“Mom, Eddie wants to take me to the circus. It’s in town at Bradley Field this week. Can we go?”
“Eddie Gomez, the boy who walked me home when those guys in the convertible were bothering me.”
“Sounds like a date. I doubt that your father will agree to it. You are awfully young to be dating.”
“But there’ll be lots of other kids there our age. It’s not exactly a date. Nothing bad will happen. If Dad agrees, is it OK?”
“I’ll have to think about it.”
When Tess asked her father, he said he’d have to talk it over with her mother. After the kids went to bed, Mr. and Mrs. W. discussed it. Tess was changing from a tom-boy to a young woman, in mind and body. An interest in boys was natural, as long as things did not go “too far,” a pair of words that bring panic to a young girl’s parents.
“I hate to say ‘no’ and I hate to say ‘yes,” Mr. W. stated.
“We have to decide.”
“We need some rules, maybe a curfew. It’s been so long since we were her age, I find it hard to remember what it was like.”
Mrs. Williams suggested that they invite Eddie to go with all of them to the circus, making it a family affair rather than a date.
When they told Tess, she was briefly disappointed, but then cheered up, seeing that she had gotten some of what she wanted. When she told Eddie, he thought it was fine. They went, had a good time.
That night, Tess described the outing to her diary: It had been fun. Not exactly romantic, but pleasant, an “almost date.”
One of our series of 50 mildly instructive short stories.