When I was in high school, the school in the neighboring city decided to hold a dance that included students from neighboring school districts. One of my teachers had a nephew named Henry who was my age, so she asked if I could go with her nephew to the dance as his date. The thing was she didn’t say the word “date”, she just asked if I wanted to go.
I took a few days to think about it, and ended up deciding that if I wanted to stop not being sure about my sexuality, I had to start going out on dates with guys. So I walked into her classroom and said I would go.
Things started out fine. My dad decided to drive us, so I picked Henry up at his house at 5 pm. We didn’t know each other, so the ride there was extremely awkward. He tried to initiate conversation, but we both knew that we were forcing ourselves to talk. It was definitely one of the most uncomfortable situations I have ever been in.
When we got to the campus, I just sat at a table in the corner of the event. Later he joined me at the table, and we sat some more. We didn’t speak this entire time. To this day, it was one of the longest nights in my life.
Fortunately I knew some girls at the school, and they decided to come rescue me from Henry, who was the worst date created in history. He looked like he understood. I made up a few half hearted apologies, and ran off with the group of girls. I never looked back to see if he was still there.
After meeting up with a couple of friends, I just went out by myself and stared at the various couples hanging out. I think I just felt sad more than anything. I tried to go back to Henry and sit with him, but there was no point. With my friends beckoning to me, this situation just kept getting more awkward by the minute.
So after a while, and sat down on the grass. My dad wasn’t outside. I called him and he said that he’d pick me up before midnight. I still had to find a way to waste the next couple of hours.
I remember leaning back and staring into the sky, and it looked like a deep gray marble. After a while, I had a strange feeling like I was falling. I straightened back up with my heart beating quickly in my chest. I felt like I sensed loss, even though I couldn’t explain it. I definitely felt lonely.
Henry and I never spoke to each other again. The few times we saw each other, we acted like we didn’t know one another. It was just an uncomfortable situation all around.