It’s prom time in Carding, Vermont, a time of great stress as well as excitement.
In the Bennett household, there’s a bit of tension between Wil, who’s a junior, and his younger sister Faye.
Faye has a date (with Wil’s best friend) while Wil doesn’t.
Faye often turns to her Uncle Dan to discuss situations like this, and they’re having an email conversation at the moment. Let’s listen in, shall we?
Hey Uncle Dan,
When you were growing up with Mom, did you drive her crazy? Did you ever make her want to tie you up with duct tape?
Because I’m sitting here in my room with two rolls of tape just waiting for Wil to go to sleep so I can tape him to his bed and I want to know if Mom will remember how you used to drive her nuts so that when I do this, I stand a decent chance of getting away with it.
It’s all because of this prom thing. I’m a sophomore so I figured I’d be able to escape the prom thing for one more year. But Wil’s best friend, Brian, has asked me to go to the junior prom with him.
I really like Brian and he was so nervous about asking me to go to the prom but when he finally did, it was sweet so I said yes even though I think I’ll look dumb in a ball gown and I’ve always refused to think about wearing high heels because they’re nothing but foot binding with another name.
(Whew, I really ran on with that sentence, didn’t I?)
I thought Brian would tell Wil about asking me. I also figured that Wil wouldn’t tease me too much because Brian and he are such good friends.
Wrong on both counts. Brian didn’t say a word, and the way Wil found out was hearing me ask Mom about finding a dress and shoes that won’t make me feel like a total doofus. Just as he walked in, I was joking with Mom about wearing high-heeled sneakers. Honestly, I didn’t know there was such a thing but Wil immediately went online to find all sorts of images for them and every five minutes—I swear this is true—he sends another one to my phone.
If he doesn’t quit, I’m just going to tell Brian I changed my mind.
Get back to me as soon as you can on whether you teased Mom or not when you were in high school and if you did, how did she get back at you.
Have I ever been a pain in your Mom’s backside? Nah. Never. I was an angel when I was a teenager.
But seriously, Wil and I talk from time to time like you and I do and I know he’s having a real problem with the idea of leaving Carding for college. So that’s causing a lot of anxiety on his part.
I also think it’s something of a shock to find out that his “little” sister is getting attention from his best friend.
But to the matter at hand, getting Wil to grow up a little. You didn’t tell me if he is going to the prom or not? Has he asked someone? I wonder if his reaction to your invitation is that he either can’t get up the guts to invite someone (which is awful but at least it’s a private awful) or has asked and been turned down (much worse than not asking at all).
When I was Wil’s age, I got stuck in the first camp, being too shy to ask this really pretty girl, Barbara Morrison, to go with me. She was very popular, and eventually went with our class president while I hemmed and hawed not asking anyone.
But then the week before the dance, this girl named Marcia Weiss asked me to go with her.
We’d been friends forever, always in the same homeroom, and we agreed just to go and have a good time without making a big deal out of it.
And you know what? I think we had a better time than anyone, danced all night, went to a party afterward, and even kissed goodnight, just for “practice.”
I know that that story doesn’t help (though I am smiling about Marcia—I wonder where she is now). But I would ask around to see if Wil’s asked anyone. I know he comes across as a savvy guy but you girls are a terrifying lot. If he’s being shy, maybe you could help…in a loving, kind, sisterly way.
If that’s not the problem, then go ahead and duct tape his thumbs together while he’s asleep, and tell your Mom it was my idea.
Just a thought.
Hey Uncle Dan,
I checked with anyone that Wil might have asked and as far as I can tell, he’s doing the “shy guy” thing like you suspected.
I know he really likes my friend Suzanna, and I have the feeling she thought he was going to ask her and she’s kinda hurt that he hasn’t. Do you think I should encourage Wil to do that? Dad was noticing last night that Wil’s in one of his bossy moods which usually means something’s going on that he’s not talking about.
Gawd, why is this stuff so hard?
Not sure you’d be the best person to get Wil off the mark. You’re the little sister and you’ve got a date so that might not work the way you hope.
Do you think Brian would speak up, maybe suggest that the four of you go together? That might take some of the pressure off of Wil.
And this stuff is hard because you’re learning and because we all want to be liked and asking someone to a prom is a bit of a big deal.
Hey Uncle Dan,
There’s been a breakthrough!!! Brian talked to Wil in kinda general terms about the prom, about taking me and so on, and Wil owned up that he’s working on asking Suzanna. But I’m worried he’s going to wait too long so I’ve asked Suzanna over for supper and homework tonight. Brian’s coming too.
If this doesn’t work, I am going to tape Wil’s thumbs together. Do you know he’s sent me almost fifty pictures of high-heeled sneakers?
The problem is, some of them are kinda cute and I feel a shopping urge coming on! Now what do I do?
I’m drawing the line at shoe advice. I just can’t go there.
But let me know what happens with Wil.
Dear Uncle Dan,
Wil finally asked Suzanna last night when Brian and I were out of the room. We’re all going together. And I just ordered a cool pair of boots with just a small heel. Brian’s six-foot-one and Wil pointed out that I would look like a midget if I wore flats.
Thanks as always for listening. I am so lucky to have such a cool uncle. And maybe you should look into that Marcia while you’re at it.
You can visit Carding any time in my novels, The Road Unsalted,Thieves of Fire, and The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life. The fourth in the series, Light in Water, Dancing, will go on sale on June 15, 2018. And yes, it will be available on Amazon.com.
You can subscribe to the Carding Chronicles by clicking the subscribe button on my home page. When you do, my stories speed from my keyboard to your inbox every Thursday without any further effort on your part.
If you would like to get in touch, my email address is: Sonja@SonjaHakala.com.