“OHMAHGOSHOHMAHGOSH, THE PHONE IS RINGING!!!!!”
My 8-year-old sister stared at me with her mouth open wide.
“Hello, you’re the 93rd caller!!!”
I can’t even remember what happened the first few minutes after the deejay said those words, except that I think I had a mini heart attack. I just know that in the next 10 minutes, I was screaming and galloping down the street like a dang horse with my sister close behind. We were galloping to my cousin’s house that lived around the corner like Mister Ed and Mister Ed’s sibling (who had much smaller teeth and better hair).
There were no cell phones to tell my cousin the news beforehand, and I couldn’t contain myself any longer in the house, so, we galloped our way down the street to her front porch a street over from us like some dang mares that got released out into the open countryside.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
My 12-year-old cousin flung the door open wide.
“WE WON NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK TICKETS! WE WON TICKETS TO THE BLOCK PARTY!!! WE WON NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK TICKETS! WE WON TICKETS TO THE BLOCK PARTY!!! WE WON NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK TICKETS! WE WON TICKETS TO THE BLOCK PARTY!!! WE WON NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK TICKETS! WE WON TICKETS TO THE BLOCK PARTY!!!”
We were all freaking out over the fact that we not only won 6 tickets to the concert, but we ALSO won tickets to the private block party. PRIVATE. Ya heard me? PRIVATE. We may have very well passed out in pure bliss. I am certain that our big puffy bangs sustained some serious damage in the chaos.
For the next couple of weeks, I daydreamed about what I would say to Jordan Knight, my personal favorite, when we finally got our alone time. What would he say to me? Would he compliment me on my horribly permed hair? Would he say he liked my poorly groomed eyebrows? Would he say he liked my sailor’s hat that we had airbrushed at Astroworld with the words “NEW KIDS” across the brim? Would he like that? Would he notice my dolphin ring? Would he like dolphins, too? Would we exchange numbers? Does he like brunettes?
My stomach was in knots every single day.
What would my sister say to Jon Knight?
What would my cousin say to Joey?
What would my friend say to Donnie?
(You know we all couldn’t like the same one.)
When the day finally arrived to go to the top of a building for the “private party” on the day of the concert, I could barely STAND IT. My stomach was not only doing flip flops, it was also doing round offs, aerials and ninja kicks.
The elevator ticked off the floors.
I don’t know how many floors there were altogether. I just know that when we got to the very top floor and made our way to the roof of that building I was freaking the freak out.
And then we opened the door.
What on God’s green earth?
WHO WERE THESE OTHER GIRLS??????????????????????????????????? THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PRIVATE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMEONE HOLD ME BACK! HOLD ME BACK! I’M ABOUT TO GET ALL JACKIE CHAN ON SOME PRETEEN GIRLS!!!
It was an episode of the Bachelor at its worst.
So. Many. Girls.
Lines of them.
Droves of them.
I was ticked.
This was not the private party I was galloping about all over my neighborhood. How would Jordan and I ever get to know each other under these circumstances??
But, what else could I do? I stood in line. I sweated, I sweated and I sweated. We were in Houston on the top of a building in the summer. That heat was really doing a number on my bangs. Jordan was not going to be impressed. I wore my best coolots. It looked like a navy outfit. The material was navy and it had little gold buttons on it. In other words, it was the most awesome outfit I owned and it complimented my airbrushed navy hat AND IT WAS ALL GOING TO WASTE.
“Well, that’s okay,” I thought to myself. “When you finally get to Jordan, Kelley, you’ll say something really witty and all of those other girls will be forgotten. Don’t you worry, girl. Jordan is yours. You got this thing. You and your awful hairdo HAVE GOT THIS THING. Just smile your best smile. The minute he sees your gigantic horse teeth and imploding bangs, he’ll whisk you away.”
We inched our way up through the line. With each step, we could see the New Kids On The Block sitting there at the table signing autograph after autograph a lot more clearly. Was Jordan trying to catch my eye? Was he trying to get a better look at my poorly applied make-up?
THEN THE MOMENT CAME. We stepped ever so carefully up the steps onto the platform and FINALLY, we were face to face with the most awesome group on the planet Earth ever in the history of time. (We believed this at the time. Please put your tomatoes down.) Finally, they would know that the girl they had sung about time and time again was right in front of their very eyes.
We would have our time, even if other people were around. We would share our sweet words together. The world would stop.
I got out my pen.
I got out my paper.
(THIS WAS GOING TO BE HUGE!!!)
I smiled my biggest, toothiest, poorly applied lipsticked smile.
And that’s it.
That’s all I did.
I slid the paper in front of Jordan, then slid it to Jon, then to Joey, Donny, Danny…and walked like a mute mime as I glided from person to person. A mute mime is even more mute than a mime, which is already mute. I was basically a mute mute, which is extra mute. I mean, there was no flicker of sound coming out of that mute mouth. I was actually like a mute mime mannequin. Imagine how quiet a mute is… Now imagine that mute as a mime. Now imagine that mute mime as a mannequin. Actually, imagine that mute mime as a mannequin sleep walking. I mean, NOT A PEEP. No, ma’am. I was Helen Keller the Sleepwalking Mute Mime Mannequin. I galloped around the neighborhood like a freakin’ horse a couple of weeks ago just so that I could stand in front of the most popular, most awesome young guys in all the world to look like a sleepwalking mannequin on wheels. A mannequin on wheels wearing a sailor hat and coolots.
Dagnabbit and stuff.
There are no take backs. There are no second chances in line.
“Hey, Jordan, it’s me again. I came through the line looking like a mute mime mannequin wearing a sailor hat and coolots about fifteen minutes ago? Well, anyway, I forgot to say a few things. I know you might not think I have the ‘right stuff’ but, ‘oh, oh, oh-oh’, let me assure you, I d–“
“GET THAT GIRL WITH THE COOLOTS AND TERRIBLE HAIR OFF THE STAGE! SHE HAD HER TURN! SHE REALLY HAD TO TWO TURNS, BECAUSE HAVE YOU SEEN HER TEETH?! THEY SHOULD COUNT AS A SEPARATE PERSON!”
That’s what would have happened if I had tried going through the line again.
Imagine living with that all your life.
And you expect people to feel sorry for you and your circumstances.
Imagine if you were me.
That missed opportunity to be Kelley Knight.
You may feel like you’ve failed at different things in your life, but, after reading this story, I hope you realize what a winner you are in comparison.