Flatulence. It’s a pervasive problem. Especially when you’ve eaten your father’s special bean soup for dinner the night before. As far as bean soup goes, my dad’s may be the best. I love how it tastes… It just doesn’t love me. So, I was on the bleachers, when it started. My stomach growled, low at first. I shifted in my seat, hoping that no one had heard it. That must have been the wrong thing to do. I offended my whole gastrointestinal system. The next rolling, growling noise caused a minor disturbance on the bleachers. I tried to affect the whole “Oh my gosh! I wonder who did that?” look, then glanced around the group as though trying to find the guilty culprit. My stomach did it again, only louder. Jon Taylor, the boy seated ahead of me, turned around, shaking his head.
“What did you eat last night?” He asked, not bothering to keep his voice down.
My face flamed, my ears burned. “What?” I shook my head. “That wasn’t me.”
Jon laughed, “Whatever, Max… Just make sure to warn me before you let one rip!”
The angry, gurgling noise that followed, shamed me. I dropped my head, not wanting to acknowledge that such un-girlie sounds could be emanating from my midsection. And then I felt it—the intense pressure of gas building up…
There comes that moment where we have to ask ourselves, “What do I do?” That was my dilemma. Was it better to sit and wait, hoping my condition would go away? or Should I excuse myself to the bathroom? Another resounding snarl and I made my decision. I carefully worked my way down the steps, trying desperately to hold in the excess gas.
Principal Hightower picked up the microphone. “Please rise for the National Anthem.”
Could the timing be any worse? Tradition and respect dictated that I stand at attention. A sheen of sweat appeared on my face and as the trumpet player hit a particularly foul note, it happened. I farted. The screeches of my fellow students will be forever burned in my memory.
After the assembly…
April was waiting at my locker when I finally made it out of the gymnasium. “Ryan asked me to go to bowling with him.”
“Cool.” I tried to remember if April had ever mentioned liking him. “I didn’t know you had a thing for him.”
April shook her head. “It’s not a marriage proposal. It’s bowling. You know—going out, having a good time.”
I felt like I’d been chastised by my mother. “I get that… I just—”
“You just nothing,” April scoffed. “I told you I was moving on. Maybe you should consider doing the same thing. Life is going to pass you by while you’re waiting for Jake to notice you.”
That hurt. But the truth has a sting, doesn’t it?
“Anyway,” she continued, “Why don’t you ask someone to go with you and we can meet up there. Bowling is more fun with a group.”
“I don’t need a date to go bowling.”
“Except that you’ll be the odd man out.” April put her hand on her hip and then added, “Get a date or don’t come…”
Sometimes, April gets on my nerves.
“Ask Brandon, ” she encouraged. “He’d say yes and you know it.”
I grabbed a strand of hair and twisted it around my finger. “He asked me out last week.”
“And?” April looked totally confused.
“And I lied. I said I had plans…”
April rolled her eyes. “He doesn’t know you lied.”
“No buts…” Taking hold of my shoulders, April turned my body in the direction of Brandon’s locker. “There he is,” she whispered before walking away and leaving me alone with my insecurities.
It was with some trepidation that I made myself walk to Brandon’s locker. An onlooker might have mistaken me for a prisoner, walking to the gallows. Thank goodness, I remembered my deodorant. Brandon was standing with his back to me, his attention focused on pulling out several books from an overly stuffed space. I tapped him on the shoulder.
“What’s up?” he asked, his face puzzled.
I cleared my throat. “Um, yeah, I was wondering,” I cleared my throat again, “I was wondering if you’d like to go bowling with me on Saturday?”
Brandon looked down at his feet. When he looked up, I knew. “I’m sorry. I’ve already got a date.”
I tried to look cool and unaffected. “Maybe another time,” I said as I backed away.
“Yeah,” Brandon nodded, “Maybe another time.”
I quickly walked away, surprised by my disappointment… Brandon has a date.