Please see Part 1: Prom Preparation and Part 2: The Promenade before reading this.
Once we arrived at the prom, the boys got out first to help their dates out of the limo. When it came to my turn, I reached for a hand, but my date was nowhere in site. I looked over and there he was with Jordan Sanders – my evil ex-boyfriend.
Jordan was my very first boyfriend, and we broke up after five months because “he went into depression.” During our relationship, I had developed fascination with Vlad Tepes since my mother had just informed me that we were Transylvanian (and not 100% Hungarian like my father claimed).
In addition, I started studying many religions, including Islam, Judaism, and Wicca. Jordan’s friends knew all of this information decided that I was the reason for his depression. They told the entire school that, “I put a Wiccan curse on him because I was nothing but an evil satanic vampire that sacrificed chickens.” No kidding.
The irony of all of this was that I was actually a devout Christian AND a vegetarian at the time, so the last thing I was interested in doing was “Sacrificing Chickens”. In retrospect, I think the whole thing was some act of aggression because I refused to participate in sexual activities (or chicken sacrificing) with Mr. Sanders. Immature high school drama BS, yanno?
So, of course, on this day of all days, I did not want to see Jordan and his entourage. His moron best friend Chip, a squat little man with a voice reminiscent of “Nelson” from the Simpson’s, pointed his finger at me.
“Whatchu doing here, Step-On-Me You-ASS?!” Chip snorted. My date looked slightly conflicted, but did nothing to help me.
“I’m sorry, what did you call me?” I asked, as I walked closer. This was not new teasing – I had been called “Step-on-Me” instead of “Stephanie” and “You-Ass” instead of “Yuhas” for as long as I could remember. Crystal trailed closely behind me; she must have known that this was not going to be good.
Chip continued his teasing, “You heaaaard me, Step-On-Me, You-Ass!”
So, I did as he told me to do: I placed one high-heeled foot directly on his and stomped down as hard as I could. Sure, it was immature. But you should’ve seen the look on his face.
“YOU BITCH!” he screamed, as he jumped in place holding his foot.
“You keep saying “Step-On-Me,” so I simply obliged.”
Surprisingly enough, even Jordan laughed at this remark. But Jordan’s and Chip’s dates were not pleased and rushed them inside. Crystal shook her head. “Wow, that was random and unnecessary. But awesome.”
My date sat down next to me and immediately started devouring his dinner roll. I was worried that he was mad about the Chip incident, but he simply complained about his retail job and then asked if I wanted my bread. I was relieved – sharing food usually implies friendship. He must have been really hungry though, because he even stole a roll from the empty seat next to us and snagged Crystal’s piece because she was “dieting.”
Meanwhile, my friend Ian stopped by the table and I was thrilled to see him. He was an interesting blend of an athletic ROTC (Reserved Officer Training Corps) guy and a complete socially inept nerd. He wasn’t even bad looking, but he wore a trenchcoat (which had its own stigma in high school) and spent most of his days creating duct-taped swords for RPGs (Role Playing Games). This, unfortunately, did not score many points with the ladies, but I always thought he was a pretty funny dude.
As Ian and I were talking I noticed that Allen had disappeared. “Tony, where’s Al?”
Tony barely looked up from the intricate Anarchy symbol he was drawing on the tablecloth. “He’s upchucking in the bathroom or something.”
“I dunno, he ate too much.”
“He doesn’t know when to stop eating? What is he, a goldfish?”
Tony gave me a mild shrug.
Ian gave me an awkward glance. “So, uh, do you wanna go dance or something instead of sitting here?”
I timidly walked with him to the dance floor. It would have been too awkward to slow dance, but I knew I could survive if a fast song came on because of the few Spanish dance classes I took freshman year. I was releaved when some early 90’s techno song came on. We danced for two or three songs and for a moment, I forgot myself –
Until my oversized top fell down.
It was only for a split second, but that second was long enough for my buddy Ian to glimpse his first set of real-live female breasts. See, I’m a good friend, right?
After the prom was over, we walked out into the cold night. Most of the girls were wearing their date’s jackets, but I was left alone and bare-shouldered. Allen walked about 50 feet away from me, clutching his stomach & looking kinda green. I was glad to not be wearing his vomit-filled jacket.
I heard footsteps behind me and felt a jacket go over my shoulders. Ian had ran out to give me his jacket. I muttered a thank you and shrugged into the coat. I was mortified and couldn’t even look him in the face. As I was about to enter the limo, I handed the jacket back to him without looking over at him, and looked for a corner to crawl into to die.
My prom-mates laughed and carried on in the limo and I sunk into myself. “Why did I even come?” I thought,”What a disaster.”
As we pulled away, I glanced through the back window. Ian was still standing on the corner, smiling sweetly and waiving “Goodbye”. I tried to waive back, but he probably couldn’t see me through the tinted window. He graduated the next week and never saw him again.
It’s not until now, ten years after the fact, that I can truly appreciate that moment. Actual friends ask you to dance when you’re afraid of the music. Real friends offer you a jacket on a cold night, even if you don’t ask for one. True friends stick by you, even when “your top is down”.
Thanks, Ian, wherever you are.. You rock 🙂
And Finally…Part 4: Prom Weekend.