Thursday, March 15, 2007

No Dancing for Me, Part 4

The Legion Hall is decorated, my dress is finished, and I’ve had my turn at the Cut and Curl, where Betty Curnett has ratted my hair and shellacked it into an unrecognizable cotton-candy pouf. I try to eat some of the meatloaf and mashed potatoes and green beans Mom made for dinner. There’s a tight, tingly feeling in my stomach, probably because it’s less than an hour until the Lavender Hill Mob starts playing and David and I start dancing in the candlelight. For once, Mom doesn’t harp about eating everything on my plate, and Deb and I do the dishes quickly and without squabbling. I sweep the floor while she washes the counters and the table, and we’re free.

Safe in my room, I lean close to the mirror above my dresser and take inventory. My brown eyes glitter and—under the Xs of pink tape holding a pin curl to each cheek—my face looks splashed with color. I wipe tiny dots of perspiration from my temples with the back of my hand and check for invading pimples. None, so far. I step around the corner to the bathroom Deb and I share, pull the tape from my cheeks and wash my face with cold water. The cold feels good, so I take the washcloth into my room and lie with it over my eyes for a few minutes. Finally, I get up and change into my dress.

From the clock radio on my night stand, Carole King sings about feeling the earth move. As her voice swirls in the room, my head swims, and I sit on the edge of the bed to pull up my pantyhose. I love L’eggs. Before their egg-shaped plastic-and-foil packages hit store shelves, we wore stockings and garter belts with peculiar rubber and metal clasps that poked from the fronts and backs of our legs like hugely knotted varicose veins. L’eggs go all the way to our waists and cover our crotches, which leaves our legs smooth and our skirts shorter than ever.

I wrap a towel over my dress and put on my make-up: two coats of natural beige Cover Girl clean foundation, pressed powder on my face and eyelashes, smoky grey eye shadow and two coats of Maybelline’s UltraLash mascara. No blush tonight. My face already looks like it’s on fire. Must be all the time we spent out in the cold, wrestling that stupid tree.

Finally, I take off the towel, slip on the crimson bolero, and step into my silver shoes. I’m glad David is tall because the platform shoes make me two or three inches taller than usual. When I step back and look in the mirror again, I’m happy with the total effect. My legs look long and my skirt looks short (but not short enough to get me in trouble).

Headlights flash across my windows. Moments later, Dad answers the doorbell. Swallowing hard, I sit down on my bed for a few minutes. Eventually I walk down the long hallway and into the foyer where David stands scuffing his toes on the brick floor and calling my dad Sir. “Yes, Sir. I’ll drive carefully.” “Yes, Sir. We’ll see you there.” “It’s kind of you and Mrs. Farris to chaperone tonight.”

3 comments:

kario said...

I am full of anticipation for you, with you. Give me more!

Deb said...

You have me getting ready with you. I can smell your make-up and feel the color under the skin of your face. It's amazing how you bring back the feelings of those days in a way that makes me want to be there again. Your parents are chaperoning?! This ought to be good!

Monica said...

I can't wait to read the next one. The only good thing about being behind in reading the blog is that I get to go from one to the next. WHAT HAPPENS AT THE DANCE? Can't wait.