I Was a Teenage Earthworm
by Bonnie Doerr (written when she was 16!)
Reprinted from the South Wind, May 7, 1965
Part seven in which I wonder and wait for the perfect prom date.
Finally, after coming down from where they had bravely ventured, the guys rejoined me on the ledge. We were ready to scale the cliffs we’d descended and return to the world. It took fifteen minutes just to get me back up the closest rock face. The rope was again fastened around my waist. Each time I was ready to climb a few inches I yelled, “About one foot slack,” and then put my knee in another position while clinging desperately to the ropes as the boys pulled me upward.
After we made it over the cliffs we took a different exit route. This time we had to crawl uphill flat on our stomachs over sheer ice. This was no easy trick. This crawl-way abruptly stopped about ten feet above the floor of a small room. The only way to reach the floor was to climb down a log. Hesitant to begin, and with no idea where to put my feet, I decided to slide down. This would have been fine had I not caught my clothing. To this day, I don’t know how I got down that log.
I felt like an escaping convict. I had only one ice-coated rock cliff to climb and I was finally free. Did that ground ever feel good! The air was sweet, but the sun was the most precious sight of all. We had been caving for two hours this time.
I took a good look at myself and felt like crying, only I was too cold and beat. I was covered with mud, my hair was stringy and filthy, my legs were black and blue, and my hands were ruined, even though I’d worn gloves. Who had I been kidding? Me, prom material? This was no way to interest a guy in a date.
We quickly changed clothes, packed our gear, and started home. I slept the rest of the day and could have done so the entire week. I’d discovered muscles no physician knew existed. Climbing steps was murder; getting dressed was a family project; I limped for two days; and an insect on my knee made me scream in pain.
When I wasn’t sleeping, I hovered by the phone waiting. Wondering. Which of the brave spelunkers would be bold enough to make the call? I waited through the painful weeks ahead. Finally… an invitation. Had the ghastly experience been worth it?
Absolutely! I got my story. But no date. Not with a Spelunker anyway. With a wonderful boy from the other side of town who had never, ever seen, and never, ever would see me without my Villager skirts and sweater sets and an Aigner bag slung over my shoulder—except on prom night!
Coming Next...Another Prom Horror Story (a short one this time) and another clue for the Author Prom Quiz…!
Thank you for all the support you've given the Climbing Rose Young Adult line of The Wild Rose Press. Our stories are still available on The Wild Rose Press website, however, since we aren't publishing new stories, our blog is no longer active. We thank you again for the time you spent with us and invite you to visit our Climbing Rose bookstore.