“Hi Dexter!” said Alexis.
“Oh, uh, hi, Alexis.” I said. I was dumbstruck for words. She was gorgeous. Her big blue eyes were sandwiched between long lashes. Her golden hair cascaded to her shoulders.
“Want to come to my party tonight? It’s at 8pm at my house.”
“Oh you’re having a party?”
“Yeah silly. I just said that. So what do you think?”
“Well it’s a week night and I have this chemistry homework due Friday…”
“C’mon! Homework can wait.”
“Yeah… I think I can make it work. Let me ask my parents.” I said. However, I knew it was too late to ask them. I had already said “Yeah.”
“Great! See you tonight!”
She hurried off in a cute skip. I sighed. Everything about her was cute. Then I looked back to my chemistry homework on my desk. It glared at me with disdain.
“Hey! What was I supposed to say?” I said.
The other library goers shushed me harshly. They had a point. I packed up my pencils, eraser, calculator, and papers into my backpack and made my way home.
“Mom!” I yelled across the house as I barged inside. “When’s dinner?”
“Hello honey, glad you’re home.” she replied sweetly. She found me and planted a big wet-one on my cheek.
“Yeah, thanks Mom. What time is dinner?”
“Dinner will be ready at 5. Be a dear and take out the trash, hmm?”
By 6 I knew that enough time had passed that it counted as me not being in too much of a rush and I’d still have time to get to Alexis’ party.
“Mom, Dad?” I said.
“Yes, son?” they replied in unison.
“There’s a party at 8 tonight at Alexis’ house. Can I go?”
“Is your homework done?” Dad asked.
“Uh yes.” It would be done before Friday, so technically yes.
“Then I don’t see why not.”
I let the silence stretch on for too long. I kept hoping and expecting that they’d offer to drive, but they never did. I almost asked when suddenly I realized that I had already bought a monthly bus pass. Since I bought it, I might as well use it.
This journey to Alexis’ house would be a long one, involving two transfers and a mile walk to the bus stop. I got started as soon as I washed my dish from dinner. It was only after I had walked the mile to the bus stop that I realized that I completely forgot that my friend Trevor lived in a house on the route to the bus stop. He has a car. I could have asked him for a ride! I could have hung out with him for an hour and then rode in comfort and arrived in style. But I was already at the bus stop, I figured I might as well take the bus.
It was only a 20 minute wait for the bus (time I could have spent walking back to Trevor’s house). I hopped on and found a seat with no strangers sharing the adjacent seat. I got comfortable and then just let my mind wander. I watched the scenery scroll by. I thought about how cool this party would be and who else would be there. Certainly Trevor, and hopefully my other friend Mark. Then it hit me like a dodge ball to the gut. I was staring at the mall… I hadn’t passed the post office yet… I’ve been going the wrong way this whole time! Ugh! How frustrating! I’ll certainly be late for the party now. Gosh dangit!
I got off the bus as soon as I could, which wasn’t for another agonizing mile in the wrong direction. I crossed the street to catch the bus going the correct direction this time. I was sitting there, kicking myself for my stupidity when I heard a familiar voice.
“Aw yeah! Take that! … Boom baby!” Yup. That was Don, the school bully. Popular, well dressed, and a total jerk. He must be playing video games. I’ll bet he’s going to the party in comfort and style in his car too. A sinister thought crossed my mind. Maybe I could ask him to take me too? I mean, I could be cool too right? To be seen with Don might raise my cool-factor.
I followed the voice to an open window of a house on the street. I walked up to the door and knocked once. I was about to knock three times, but I caught myself with another thought. “Why couldn’t I just call Trevor? Or my parents. I’m sure they would come get me”. But it was too late. I already knocked once. I gave two more knocks just to complete the pattern.
A door opened and a woman appeared. “Hello?”
“Hello, is Don home?” I asked.
“Yes let me go get him. Can I ask who you are?”
“Uh, yeah. It’s Dexter.”
She disappeared and Don appeared in front of me.
“What do you want pipsqueak? You ruined my kill streak on Gunz & Grenadez.”
I just stood there with my mouth agape. I thought to myself, “I can just run away now. But no, I’ve already come this far, I have to keep going.”
“Uh, I was wondering if you were going to Alexis’ party tonight and if you could take me?”
“Hmm yeah, I wasn’t going to, but now I think I will. Are you ready to go now?”
“Now? We’ll be really early.”
“Hey you want me to take you or not?”
“Sure, now is good for me.” I said.
Just as I got buckled I got a call. It was Trevor. He offered to take me to Alexis’ party! But it was too late. I was already buckled into Don’s car. I respectfully declined Trevor’s offer, even though he had time to pick me up and get me there on time, and even though I really didn’t want to be in the same 5 mile radius as Don, it was just too late. I had already made it this far, I might as well keep going.
Don was being really nice. Maybe I was wrong about this guy. He wasn’t so bad once you spent 20 minutes riding in silence next to him. I got another call from Trevor. The party was cancelled! Dang it! Don pulled over when he heard the news.
“Cancelled? Cancelled? You brought me all the way out here for a party that wasn’t going to happen?” Don said furiously.
“Well I didn’t know it was going to be cancelled!”
“You idiot! You ruined my streak, and then you wasted my time! I should have never agreed to take you. Get out of my car!”
I was relieved to get out of the car, but measurably less relieved when he also got out of the car. He came around the car with his fists locked and loaded. He let loose a fury of blows which I blocked as best as I could with my twig arms. When he was done with me I was polka-dotted with bruises. Then he drove off, leaving me in a shriveled heap somewhere in the city. I cried a little until I gained composure. I took a few deep breaths. Then I started to recognize some landmarks. I realized that I was only a mile away from Alexis’ house! I could still go! Sure the party was cancelled, sure I was dusty and covered in bruises, but I’ve already made it this far, so surely I have to keep going. So I kept going.
It was a long slow walk until I finally arrived at Alexis’ house. At long last, I finally made it. I ringed the door bell, giddy with excitement. Alexis answered the door.
“Hi Dext-, oh gosh! What happened to you?”
“Oh I uh, ran into some trouble. Well I’m here!” I said.
“Dexter, um, the party is cancelled. I’m sorry if you went through a lot of trouble to get here, because there’s no one here. Hopefully you didn’t waste too much time or money, and I’m sorry you got hurt in the process.” She slowly closed the door.
I was glum and defeated. I sat on the curb and ploped my head on my hands. I gave a heavy sigh. I guess I did waste a bunch of time. There really wasn’t any reason to go. Just because I’ve partially invested, doesn’t mean I have to fully invest. I should make decisions based on future value, not on previously imagined value.
Just then, Trevor rolled up.
“Dexter! I knew you would come here even though the party was cancelled. Come on, I’ll take you home.”
“But I have a bus pass I can -“
“Get in the damn car Dexter!”
Trevor was right. I don’t have to take the bus when there is a better optoion available. I got in and buckled.
Trevor said, “You know for being so smart, you’re not all that smart.” and we drove off.