Thanks to YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday this week for an excellent prompt: Prom.
It was junior prom, and I was oddly excited about the whole thing considering I was sort of anti-school activities. I was one of those kids. My best friend had gone the year before and she wore this poufy blue dress and clear heels, like Cinderella except that this friend wasn’t poor or down-trodden at all, she was actually pretty well off. I envied the dress and the “glass” slippers, just a little. Enough to want my own eventual prom to be a sort of Cinderella moment of my own.
I had a serious boyfriend at the time, and we were happy and perfect, so I really just needed a dress and I couldn’t understand why my parents refused to spend over $200 on a purple sparkly number that I was drooling over. I found The Dress on my lunch break, at JC Penny. I was convinced that, because of the corset-lacing on the back, I could totally pull off strapless without a bra (later, my photos would profess that I did not pull it off). After begging and prodding, my parents were still poor and so I ended up financing the gown with my paycheck from Sears. I’d totally wear it again, so it was worth it.
Two weeks before prom, my boyfriend broke up with me. I don’t remember his exact reason, but I do remember that it was a preemptive break-up. We had a really good thing going, and he wanted to end it on a high note just in case we ended up fighting a bunch and having a big, messy break-up months down the line. He referenced the fact that we were both Leos, and a Leo-Leo match often ends in explosive drama. He was the closest I had come to true love–I even looked the other way when he threw up Goldschlaggers on my bare leg that one time. Like my parents and the dress, I begged and prodded him, but he still broke up with me so I had a gorgeous dress and no date. My begging/prodding skills obviously needed work.
I took to AIM and vented to anyone who would listen. One of the listeners was the ex-boyfriend of one of my friends–we’d become good friends after they’d broken up. He sympathized, and since he was older and had no prom of his own to attend, offered to be my date. It was so late in the season that he was stuck renting a really weird–almost priest-like–tux, which I would find out later cost him a ridiculous amount of money and forced him to make his first (and only) late car payment. We went out to dinner in a big group, and then spent approximately thirty minutes at the actual prom. It was super-lame, the decorations were boring, but there was a kid that got wasted and was doing the worm.
Afterward, we attended a crowded, smelly party. There was music and beer, among other things. One of my friends, pale and drenched in sweat, was running all around the house making people listen to the Beatles, because he literally COULD NOT listen to anything else at that moment, oh my God you guys, for real. I lounged in one of the bedrooms, smoking cigarettes and trying to inch my way closer and closer to a totally different boy that I wanted to make-out with, while my friend-date wandered around, lonely as a cloud. I was sort of a bitch, I’ll admit it. But I was a hurt, depressed, lonely bitch, if that makes up for any of it. And I didn’t end up making out with the different boy OR my date. Or anyone at all.
I hung out with friend-date a few times after prom, but then we lost touch. Years later, friend-date and I ran into each other when I was working at the now-defunct Linens-n-Things. I was folding towels and he was shopping for blinds with his sister and her kids. It was love at first [fiftieth? sixtieth?] sight. We totally made out a few days later, and I realized that I probably should have been inching closer to him at the afterparty. We got married two years later and I still haven’t worn my purple sparkly prom dress again.
So, uh, how’d your prom go?