I hovered at the door. Lynne hadn’t been allowed to come, so I was without my sidekick and I was excruciatingly shy. Mum promised to wait outside, at 11 o’clock. She’d probably offer to drop any other kids off to, no matter how far away they lived. Ironic really, as she was a single mum and the only woman doing the late night lift shift. A church ‘session’ was respectable enough for a convent girl. No alcohol was served and the lights were dimmed just a little. Already drunk kids were puking in the church flowerbeds, but that wasn’t the youth club’s problem.
I made for a chair against the wall and pulled at the hem of my powder blue mini. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but I did hope that somebody would ask me to dance. The music started up and ‘Eight days a week’ filled the hall. My feet tapped. I kind of hoped that a boy would notice and pick me. Three CBC boys strode over. Jenny got asked first, then Shirls and finally Patti. I squirmed against the cold wall and tried to look cool. Mike was right. My pink lipstick didn’t make a difference. The next song began. I was still sitting. I slunk outside and lit up a cigarette. I could pretend to be cool, at least.
“Does your mother know you smoke?” a
He was looking at me from under his red helmet. The rest of the gang were revving behind him. Huge Harleys glistened under the light and the riders tucked their helmets under their leather jackets. Jan was the leader and the heartthrob of Pretoria. Now he came striding in my direction. I looked around to see if there was a pretty girl behind me.
“Put that out if you want to dance.”
He couldn’t possibly be addressing me. I dangled the cigarette at my side. He took it, squashed it into the grass and led me into the hall. ‘Bad Moon rising’ eased us into a shuffle and I let my feet be guided. The song ended. I mumbled ‘thanks’ and made a dash for the empty chair. When his hand reached for mine, I allowed myself to be led outside. I was aware of eyes boring into my back, as Jan drew me towards him and tilted my face.
“Oh my God Freckles, do you know who that was?”
Shirls was tugging at my arm.
“Did he actually kiss you?”
Jenny blew kisses towards the bikers, who were now back on their steeds.
The circle expanded. Girls who had previously ignored me, were now clambering to talk to me.
“I forgot to tell you. There’s a party at my house tomorrow night. You can come if you like.”
“Yeah. Maybe you could bring Jan?”
I nodded happily as I was pulled into the circle. For a moment, my nerdy new girl status had been suspended and I was floating on a cloud…for a night.