My Perfect Date


All evening we laughed and joked together. I hadn’t realized how crazy and funny he could be. I’m glad some cute guy didn’t call that night.

The phone rang and I turned a hopeful ear toward the kitchen, but my hopes died when I heard my 10-year-old brother, Ben, wail, “Mom, it’s for you!”

I sighed. Here it was, Friday night, and I was stuck at home. I had been excited for the weekend—after all I was a cool, important junior in high school. To me that meant dating, driving, and having fun. Yet tonight I wasn’t doing any of these things. My thoughts were interrupted by my brother calling to me.

“What?” I exclaimed, annoyed.

“Sorry,” he said, “I was just wondering if you wanted to go outside and play basketball with me.”

Dejected, Ben slid open the glass door that led outside to our hoop and slowly walked toward it. He looked small and forlorn next to the giant hoop as he began tossing the orange ball without enthusiasm. I wondered what his plans were for the night. I hoped he hadn’t invited a friend over to sleep at our house. Two boys his age under the same roof would definitely be a nuisance, and it looked like I would be around to fully experience whatever was going on.

I sighed and turned my eyes toward the window. I was feeling so depressed. Yet while watching Ben’s lonely figure halfheartedly dribbling back and forth, I had an idea. We didn’t need to just mope around all night. Why couldn’t we take advantage of our free time and have some fun together? After all, I would be leaving for college in a little more than a year, and then I wouldn’t get to see my brother nearly as often.

“Hey, Ben!” I shouted outside. “I’ve got an idea! Are you in the mood to eat some homemade pizza?”

Skeptically, he answered slowly, “Well, who’s going to make it?”

“We are!”

The rest of the night proceeded to be one of the most memorable and enjoyable of all my high school years. We sliced vegetables, tossed dough, and accidentally spilled marinara sauce on our white T-shirts. We worked so hard to get everything just right. We set up the table in front of our living room’s big bay window that overlooks the city, lit long peach candles, and drank lemonade from Mom’s tall glass goblets. We even spread out our best lace tablecloth that we used only for special occasions.

All evening we laughed and joked together. I hadn’t realized how crazy and funny my little brother could be! When I looked past the little annoyances that usually bothered me so much, I saw how cute he was.

I am so glad that my friends—or even some cute guy—didn’t call that night. The memory of my candlelight pizza dinner date with my brother Ben is so much more valuable than an evening of bowling or a movie. That night it was so great to forget my own problems and show my brother that I could spend time with him and have fun doing it.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh