“The Best Date I Never Had,” New Era, Aug. 2004, 40
About two months before prom is an awkward time in the life of high school girls. We want someone to ask us to the dance! For that to happen, you sometimes have to send some subtle hints in the direction of a few likely candidates.
I was starting to feel some possibility vibes from an old friend. He was not a member of the Church, but we had been square dance partners in fourth grade—a weak but definite connection. The old strategy of “his friends telling my friends to tell me” was in full force. And there was a tension, a new electricity, when we actually did talk to each other.
One night after a basketball game, we saw each other at a party. We met as I was on my way out and he was on his way in. My friends and I had realized immediately that this was not a party we should be attending. Most of the kids were drinking, and we had decided long ago not to drink or be where others were drinking.
For a moment, he stopped to talk to me. My friends waited patiently a few steps away. But I could feel the “remember who you are” message being sent from their anxious faces. He asked me to stay. Momentarily, I thought of the coming prom and my need for a date. I knew this was his first move and my next words would determine mine. But then I said, “Oh, you know I can’t stay here.”
“I know,” he said. “I just thought I would ask anyway. That’s okay.”
I left with my friends. And he did not ask me to the prom. I went with a good friend from another ward.
A few years later, my new husband and I were attending Brigham Young University. During the holiday break, I was working at a bookstore in my hometown that sells Latter-day Saint books. One day before Christmas, my old friend—the square dance partner, not the prom date—walked in. Excited at seeing old friends, we chatted for a few moments. Then I suddenly realized that he probably thought this was a typical bookstore. People often made that mistake. After all, why would he be looking for books related to the Church? So as politely as possible I said, “You know, we only sell things related to my church.”
“Oh, I think you can help me,” he said, “because I am looking for a set of scriptures to take on my mission.”
He told me that after high school, he had attended a small college to play ball. Several Latter-day Saint players had invited him to some institute classes. The rest was history.
For a moment, my thoughts went back to that night standing outside the party. I was once again glad for making the right choice. And I was grateful for some college ball players who had made a difference in the life of my friend.