I started a writing course this week. One of the writing prompts the instructor gave us was to think of a character who's dreading going to a party, and why.
Naturally, my mind went to a cougar place.
I present to you the rough draft of a short story, or perhaps chapter one of a likely-never-to-be-released novel, entitled "Nathan's Mom & the Dad Shirt." (It's a New York Times non-seller.)
Nathan's Mom & the Dad Shirt
Jason quickly rifled through his shirts - pulling one out, trying it on, ripping it off and tossing it aside, putting on another one, and so on - until the only one left was the bright floral one his mom'd bought him for Christmas last year.
At 18 years old, it mystified him that she still didn't know his style. Not even remotely. Who wears a Hawaiian shirt? To high school?
His anxiety growing, he looked at himself in the mirror and sighed. He had his white T-shirt on now. It fit him well, and he wore it often. But, at this moment, he hated it and every single one of his shirts. Nothing was good enough to wear to Nathan's party.
It wasn't like he was trying to impress Nathan or anything. Nathan was his best friend, and they hung out a lot.
There was someone else Jason was trying to impress, and not even Nathan knew about it. And he never would.
Because that someone was Nathan's mom.
Jason cringed admitting this to himself. He felt bad about it. He knew Nathan would be absolutely horrified.
But Jason couldn't help it. He couldn't stop thinking about her.
When he'd met her a few weeks ago, he'd known immediately that he was in trouble. She was so beautiful. The blonde hair. The red lipstick. The body...
To make matters worse - he could have been imagining it, but he hoped to God he wasn't - it seemed like she'd been flirting with him.
He felt pathetic hoping for this to be true. All she said was she liked your hair, you idiot. It didn't mean anything.
Unless it did.
The possibility was driving him mad.
Yes, it was his best friend's mom. But what could he do? The more he resisted the fantasies, the more frequent they became.
He wanted her with every fibre of his being.
It wasn't like he hadn't tried to stop it. And it wasn't like there weren't a bunch of girls his age he wanted, too. But this was different. This was intense. So intense that it was making it hard for him to sleep at night.
Especially last night.
Because of this stupid party that he had to choose a stupid shirt for so he didn't look stupid in front of her.
He sighed heavily, then suddenly laughed at himself in relief. She probably wouldn't even be there! What was he thinking? It was going to be a huge party. What mother would want to be around 50 teenagers?
Then he paused and frowned. But how did he know she wouldn't be there? What if she did want to be around to see Nathan's friends? What if she wanted to be around to see him?
What if she felt the same way?
He felt his whole body throb.
Of course she doesn't, he scolded himself. Get a grip, man.
Even though the pang of longing he felt for Nathan's mom lingered, Jason forced himself to focus on the pile of shirts on his bed.
"I have to leave in five minutes," he announced to his empty room. "And I literally have nothing to wear." He pulled off his white T-shirt. "That's it. I can't go. I really can't!"
He looked despondently into his closet. "What am I supposed to do? Wear this dumb Hawaiian shirt? It's a dad shirt!"
The irony of wearing a dad shirt to impress Nathan's mom struck him as hilarious, and he laughed in spite of himself, taking the shirt off the hanger.
"Maybe that's not such a bad idea."
If this Hawaiian dad shirt had been good enough for Jason's mom to buy, maybe it would be good enough for Nathan's mom, too.
Maybe this was going to be a fun night after all.