Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALL (01/14/16)
TITLE: Plain Vanilla
By Pat Small
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“I don’t know…Justin?”
“Yeah, I’m so excited.”
“That’s great,” I congratulated her. We hugged and laughed, and she rushed off to her next class. Justin is the most popular guy in the whole school. God’s gift to basketball, smart and a hunk. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little jealous. Nobody had asked me to the prom – not even the school nerd.
She was my best friend, and I really wanted to be happy for her, but it was hard. She was pretty and bubbly. I wasn’t ugly. Just vanilla ice cream, plain, no topping, no sprinkles. She was more like peaches and cream, with a banana, chocolate topping, whipped cream and a cherry on top.
I closed my locker door a little more forcefully than necessary and checked my phone. Was it on? Yep. Ready to receive a call. I prayed for it to ring, but it was silent. Maybe a text, I thought, checking just to be sure. I knew I would have heard the telltale buzz though.
I had to do something to get noticed, and I had to do it pronto. The prom was only a couple of weeks away. Heaven knows, shopping for a dress and deciding how to wear my long, chestnut hair, and convincing Mom to let me get my makeup done would take some time.
Plotting my next move, my mind in panic mode, I wasn’t paying attention to anything else. I guess that’s why, as I rounded a corner, I ran smack into Caleb. Caleb wasn’t Justin, but he wasn’t half bad.
“I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I was lost in another world, I guess.” I smiled my apologies with a red face, and a rueful grimace.
“No problem.” He made me feel less of a clumsy idiot than I felt. Then he was gone. That’s not what I had in mind when I was figuring out how to get noticed, but it would have been a good opportunity to invite me to the prom, I mused. Then I had to laugh at myself. Yeah, right, I nearly knock him down in the hall. He probably figures I don’t know how to dance if I’m that clumsy.
Well, Kelli, just keep thinking, I encouraged myself. There’s got to be something you can do to get this phone to ring. And, at that very moment, ring it did. I pressed the answer button excitedly before I looked to see who it was. “Oh, hi, Mom,” I squeaked when I heard her voice.
“What’s the matter, baby? You sound a little down.”
“Well, I just called to remind you of your dentist appointment right after school.”
“Oh, okay. Thanks. See you later, Mom. I’m on my way to class.”
I plodded through the rest of the day, laughing and smiling at all the appropriate times. I still hadn’t come up with any ideas on how to get noticed in a hurry.
Glumly I headed to Dr. Tom’s. Just what I needed. A dentist’s appointment was no fun even on a good day. I nearly fell over when I walked into his office, and there was Caleb.
“Oh, hi. I didn’t know you went to the same dentist,” I said.
“We meet again. Twice in one day,” he smiled. “I rarely see you at school, but I was meaning to call you…”
“Caleb, you can come in now,” chirped Dr. Tom’s nurse.
“Okay. I’ll see you later Kelli.”
I could have screamed. I almost thought he might be working up to an invitation. Fate is not on my side, I groused. By the time he came out, I was in the hygienist’s chair.
The next day I tried extra hard to at least add a few sprinkles to my vanilla look. Maybe Caleb would notice me and remember he was planning to call. Hope springs eternal.
It didn’t happen. The phone didn’t ring. No calls, no texts, no notes…nothing. Bummer. I went to the prom with a girlfriend, another plain vanilla.
That was a long time ago. Caleb never did call. I survived the humiliation, and eventually met and married a prince. Now, as I wait for my son (with newly minted driver’s license) to get home, the last thing I want to hear is the phone. Tommy bursting through the front door with a cheery “Hi, Mom” will more than satisfy me.
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