The sun was setting when Shiloh arrived at the school. The parking lot was filled with cars and cars were coming and going as parents dropped their teenagers off at the front of the building. Her father gave her and with her friends Carla, Patricia and Dawn a ride over.
“I’ll pick you up at 11pm,” he informed her before she got out of the car. The party started at 7 which in about fifteen minutes.
“We’ll see you then,” she said, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. “‘Bye, Dad.”
“‘Bye, Shiloh. Bye, girls.”
“‘Bye, Mr. Smith.”
“I really like your dress,” Carla told Shiloh as they walked towards the front entrance. “It suits you.”
“Thanks. I like yours too.”
“I think we all look stunning,” Dawn said. “I’m sure we’ll have lots of guys asking us to dance.”
“Do you think Mike is going to bring a date?” Patricia asked.
“I don’t know,” Dawn said.
“I hope he doesn’t,” Patricia said. “And I hope he asks me to dance.”
“Wow!” Shiloh exclaimed when they walked into the gym. “They’ve done an amazing job transforming this place.”
“I can’t believe it’s the same place with the Smelly smells and freaky finds,” Dawn remarked.
They all stared at her blankly. “What?” Carla asked. Sometimes she said the oddest things.
“You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Don’t you remember that those two guys in our gym class? One was always sweaty and the other was always farting?”
“Eew,” Carla exclaimed, making a face. “Why did you have to remind us about them?”
“I hope neither of them asks me to dance,” Patricia said, looking very worried.
“They’re probably not even going to come to the dance,” Shiloh said and her friend looked very relieved.
“And what freaky finds are you talking about?” Carla asked Dawn.
Dawn whispered something in her ear, giggling when she saw the expression on her friend’s face. “You look just I like I did when I caught them. I always knew that girl was freaky but him? I couldn’t believe it. He’s such a nerd.”
“Thanks a lot!” Carla muttered, glaring at her. “Now it’s going to take a while for me get those images out of my head.”
“Well, you asked,” Dawn retorted.
“I know I did but you didn’t have to give me the disgusting details.”
“Well–” Dawn started to protest when Shiloh intervened.
She slipped her arms through theirs. “Hey, guys, we’re here to have fun, remember?”
“Yes,” Carla agreed. “Let’s mingle.”
“I’m sorry, Carla,” Dawn apologized. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Carla smiled. “And I shouldn’t have asked.” They hugged.
“Let’s go and mingle,” Patricia suggested.
As Shiloh tagged along, she wondered if Mr. Gladstone was going to show up alone or with his girlfriend. She hoped with all her heart that he would be alone even if they couldn’t dance or hang out together.
As he got ready for the senior party, he wondered if Shiloh was going alone or with a group of friends or with a date. He didn’t like the idea of her going with a date. Of course, it wouldn’t make a difference if neither of them had a date because they couldn’t socialize with each other.
He couldn’t dance with her. Teachers and faculty members weren’t allowed to dance with the students, they could, however, dance with each other if they wished but usually, they preferred not to. Instead, they socialized and chaperoned. He had considered taking Alanis with him but at the last minute, he decided not to because He couldn’t imagine her wanting to attend a party held in a high school gym.
When he was finished getting dressed, he stood in front of the mirror as he adjusted his tie before he buttoned his jacket. He was wearing his new tan colored suit which he thought made him look pretty sharp. Smiling at his reflection, he smoothed his hair down before he turned and walked out of the bedroom.
As he walked into the gym which had been transformed in a way he never could have imagined, he remembered what another faculty member had told him. “Seeing that his is your first time chaperoning a dance, you have two options,” he said. “You can monitor the dance floor your authority and let them know who’s in charge before shenanigans even have time to take place. Or you can be tough but fair, letting the kids have their fun until things start to get out of hand. Then, you step in and tell that their behavior is inappropriate and to cut it out.” Being a counselor, he would go for the second approach.
“There’s Mr. Gladstone,” Clara said to Shiloh. “He’s alone.”
Shiloh turned around and saw him standing in the doorway looking around. Their eyes met. She said to her friends, “Excuse me,” and walked away.
He saw Shiloh coming towards him and stared at her. She looked amazing in the peach colored dress with the fine straps and bell skirt.
“Hello, Mr. Gladstone.” She greeted him with a huge smile.
“Hello, Shiloh. This is the first time I’ve seen you in a dress.”
“Yes, it is. Do you like it?”
“Yes, I do. It suits you.” He wanted to add that she looked lovely but thought better of it.
“Did you come alone?” She asked because she wanted to make sure.
“Yes, I did. How about you?”
“I came with my friends, Carla, Patricia and Dawn. They’re over there.”
He was relieved that she hadn’t come with a date. “Well, I hope you and your friends have a great time this evening.”
“Thanks. I’m sure we will.” I know I will because you’re here and you didn’t bring your girlfriend.
Just then Helen Moore, the English teacher joined them and after they exchanged greetings, Shiloh excused herself and rejoined her friends.
The evening turned out to be a very pleasant. He only had to intervene once when he saw a couple who looked like they were copulating rather than dancing. “Lighten up, Romeo,” he said to the guy who looked sheepishly at him and apologized.
He kept an eye on Shiloh who danced mostly with a group of friends. A couple of times, she danced with Colin, a guy whom he had counseled in his office a few weeks ago. The guy was going to study at Oxford. He was one of the smartest students in the school. He could tell from the way Colin acted towards her, that he liked Shiloh but she didn’t seem interested in being more than friends. He was relieved about that.
Before she and her friends left, they went over to say goodnight to him. He stayed to clean up and then left, glad to be home, savoring the quietness. He showered and changed. Had a light snack, watched some television and then called it a night.
Source: Thought Catalog