07 June 2005

Rare Fortune

As we walked to our table in my favorite Chinese restaurant, we passed a young couple in formal wear. Must be the prom, I thought to myself. My parents sat opposite me as I headed straight for the buffet. On my way back, I caught a peripheral glimpse of her gown and then kicked myself for not rearranging the placemats so I could check out her dress discreetly while I was eating. They must've ordered dinners since they weren't going up to the buffet. Good job, I thought of the tuxedo-clad boy.

The next time I got up, I saw that her sleeveless gown had an open column down the back with criss-crossed lacing. It gave the dress an edge and made me think it wasn't something I'd have the guts to wear. The gown was floor length, a pale lime green, with a fitted bodice.

The next time I walked back, I noticed that the bodice had some detail to it and that her long blonde hair was pinned up in a complicated coiffure with perfect curls. I also noticed her noticing me. It was still near 80 degrees when we left home, so I hadn't changed clothes: white t-shirt with a simple museum logo, thin blue and white plaid cotton shirt open, and what really drew her eye: my pale faded denim shorts. At the front edge of each leg, the material has unraveled from the hem leaving two stringy holes. Most of the seams are frayed from wear, and in several places worn patches presage an epidemic of holes. At that moment with her shoulders slightly slumped, it looked to me like she wished she was in shorts too.

A few minutes later, they were outside standing by his car, smiling, laughing. The late sun caught the details on the bodice and sparkled; the dress had a pale peach sheen; and they were having a good time.

As unexpected as seeing the prom goers was receiving an actual fortune in my fortune cookie:
A golden egg of opportunity falls into your lap this month.

You better believe I played those numbers.

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