me, and I remember that this wasn't supposed to happen. I was supposed to be dancing. I was supposed to be invisible.

Because...

Because she's my best friends. Because I'm not in love.

She waves and comes over to me before I can find an escape route.


"Meg! Did you see that kid stuffing his shirt with flowers?"


"Of course I did! How ridiculous is that?"


We turn to look at the kid again. He's now stuffing flowers into his waistband. He looks like a scarecrow, if a scarecrow smelt like perfume.


"You look very nice."


I turn back to her. She's smiling at me. I give a little curtsy, and try not to blush.


"I tried my best."


"It shows." She examines me again. I think my hair has begun to fall out of my braided crown. "You've been dancing hard. Your face is all pink."


Which, of course, just makes my face pinker. "Maybe- maybe we could get some punch to cool down?" I stammer.


Christine grabs my hand and pulls me toward the punch bowl. I bump against a lot of people. I'm distracted by holding her hand. She has calloused palms and round fingernails.

I didn't want to have to deal with this at the spring dance. I knew Christine would be here, so of course I had to go. I would have gone anyway, but the chance of running into her... not that we don't spend a lot of time together at school...

I'm in love with Christine. And I don't know how to tell her.


We grab our punch and find a corner not too crowded with other clumps. Christine sips her bunch and I hold mine to my face to cool my cheeks.


"You can't drink punch like that!"


"Maybe I can do osmosis."


"Maybe, but the cup isn't semi-permeable."


"Maybe it is."


"I'm pretty sure the punch would be leaking all over me if it was."


"Unless the punch contains no water." Christine tilts her head at me so I explain, "Unless it's all sugar and flavouring, so there is no water that can leave the cup through osmosis because only water can pass through the semi-permeable barrier."


"That's gross! But my point still stands that you can't drink by holding the cup to your face."


I shrug in acceptance of her argument and drain my glass. Suddenly Christine gasps, "Oh, I love this song!" and proceeds to tug me onto the dance floor with only a quick stop by the trash to deposit our cups. Once we're on the dance floor Christine grabs both my hands and we start dancing. It's fun and goofy. When that song ends we stay on the dance floor for the next one. And the next. Christine's cheeks become flushed, and pieces of my hair have come loose and keep irritating my shoulders. But I'm having a good time. I'm having a great time. I can't stop smiling, and finally I'm not thinking about how hopeless my crush on my best friend is. It probably helps that she's right in front of me, dancing with me, smiling at me, laughing with me, and looking like a glorious fairy princess. The daisy has come out of her hair: I don't know where it's gone. The song changes again, and I place my hands on Christine's waist, pretending to waltz. She takes one of my hands and places her other on my shoulder and we start really waltzing. I'm leading, but we have so little space that our attempts are quite fruitless. For some reason this makes it even more fun. There's a commotion at the end of the dance floor. Screams, yells, insults. The crowd is split by a form that resembles a flowery sasquatch. It's the kid from before, but now he's so covered in flowers that it's hard to tell who he is. He runs for the door. Christine and I split as he breaks towards us. As he passes one of his windmilling arms catches me in the stomach and I fall over. Teacher supervisors chase after him, out the front doors and into the parking lot beyond.

It really hurts. I didn't realize it could hurt this much. This is worse than cramps from exercising. Christine bends over me. She helps me up and leads me out the side door and into the fresh evening air, waving off concerned onlookers. I'm crying. Christine sits me on the concrete then lowers herself down next to me.


"Meg? You okay?"


"Yeah, I just didn't expect to get run over by Sasquatch."


"That kid was being stupid! He should have looked where he was going! He shouldn't have stuffed his shirt with flowers in the first place!"


I nod, less out of agreement and more out of a need for her to keep talking. She looks at me. I don't have a tissue, so I wipe my nose on my arm.


"Oh, Meg," says Christine. She wraps her arm around me and leans her head against my shoulder. It makes me happy, probably happier than it should. We sit like that for a while. The sun is setting behind the trees, painting the pale blue sky with reds and yellows. With the sun setting it begins to get cold, and my hopelessness begins to come back.


"I think I'm good to go now," I say. I get to my feet and smooth the wrinkles out of my dress. Christine spares one last look at the sunset then stands.


And suddenly I'm very torn. Because she's right here. And we're alone. And I like being here, I'd be here forever if I could. But there's a part of me that tells me I'm dreaming. I'm a little fool, and I'm dreaming, and this will never happen. I feel my eyes start to tear up again. Christine notices.


"Meg, what's wrong?"


I shake my head.


"You can tell me."


I sigh and stare at our feet. Her blue flats and my pink ones. There's a lump in my throat that makes talking hard. I shrug and meet her worried eyes. I don't know what to say, so I just take her hands in mine. Her fingers are still hot from the blood flow from dancing.


"Christine?"


"Yeah?"


I lean forward and kiss her quickly. Her mouth takes on a startled 'oh' and her cheeks pink. I can't decide whether to smile or run off somewhere far away. She opens her mouth and closes it again.


I blurt, "I like you Christine. I like you a lot. And not just because you're my best friends, but also because you're my best friend, you're the best best friend. You're really sweet, and really kind, and you're beautiful, and I like you."

I realize I am still holding her hands and I drop them self-consciously. I clasp my hands then unclasp them and swing them at my sides. Christine watches, slowly smiling.


"Meg?"


"Yeah?"


She smiles and kisses me.

April 02, 2020 22:40

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