Thursday, February 5, 2015

Will you go to prom with me?

I was listening to the Moth podcast this morning and an Indian American was telling a story about how he was going to go to prom with his best friend and then her family forced her to go with a white guy. He was crushed when he showed up at her door hours before prom and the captain of the water polo team was there.

Although my prom was nowhere near as crushing as that, it was surrounded by the weirdest of circumstances, and everything (including me) did as much as possible to ruin the night.

For most of high-school, my three best friends were this group of girls. It was an interesting dynamic. All three of them were sort of tomboy-ish and I was a sensitive poet future rockstar. In the rare instances where they were doing each other's makeup or clothes shopping, I hung out with one of the girl's gay brothers and played video games.

The leader of our pack was my best friend and I had a hugeeeee crush on her.

It all started the first month of high-school. I was in a new city, new school district, I had a 7:15 am honors geometry class that I hated. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to go in my room, dress in all black, and listen to Korn and be pissed off.

She offered me a piece of candy and introduced herself. From that moment on, she had my undying loyalty.

Anyway, fast forward to senior year, 2003. We almost dated a half dozen times. The timing never really worked out. One of us always had a boyfriend or girlfriend.

I wanted to ask her to prom, but I also knew she sort of liked this other guy. I had sort of shrunk back and figured, "Well, maybe I can pick up an extra shift at work on prom night." I was going to let this goofy dude take my friend to prom.

And then something happened.

The girls started being really secretive. They were hanging out without me. They started skipping our Tuesday - Thursday college class with regularity. We no longer drove around aimlessly on the weekend, stopping at Steak N Shake for cheese fries.

I was regressed to my freshman year where I just wanted to fold inside myself.

Finally, I snapped and asked what was up. My best friend hesitated, and then quietly told me.

I was told that one of the girls, not my best friend, was an idiot. She had sex with her 22 year old boyfriend without protection and got pregnant. And since she was underage (17 at the time) and didn't want her boyfriend to go to jail and didn't want to have a baby at 17, the girls drove to Illinois one weekend and got an abortion. And all the days they were skipping school were check ups at the hospital down the street to make sure everything was OK.

I left my friends house because I had a shift at Bandannas. I felt like I had been kicked right in the stomach. I didn't know how to process things. My brain was swirling.

I arrived to work, dropped my keys off, and decided YOLO. I realized that adulthood was coming quick and soon, my concern for the other guy would mean nothing. I had recently signed a draft card and we were going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. My short life could be over soon.

I called my friend right there and asked her to prom. I caught her severely off guard. She sort of said, "Ummm, I'm not sure. Can we talk about it later?"

Skip ahead a week and next time I saw her, I asked her in person, she said yes.

I went and rented a tux. Now most of you probably didn't know this about me, but I'm not much for formal wear. I had no idea what I was doing. I asked the guy at the mall tux rental place what a good tux was and he essentially rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, you want generic black prom tux."

I showed up to my friend's house and she looked gorgeous. I had made the right choice. She apologized profusely that she didn't look better, but apparently she had to do everyone else's hair all day and didn't have time for hers. She was in a terrible mood from the get go.

This is where the story speeds up because so much happened, the details were lost.

Then we arrived at the prom. Now another thing you might not believe about me is that I'm a terrible dancer. I'm fine for a few seconds, then I start over thinking keeping the rhythm, and then things get really white boy. So we have a couple awkward dances.

My friend's younger sister was also at the prom. She decided to take caffeine pills and wash them down with soda for some dumb reason. So she starts freaking out, and sweating, my date goes to the bathroom with her and is giving her water. Me and the sister's date awkwardly stand there wondering what's happening. We end up leaving prom early.

We go to a house party somewhere around Busch Wildlife. It's a pretty good party. I have a few beers. Everyone at the party does dumb highschool drinking where they are chugging cheap vodka and dropping Skittles into wine coolers. Things get out of hand. Then I walk in on my friend, smoking cigarettes with my only nemesis in all of highschool, and I lose it.

"How can you? This guy is a ... lot's of cursing happened here." Basically, I blew up over a cigarette. We all passed out, woke up the next morning, drove the 30 minutes back home not talking.

The prom hangover lasted about 7 days, and then things were back to basically normal in our small group.