April 1973

“Wallflower,” New Era, Apr. 1973, 8



Yes, I look good. I look really great as a matter of fact. I needn’t worry about anything. I look sensational in this red dress. Red looks best on me, and I look sensational. Except for the buttons. I don’t like the buttons mother picked. They’re really crummy buttons. But if I hold my arm up in front like this, no one will see them there. Now I really do look sensational, and no one can see the buttons at all. I feel the music. I’m with it. It’s going to work for me tonight. Positive thinking will work. It will. It will.

There’s Herb Blakely. He’s looking at me. He likes my dress. I can tell. He took a step toward me. I’ll bet he wants to dance with me, but he’s afraid to ask. I’ll smile at him. Come across the room, Herbie, and ask me to dance. Tell me I look sensational. Ask me to dance, Herbie. The power of positive thinking is at work. Ask me, Herbie. Ask me. You jerk! He’ll be back, maybe. I’m sure he looked at me. Herbie likes me. He said “Hi” in Sunday School last week. That’s all he said, but I could tell by the way he said it that he likes me. He said “Hi” and then walked past me. But I could tell it meant something.

If I don’t stand by any other girls, someone will ask me to dance. Oh my gosh, here comes Martha Bluke. Go away Martha. Go away. Don’t stand here by me. Go away Martha. The power of positive thinking. It worked. I can’t believe it. She went over to the corner with Mary Anne Little and Beth Kelly. They’re dancing with each other! Oh, I can’t stand it. Three girls dancing in a corner. Its disgusting. I can’t stand it. I think I’m going to die right on the spot.

Oh, there’s Ralph. I’ll smile a little more. He is so darling. Really. He is really so very cool. He looked at me. My mouth hurts from smiling and my arm hurts too. Crummy buttons. Tell me I’m witty and cute, Ralph. Oh Ralph, you could make my entire adolescence if you’d just ask me to dance. Ask me, Ralph. Ask me. He asked Lila Kirk. Jerk. Look how close they’re dancing. Isn’t anyone going to break them up? I would never dance that close with anyone. Not with anyone.

Except maybe Chuck Stewart. I just adore him. He is so neat. He always stands with his hands in his pockets. I really like that. And his hair touches his ears in a really groovy way, and I think he shaves. I’ll bet he’s the only boy in this entire ward who shaves. There he is. Oh I can’t breathe. Isn’t that neat? Oh, if I could dance with Chuck Stewart I’d never ask for another thing in my entire life. I’m smiling at him, and I’ve got all my buttons covered, and he’s looking at me. I winked at him! How could I wink at him? It was an accident. I winked at Chuck Stewart. I must have a tic. I must. I’ve never in my life done that. He’ll think I’m a flirt. Oh Chuck, I didn’t mean to wink at you like a creep. He asked Martha. Martha! How could he ask her? She was dancing with all those girls and he asked her. It was because I winked, I’ll bet. He’d rather ask a girl who dances with girls than a girl who winks. I must have a tic. Martha thinks she dances so well. She doesn’t.

Roger Humphries! I thought he’d moved out of the ward. Oh wow! Oh neato! Look at the way he chews his gum. I’m going to die. Right now. I’m going to die. He’s walking across the dance floor. Oh, I can’t breathe. My arm is going to sleep. Positive thinking. Positive thinking. Ask me—ask me—ask me. Oh, Roger, you are so numero uno neato!

He’s looking at me. My lips are quivering. They’re quivering. My palms are beginning to perspire. It’s not ladylike. He’s coming right toward me. Oh my mouth hurts. My arm. My crummy buttons. Why didn’t I wear something else? Ask me, Roger. Ask me to dance, Roger. Tell me I’m the best looking thing you’ve seen all night. Tell me I’m beautiful and charming and witty and exciting and that you’ve had your eye on me for years. Tell me you love me, Roger. Or just ask me to dance!

Don’t walk past me. He’s drinking red punch. Red punch! Why not red dress? Me? Oh pooh, who cares? I don’t. I really don’t. To think I came to this duddy dance when I could be home reading the Scarlet Letter.

My father! My father the bishop is walking toward me. No, Daddy; no. No. Please don’t. Please go to the punch bowl. No, Daddy, don’t smile so lovingly at me. Oh please let me be struck dead instantly. He says I’m the most beautiful thing he’s seen all evening. Would I dance just one with him? He says I’m exciting and charming and witty and that I dance like Ginger Rogers, whoever she is. He says he loves me.

Oh, Daddy, I love you too.

Illustrated by Sherry Thompson