FOURTEEN In Rosemont Ridge's cafeteria,

I found a new world one day

A room transformed by a myriad of lights and balloons of every color surrounding me,

glowing rings sat there waiting to adorn our heads, necks, and arms,

glowing just for us. I was fourteen.

I admired all of the flashing lights, the dresses all the girls wore, and the dancing skills of some of my friends, laughing and talking of times past I stood there with my best friends and my boyfriend wishing I was single since he was such a stick in the mud. I was fourteen.

We could feel the music pulsating around us, vibrating, a constant hum inviting us to dance; you could not fight the urge. I thought about all the other dances I'd spent in that gym and got back a confidence I had forgotten long ago. In that room we were all equal, no cliques to be found, at least none that I could see. I was fourteen.

Looking around the room I found a face in the crowd, James was just standing there, smiling, where he stood patiently waiting for me to approach him. I did and we danced for hours, wishing it would never end I fell in love with my dancing partner. A slow song started and my heart started racing...maybe I could work up the courage to tell him how I felt while we danced. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. I returned to my boyfriend shooting James one last look. "Come on Sarah" my boyfriend said and James turned away.

I stood there, miserable, and fourteen.

(With apologies to William Stafford)

by Sarah Pass