“The way these dates go,” by Sierra Ford

Mar 9th, 2022 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

The first thing he did was ask me on a date. It was in the bitter cold of a California winter, and the mall was decorated with all kinds of winter festivities. I could hear the sounds of steel blades scratching the ice behind me as little children attempted to push their feet forward on the foreign temporary terrain.

“Want to go fake wedding ring shopping?” The beaming boy beside me asked.

I mostly remember smiling at him and laughing a quiet, awkward laugh as he looked at me for an answer. The truth is I wasn’t entirely sure if he was joking or not. Well- I guess at this moment I realized he wasn’t. Before the date he’d mentioned something about pretending to go ring shopping, but since it was our first date, I (clearly) assumed he was joking. He wasn’t.

I guess I need to clarify. This wasn’t the first time I’d been with this tall skinny boy with round glasses and auburn hair. In fact, about six years prior I would have been giddy about the fact that he wanted to go on a date with me at all. We’d met at some camp thing, and as a naive fourteen year old girl, I swore that I was going to marry this boy. Well, in those six years we kept touch on and off, but on this particular date, this was the first time I’d seen him in over a year and a half.

I quickly directed his attention to a store full of cute little plush toys with big round eyes.

“Why don’t we go in there?” I asked, walking past the ring store that he was gazing into.

I let myself glance at the ring store for a moment and my stomach turned to knots. The truth was, I was much more ready for marriage at fourteen than I was now.

That’s not entirely true either. Because if the boy from Hawaii,  who had just snapped my heart in half,  had wanted to go ring shopping with me, well- then at 5’2 I would feel as tall as Mount Everest. But not today.

Today, after a couple more wanderings through random stores, we hopped back into his car. He glanced at me as we were driving, hands wrapped around the steering wheel.

“Sierra,” he said, “I’m going to bite your shoulder”

I felt my eyes get wide, but before I could even speak a word, this entire boy’s mouth was on the side of my arm. After half a second, he pulled away and kept driving.

I chuckled awkwardly, because- what else could I do?

That’s when I knew I wanted to go home.


Sierra Ford is a writer. She was last employed as the headmistress for a school of magical girls somewhere along the Appalachian Trail.

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