Monday, September 06, 2004

Chapter 7 - The Beginning

She began to type before she thought about what she was going to say. She started and restarted the message, deleted, editing and deleting it again. She got up and poured her second cup of coffee, toasted a bagel and still hadn't figured out what to say or how to say it.

Danny felt a bit like she had at thirteen, when she got her first note from a boy in class. She remembered it very clearly. He had looked back at her and mouthed that he had a note for her. The "he" in question was the cutest boy in the whole school. And she watched the note as it passed from hand to hand down the rows until it finally reached her desk. She looked up at him and smiled, but when the teacher called on her a moment later, she wasn't able to read the note until after the bell rang. Then she and Lanell (her best friend) ran to the girlsroom and huddled near the window while Danny unfolded the note.

"Wait!" Lanell whispered as she grabbed Danny's hand. "Give me your pinky...we need to make a pinky wish first!" Danny hooked Lanell's pinky in hers and in unison they recited their best friend pinky wish mantra "We wish that we stay best friends forever, marry the cutest boys in the world and are the smartest lawyers ever!" Both girls giggled and Danny smoothed out the note. It was even better than she had hoped. He told her how smart he thought she was and asked her for help with his history paper. He said his mom was baking cookies and said it was okay if she came over after school." Danny and Lanell looked at each other, then hugging each other tight, jumped up and down until the bell rang once more.

"I knew he liked you! I knew it!" Lanell shouted as she ran to class, laughing. Danny was so excited she went to the wrong classroom, and got detention for arriving late. But luckily the detention was for Wednesday afternoon, because today after school she had other plans. Warm cookies, history and him!

Danny's excitement had been shortlived, though. He was waiting for her with the cookies still warm from the oven. But he wasn't alone. Rachel, his girlfriend, was over too. It turned out that they both needed help with history.

As she looked back on that afternoon twenty-two years ago, she could still taste the melted chocolate on her tongue, and feel the heat of her embarassment rise to her cheeks. But she couldn't remember what "he" looked like. Lanell had been more disappointed than Danny was. But wrapped in a napkin, greasy with chocolate and butter, Danny had brought her a cookie. Even cold, the cookie had helped them get past that afternoon and many others had helped them through their teens. It was amazing how much a warm cookie or two could help make things better in life, especially in high school.

Danny knew she was no longer the fat teenager she had once been. She knew that she had blossomed and had become more than just a pretty face. (She hated whenever people told her she had a pretty face, as though her face could be separated from her body somehow.) She knew she had great hair and big green eyes. And she looked better in jeans than most of the women her age did. But you can never fully take a fat teen out of a slender woman. And she wondered if this e-mail from Theaternut was just a note asking for homework help, or something more.

She sat in front of the computer once again and began to type, this time knowing what she was going to say.

Thanks for welcoming me to the chatroom. I love going to the theater, but don't get ot go as often as I used to. Sometimes the first time I hear a showtune is on the Tony Awards. When I was in highschool I used to stand in line at TKTS every Saturday morning for leftover tickets.
What about you?

She read it over quickly and clicked "send." It was short and simple. And it didn't give anyone the least reason to suspect that she was sitting here on pins and needles waiting at her computer for a reply. This was the closest thing to flirting she had done in fifteen years. She wanted him to think she was sophisticated. And she enjoyed sharing her interest in theater with someone else who knew more than she did. She hoped that she had left a good impression on him. Thankfully Theaternut didn't know Danny was wearing her pink bunny slippers, with her unbrushed curls sticking out in all directions. Thank God that she didn't use videochat and could hide behind her monitor.

She felt thirteen all over again, and in some ways still was. Never as experienced with boys as others were, Danny didn't know the rules. And she suspected that they had changed in the thirteen years she had been married anyway.

Fortunately, she didn't have long to wait. Within a couple minutes of receiving her e-mail Theaternut had responded.

to be continued....