There were ten people at the party, more girls than boys.
“You know all these people?” I whispered turning to Owen.
“No, not really,” he said.
Dana came and pulled him to other corner of the room. The punch bowl needed to be filled. I kept looking around finding nothing to do.
“Hiii,” I heard someone calling me in a high-pitched voice.
I turned and noticed a beaming, buxom girl in a tight-fitting red dress was standing within a foot of me. I smelled the perfume she was wearing, which I didn’t like much. Not knowing what to say I just kept looking at her, a bit embarrassed. All dressed up for the party she, looked pretty.
“Haven’t seen you around here, you with someone?” she said.
“Uh, no, well, yes,” I stuttered, not knowing the best way to continue the conversation. It was times like this that I hated myself. It wasn’t the first time I was attending a dance party. But here I was among high school kids. How does one talk with high school kids.
“I’m with Owen. I’m his roommate at college,” I finally said.
“Oh, a college guy,” she said and walked away.
What was that about? Did I insult her? You are a dummy Ashley. You didn’t even get her name. You missed a chance to get acquainted with a nice girl and you blew it. Maybe I should follow her and ask her if I did something wrong? It was too late for that.
I stood at the back of the room watching everyone else enjoy the party, since I didn’t know any one and didn’t want to look too pushy. A while later I tried to weave through the dancing couples to get to the punch bowl and crackers. Owen was not visible anywhere. I filled a plastic cup with punch, placed some chips and crackers on a paper plate and tried to return to where I was standing. I looked at the back of the room, but some kids had taken my place. The other option was to go to the corner near the stairs. It was difficult to balance the plastic cup full of punch and a small paper plate as I moved between the people, pulling my shoulders up to avoid bumping into someone. It didn’t help. Someone bumped into me anyway. Before I could say “I’m sorry” the punch was on my pants. I raised my arms and looked down. It looked like I had peed on my pants and everything from paper plate was on the floor.
What a bumbling fool I’m, I thought. I looked around to see if anyone noticed. The girl who had walked away from me earlier was looking at me and smiling.
“Don’t be such a prude, go on and dance.”
It was Owen’s mom pushing me in to the crowd gyrating to the tunes of “sugar pie honey bunch.” I was red in my face. I joined the crowd, managing to leave the plate and the cup in a corner. Another girl faced me, weaving her arms and body in a smooth left and right motion. I tried to mimic her but I knew I was making a spectacle.
I was glad when the music stopped.
“Having a good time?”
It was Owen. I managed to say “yes”. I was lying. I tried to wipe my face.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said pointing towards the stairs. Finally relief.
His dad was sitting on a plaid sofa. He enquired about how I was doing at the college. I told him how I met Owen and how I’m worried about finding a room.
“Have faith in HIM. HE will take care of everything,” he said, pointing his fingers to the ceiling.