It happened just the other evening as we made our way home from school through the
sleet and snow. I was doing my usual trick of impersonating Mr Wajeski, our geography
teacher. Of course the gang were stiches - I can impersonate most of the teachers in
our grade - but the guys love it when I do Mr Wajeski, he's such a bumbling idiot and
I've got him down to perfection. The way he stumbles around dropping his books in the
hall, how he stutters and screws up his eyes when he's trying to explain something.
This time he'd been putting up posters for the Christmas Dance, Jimmy had
accidentally-on-purpose banged into him scattering his papers everywhere! We left the
short-sighted buffoon on the floor scrambling to pick them up. "Sorry Sir!" laughed
Jimmy as we ran off. It was cool, he never dared shout at anyone, especially us.
But that's when it happened. I mean you hear those dumb soppy tales about how love hits you like a blt from the blue. I never believed it until that moment but there she was, standing by the grocery store. Even though it was getting dark, her piercing green eyes sparkled and she looked just like an angel waiting to be placed on top of the Christmas tree. Wow! Georgeous long, blonde hair, beautiful shy, smiling mouth - but those eyes! I'd seen her from a distance at school but as usual I'd played it cool and had made no attempt to be friendly. She wasn't in my class and I didn't even know her name, but now I had to find out. So I broke away from the guys and made some excuse about needing to go into the store. As I approached her, her eyes dropped. I heard a load "tut!" sound and there was Cherry standing protectively behind the counter, staring at her. THE Cherry! The Cherry who'd been my 12th girlfriend this term, the Cherry who, like the rest of them, had been a token pretty girlfriend who I'd mess around and then ditch when I got bored.
Darn, I'd forgotten about Cherry! She was chewing gum and, before I could even blink, she'd blown a bubble big enough to swallow me up and send me to the moon. As it popped she sucked it back into her mouth with the speed of a bullet and blurted out, "Whaddya you want?"; "Probably still bitter about our split", I mused. "Six packets of Oreo biscuits and a tub of your finest Ben & Jerry's ice cream if you please." I don't know why I said that, it just sorta came out but at least it took Cherry scuttling into the back of the store for a inute while I struck up to the courage to speak to my angel. "You're new here, aren't ya?" I blurted. "Yup", she replyed shyly. "I'm Zac, what's your name?"I said. She looked up smiling but, just as she was about to reveal all, Cherry stormed past her and threw the grocery bag under my nose and said; "That'll be $8 exactly, thank you!" I was fluming, Cherry had spoilt my moment of truth. As I dieved around deep in my pocket I realised that I'd spent all my money on soda pop at school. My anger quickly subsided into complete embarrassment and I called over to the guys to help me out. "What are you bying ice cream in that weather for, Zac?" they challenged. "Listen, who's the leader of this ganf? Just give me money!" I stormed. I paid up and scurried off, not daring to look at the total confusion I'd left my angel in. How was I to ask her for a date while she was in Cherry's viperous clutches? She'd probably poisoned her brain with horror stories of the trouble our gang had caused. All completely untrue of course.
I spent the whole Sunday evening dreaming of my angel and devising plans for how I'd ask her to the Christmas Dance. Why did I always have to act like the tough guy all the time? She was never going to trust me with my reputation! Outside I could hear carol singers from the neighbourhood singing out of tune, while inside my mom was bustling around putting finishing touches to the tree, wrapping presents and fussing about the state of the Christmas cookies she'd baked for Aunt Maisie. What is it about moms and Christmas? They flap around in such a panic. I didn't care if I ate another turkey or had another present, all I wanted for Christmas was my angel. The Christmas Dance was just two days away. I had to approach her...
Back at school everyone had gone crazy. Jimmy and the guys were running round like dumbos with mistletoe trying to kiss every girl in the hall. "C'mon Zac, what's matter?" grumbled Jimmy. "You're no fun anymore!" --- "Get off my case will you!" I answered grumpily. I leaned back on my chair in the dinner hall and dreamed of the day when I'd be united with my angel. Suddenly a rude, shrill scream brought me back down to my senses like a ton of weights being dropped off the Empire State Building. It was Cherry. "Noooo, I don't want meatloaf you silly woman, I'm a vegetarian and I asked for mushroom medley!" The poor cook was so embarrassed and apologized profusely to Cherry. "Oh, don't worry about it, I'd be better off picking my own mushrooms from outside," she snapped. And with that she turned on her heel and called to her friend to follow her, "Come on Lucky, let's go". Wow, I couldn't believe my ears, I'd found out my angels name - it was Lucky. If only my Christmas wish would come true, that I'd be lucky too and be granted a date with my dream girl.
I spent the whole day repeating Lucky over and over to myself and devising a plan of how I'd ask her for a date. I decided that I'd catch her at the lockers at the end of the day and if she was still in Cherry's clutches I'd have the guys cause a diversion while I dropped a note into her pocket. That damn Prefect Cherry, why they make someone like her look after all the freshmen (that's newcomers) is beyond me. The day dragged on so slowly and reminded me of what it was like waiting for Santa Claus to arrive when I was little - an eternity. Finally, 3.30 came around and the school bell chimed but was immediately drowned out by everyone thundering down the corridor. Instead I made my way slowly to the lockers, my heart pounding so hard that I thought if I opened my mouth to speak it would pop out and bounce down the corridor and out into the Christmas night.
"Thank God", -I thought as I saw Lucky filling her bag with the contents of her locker. I quickened my pace but before I arrived who should appear but Mr Wajeski. I couldn't hear what they were talking about but Mr Wajeski seemed have taken a shine to her. Well, at least it wasn't Cherry, I thought. Mr Waj made his way to the water fountain, so it was now or never. "Erm, um, er, Lucky" I whispered, "How would you like to..." But before I could blurt it out Cherry's voice took over, hollering down the corridor as she marched towards us. "Lucky! Lucky! Come over here now!" she screamed. "No Cherry, YOU go to the hall now!" yelled Mr Wajeski. "There are freshers waiting to be taken to the gym!" Wow! I'd never heard old Waj shout like that! I composed myself and turned back to Lucky. "Lucky, would you go to the Christmas Dance with me?" Lucky looked up and peered over my head in the direction of Mr Wajeski. I turned around and could have sworn I saw Mr Waj nod, but I just dismissed it. "Yes, I'd love to!" was the sweet answer that rolled off her toungue. And with that we made arrangements to meet the next night. I was in heaven, ´Wait till I tell the guys´I thought.
I spent hours and hours the next day pruning and preening myself, much to the amusement of my mom. I felt sorry for mom. Since dad died she'd been really lonely and Christmas wasn't a time to be on your own. Still, she'd been visiting one of her friends a lot lately so perhaps she'd go over there tonight after she'd dropped me at Lucky's. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. What would we talk about? Would we get on? Mom pulled out of the driverway and we set off on our 10 minute jorney through the snow. Never before had I felt so much Christmas spirit and had to stop myself from launching into a special rendition of Jingle Bells.
We reached Lucky's house and I bounded up the path, careful not to slip on the icy crazy-paving, and pressed the bell. Lucky opened the door and my, did she look fantastic. "Wow, you look absolutely georgeous" I said, unable to stop myself. Her green eyes were smiling as she yelled back into the warn glow of the house. "See you later, Dad!" And with that she took my hand and led me back down the path. "Where's your mom? Oh sorry, I don't mean to pry" I said, already waiting to know everything about her. "Oh, that's alright" she said sweetly. "Mom moved to England and I didn't want to go so I came to live with Dad." My heart nearly melted and I was lost for words so I slipped my arm around her shoulders and she snuggled up close as we made our way to the dance. I could tell already that I'd be having the best Christmas of my life.
As they turned the corner, Zac's mom Davina checked her make-up in the car mirror, climbed out and made her way up the path of Lucky's house and rang the bell. Moments later Mr Wajeski opened the door and with a generous smile welcomed Davina in. "Well, that's all worked out rather well hasn't it, darling?" he exclaimed. "Yes, indeed it has, Bob. Let's just hope they're as happy for us as we are for them" And with that Mr Wajeski, Lucky's dad, took Davina's hand and led her to the door of the main room over which hung a huge bunch of misteltoe. They both looked up and laughed.