I am going on my first date ever. Well, it isn't really my first date ever, but I don't really count the handful of times I went out with Christopher or Marshall before him. And I guess it isn't much like a normal date for a high school kid either, but I sort of feel like that's irrelevant. It feels like I am about to go on my first date ever.

I've been preparing forever, it seems. It's been almost scary, trapped in my bathroom with my looming mirror, trying to figure out the never-before-opened bottles and tubes and compacts. My face is red and sore from all the times I've had to rub off my failed attempts.

Maybe I should get dressed first, I decide. But if I wear the light jeans, I can't wear the blue sweater I got just for today, and the others are dirty. I'll just have to wear the button-down instead, but then I shouldn't wear the watch because the sleeves are too—I'm late!

Oh my god, how did this happen? I'm late! I'm late! I don't even have time to put my contacts in, and I know she likes them better – she says my glasses hide my eyes too much – can I possibly just go blind? – no, no, too much potential for humiliation.

I'm late! No idea how much money I have – hope it's enough – have to go, go, go, why is mom being so slow? There's no time for drama – there's no time for red lights – there's no time any more.

We pull up in front of the bookstore, and I half-fall out of the car door, scrambling out before it's even stopped. Thanks, mom! Love you, mom! See you later, mom!

I pause in front of the glass door, completely disappointed in my reflection. Plain to begin with, I am mismatched and messy, not quite grown up all the way.

Well, it's too late now. I push through the doors, excited to see her despite myself. Please be nice about it, please don't hate me now, I was trying so hard, please still be happy to see me-

And there she is, looking absently at a book. Suddenly, time seems to have slowed down. I can hear myself breathing heavily, and then a little less so, and less so, and then it's just soft, and I cannot remember why I was ever scared to date another girl.

And her head turns, and she smiles, and she comes towards me.

"I'm so glad to see you, darling!" she wraps her arms around me. "I was worried your mom changed your mind and you couldn't come after all!"

"No- no…" I say absently, smiling. "I just lost track of time."

"That's so like you!" and we're both smiling, and we cannot stop, and she's holding my hand.

"But I'm so glad to see you," she says. "You're beautiful."