[Note to readers: Sorry this chapter is so long – haven’t figured out where it should break! It has 1,196 words – maybe you might have a suggestion.]
Dad says he’s okay with the double-date and offers to watch the kids for Mom and me to go buy fabric for a new dress. I want something simple and sophisticated looking that I can wear to church too. We find the perfect polished cotton – baby blue that changes shades depending on the lighting. We don’t have jewelry, so Mom picks out a piece of silver velvet ribbon to create a necklace. She thinks these will look good with my dark hair.
Mom started to teach me to sew when I was twelve with her machine, but I’m still amazed how many designs she can get out of one dress pattern! With me being a size eight, Mom cuts out a simple princess style with a round neckline, very short sleeves, darts with just enough fullness to drape smoothly. I figured that was stylish enough. When I put it on, it is a perfect custom fit to me – and makes me feel like a princess!
Today’s the day. I set my hair with large rollers; it takes hours to dry because it’s so thick, but it combed out just the way I hoped it would. Don’t say it out loud, but I did shave my legs too! Now, I’m ready to go, just waiting in the living room for Carol. Dad’s watching news on television, and the aroma from the kitchen where Mom’s cooking makes me want to eat before I go!
They drive up, and come to the front door as I scurry to the bedroom, and Mom opens the door, “Come on in, Jane will be ready in just a minute.”
When Mom comes to the bedroom, I tell her, “I want to leave fast; I don’t trust what Dad might say to embarrass me. Please get me out quick.” She hands me a dime, “Put this in your shoe – call me if you need anything.”
Dad stayed in his chair, but held out his hand for the anticipated handshakes. “Make yourselves comfortable on the couch. I’m Jane’s dad, Mr. Wilson.”
“So you will have Jane home no later than ten o’clock, right?” He and I were both surprised both men were wearing Air Force blues. They weren’t at all what we expected, but looked very young and quite handsome.
“Be sure to tell Mrs. Wilson exactly where you’re going; I’ll be right here when you come back, and expect you to come inside to say good night.”
“Yes Sir, no problem.”
I’m waiting at the door relieved the formalities are over. I want to leave now.
The drive to the theater is strange. Carol is in the front seat chattering about something going on at school. Larry is driving nodding his head, not getting much chance to say anything. Mac and I are in the back seat of the biggest car I’ve ever been in! I’m thinking, why am I here. This is alien, sitting next to a guy in a uniform with his arm resting on the back of the seat behind me … he did smell good though!
I’ve never been to this theater before – but heard it’s the nicest one in town. Okay, the truth is, I’ve never been to any theater before! Carol chose Funny Face with Audry Hepburn. In my dreams – I could look like her! The characters talk so fast, I’m having to listen fast! It is funny though, sometimes. Like a different world, it’s hard to take it all in. The screen’s so big my eyes hurt from trying to see everything! Carol laughs so hard, she spills coke on her dress. After what seemed like an hour, it was over and the bright lights came on.
We make our way through the crowd to leave. Mom said it was only about three miles to the burger drive-in. Larry finds a good spot to park and we order. I don’t get comfortable with new people very fast, so I’m listening to Carol chatter and Larry laughing. Mac puts his arm around my shoulder and slides a little closer. He just decides it’s time for a kiss. Oops, a French kiss. Startled, I pull away. Mac straightens up and says, “What’s wrong?” Larry looks in the rear view mirror while Carol turns around to see what he’s talking about.
“Nothing,” I whisper, “I just don’t want to do that.” He withdraws his arm and keeps his hands resting on his knees.
I’m thinking … Oh man, what did I get myself into. This is not what I dreamed of for my first kiss, so it cannot be real. His mouth was cold and tasted like peppermint – totally unpleasant. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but he presumes too much. He shouldn’t be surprised what he gets when he tries to kiss a stranger.
Thank goodness the food is here, I’m starving. Now, the trick is going to be eating without dropping food on my dress. Mac is relaxed again. Larry’s telling jokes, so the mood is better now. Carol keeps a conversation going with me. She’s such a good friend, even patient with my lack of social graces – especially in this setting! She knows I’ve never dated before. That tells you how badly she wants to spend time with Larry!
Larry’s putting the paper trash on the tray and the car-hop is retrieving it – time to head home. He turns on the radio and tunes to soft music for the ride.
“Jane?” Mac whispers.
“I think I love you, and I want to see you again. I’ll be going on my first tour soon, and I think it’d be a good idea to get married.”
I can’t believe what he’s saying – and with a straight face.
“Would you marry me – don’t answer, just think about it?”
It’s twenty minutes to curfew and I don’t want to start an argument or confrontation, so I turn my face away from him and say, “Okay I’ll think about it,” as if that makes a lie alright.
We’re back at the house with five minutes to spare; they all get out of the car and go to the door with me. The porch light is already on and the big door open with light streaming through the screen door. I open the door and we file in.
“Hey, did you have a good time?” Dad asks. It’s obvious he is visually checking us to see if we’re worse for the wear.
“Yes Sir, we did. The movie was good; I’d recommend it to anyone!” Doesn’t take but a minute before Dad announces it’s time to turn in for the night. “I’ll show you to the door; thanks for bringing Jane home on time, Good night.” Dad goes to bed.
The house is quiet; everyone else is in bed. I wanted to talk with Mom, but I’ll have to wait until morning. I hang up my dress, brush my teeth, and wash Mac off my face. I need a good dream tonight.