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Tiger and the Stupid Wedding

Tiger and the Stupid Wedding was published in ALIVE! for young teens in June 1983.

If it isn't hard enough to get acquainted with a girl you like...

Stupid weddings. Why is it that when things finally start going right, something always shows up to spoil it? That's how it's been for me practically all my thirteen years.

For instance, in school, teachers are always pronouncing my name wrong. It's Geoffrey... with a G... like in Geoffrey Chaucer. Well, for some reason I get called Joe-frey, or worse, Godfrey! And teachers are supposed to be literate. Didn't they read The Canterbury Tales in college?

I guess I've liked Tiger for a long time. At first I had trouble getting her to notice me. Do you know how hard that can be, getting a fantastic girl like Tiger to notice a run-of-the-mill guy like me?

"Why don't you try talking to her?" suggested my little brother Eddie.

WELL, I TRIED TALKING to Tiger. One day I stood outside the school cafeteria. I had hoped she would be alone, but out she came, surrounded by a swarm of friends, just like always. She didn't even see me. I was going to call to her, but at that very moment, a dumpy blond with glasses called out, "Look, there's Godfrey!"

They all giggled and my throat sort of tightened up, cutting off the air, and I couldn't say hi. Tiger and the swarm vanished down the hall. I decided to try another tactic.

I looked up Tiger's phone number. I figured at least I'd be able to isolate her from her friends. But I had finger trouble. When I began to dial the third digit, my hand became paralyzed and I didn't have the strength to continue.

"Who are you calling?" asked Eddie one evening. He walked into the living room just as I was recovering from the finger paralysis.

"None of your business," I grumbled and slammed down the receiver.

"I know, it's Tiger," he said. Most the time Ed's pretty dumb, but at times like that he's downright humiliating.

"Didn't you tell her yet?" he snickered, and sat down on the couch across from me.

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't you tell her you're in love with her?"

I jerked up from my seat. "Ed, what do you know about it?" And I stomped out of the room, into my bedroom, and slammed the door.

The torment went on for quite a few weeks. I used to sit and watch Tiger in class, telling myself I'd smile if she so much as glanced at me. But the one or two times she did, I felt embarrassed and quickly looked away.

Finally, I decided the whole thing was a lost cause. I just wasn't the type of guy that a girl like Tiger could get interested in.

THE SADIE HAWKINS DANCE was coming up for the next week, and I had avoided a lot of nerdy girls I was afraid might ask me. They had already asked some of my friends and been turned down. I didn't want to be put in the position of being last choice.

"Gol, Geoff, you're worrying about nothing," Ed told me. "If anyone asks you, all you gotta say is you have to go to Aunt Laurie's wedding next weekend."

I had forgotten that my aunt in Wisconsin was getting married and that we'd all be traveling there. It was a valid excuse. However, none of the nerds asked me.

It was the following Monday in school when I was walking to my locker. I heard my name called. I turned around and there was Tiger, bright brown eyes, smiling and hurrying toward me. For once, she didn't have that flock of friends buzzing around her.

"Geoff, can I talk to you?"

I couldn't have moved if I'd wanted to. I was rooted to the floor.

"I've been trying to corner you for a week now," she went on.

Corner was the perfect word. I felt cornered just then... but I was liking it.

"But you've been avoiding me, it seems." Tiger wrinkled her nose in a teasing fashion.

After swallowing the tumor in my neck, I managed to croak, "I-I'm sorry." Dumb. But she ignored me.

"Geoff, won't you go to the Sadie Hawkins dance with me Friday night?"

Inside, my soul was jumping up and down, screaming, "Hallelujah! She's in love with me!" On the surface, i casually swept a hand over my bangs and dared to look into her eyes. "Sure," I said, "Sure, I'll go with you."

"Oh, wonderful," she squealed. Then she hurried off.

BUT THINGS WERE NOT so wonderful once I came out of my daze and remembered my family's plans for the weekend. When I told Eddie, he sympathized. It was the very first time I can remember Ed being on my side.

Of course, we pleaded with our parents not to make us go to the wedding.

"Mom, this girl is not just any girl," I tried to explain.

"How do you think Aunt Laurie would feel if you weren't there?" said my mother.

"Aw, she won't even notice," said Eddie.

"We're going to the wedding and that's FINAL!" boomed my dad's voice from the other room. We knew then that we were defeated.

Now I had to tell Tiger I couldn't go with her to the dance. I couldn't get to sleep all night, thinking about her.

The next morning in school I didn't have any trouble getting Tiger to notice me. I waited for her outside the cafeteria like before, and when she came out, I called to her. Tiger's friends fluttered away and she came up to me, her brown eyes brighter than ever. I hated to do it, but I had to.


"Oh, really? I love weddings."

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I can't take you to the dance," I said, staring down at my feet.

I don't know what I expected, maybe tears, maybe shouting, but Tiger only smiled and said, "That's cool."

"I'm sorry, Tiger, but my family's making me go."

 "It's cool," said Tiger, smiling.

"My aunt would be upset if I didn't go."

"Have fun, Geoff. I'll see you when you get back." Still smiling, Tiger walked down the hall to her locker.

Stupid, stupid weddings. You never know how a girl's going to act.


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