I cried softly in the dark, slumped in a faded neon green t-shirt, guzzling orange soda. A Boyz II Men ballad blaring through fuzzy-sounding speakers flooded the tinsel strewn cafeteria. Tables were pushed along the wall, the mint and pink stool seats clashing with the decorations selected by a select committee of my classmates. I would like to have been on this homecoming dance planning committee, but I had no idea when those kids were chosen. It was the way those things would often go. Cool things like dance planning or group outings to the teacher's house on the 4th of July would occur, always with the same rich kids in attendance, and none of the rest of us would be informed.
I cried, but no one noticed in the dark. I hated the slow songs. Even still, when I heard the tempo slow I'd nonchalantly walk around the handful of boys in my classes who might ask me to sway face-to-face with them, trying to catch their eye. They craned their necks to see over my head to the girls who weren't growing out a short, botched haircut. Eventually I retreated to a chair after purchasing the soda, then sat and watched an 8th grade couple dance really close, chest to chest and crotch to crotch, deeply kissing for minutes with their tongues. They were out of sight of the chaperones, not that they cared. They were staring one another down when they didn't have their mouths mashed together. He held her head in his hands as he kissed her on the dance floor.
I decided through my tears that a boy would kiss me like that some day, not like a prince kisses his bride and not like the kisses I saw on television, but like that couple who didn't care if they got caught.