His name was Brian and he was a junior. He had red hair, an ambitious goatee, and he liked me. I suppose I should have been flattered. As a shy freshman, I didn’t get the attention of boys — or upperclassmen — very often.
One day after class, Brian approached me and said hello. I muttered a quick hi and cast my eyes down at my Keds. He mentioned something about our football team and then politely asked me to the homecoming dance. Embarrassed, I made up some excuse about having family in town that weekend, never once even bothering to look him in the eye. He said he understood, that it was cool, and began to walk away. As I scurried in the opposite direction, I shouted an obligatory “Sorry!” his way before ducking into a hallway. It was awkward and terrible, and for years I’ve regretted the way I handled his sincere request. Lately, however, I feel even worse because now my teenage son is doing the asking.