After losing thirty pounds and by some strange feat also growing two inches taller, I considered myself thin—not only thin but attractive. The ugly duckling transformed into a swan. Nina and my other new friends were excited about the school dance and insisted I attend. I wanted to go but confessed that I didn’t know how to dance. My friend Carol said, “It’s easy—shimmy your body like everyone else,” and she demonstrated for me. Over my slender legs I carefully lifted pantyhose, a new product now in all the stores, so I didn’t have to wear both a garter belt and stockings. Then I slipped on my blue and white polka dot shift that was short—just above my knees. I spritzed my mother’s Charlie perfume on my neck and applied makeup I had bought myself: eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick—as Nina had showed me. I predicted that my parents would make me wipe it all off and warn me about being a slut. But when I came downstairs, clutching my handbag, my parents didn’t look at me. They sat together on the living room sofa murmuring about my father’s colitis and that he might have to be hospitalized if it got any worse. His stomach trouble had begun soon after that bedroom fight when glass fragments spread across our front lawn. The onset of his condition apparently resulted in a truce. Even so I wished they’d notice me. “I’m going now to the dance,” I announced. “Nina’s dad’s driving us.” “Have a good time,” my mother said, glancing at me. My father merely nodded. I left the house telling myself not to worry about my father—not about either of my parents. This was my debut into the world of boys and love and I had worked hard for this night.