If you haven’t read the beginning of this story, please begin with Part 1, Prom Preparation.
The limo dropped me off and I watched as my family flooded down the stairs to open the Kapu. I peered back and the driver shot me an evil stare as he drove away. I sighed, but before I could even inhale, my mother started asking questions. Anyu always asks a lot of questions, but never listens to the answers because she is too busy thinking of the next question. I ignored her, sauntered into the bathroom, and shut the door.
For about a half-hour, I chiseled layers of makeup off my face as she bombarded me with questions through the door. “Stephie, vhat are you doink in dere? Did you see Jordan? Vas he wit hiss new girlfriend? Does she look fat? Stephie, don’t git soap in yer eye. Do you tink he still vants you? Vas his new girlfriend very heavy? I tink he still luffs you. Did you git soap in yer eye? Stephie…”
I plopped into bed and set my alarm for 8 a.m. Although the prom was a total bust, I couldn’t wait to go down the shore with all my friends in the morning. Though some miracle, Anthony’s mom convinced my mom that she would make sure I hung out on the boardwalk, far way from the deep, dark, dangerous ocean. You see, the problem is that I can’t swim.
When I was 13, Anyu signed me up for swimming lessons after one of my teachers yelled at her for being too overprotective. So, there I was, the only 5’foot 8” girl in a 4-foot deep swimming pool with a bunch of three-year-swimming laps around me. Sadly, I actually flunked out of the class because I refused to “jump” into the pool from the side; I was convinced that my lungs would fill with water, my eardrums would explode, the water would hold me down, and I would be unable to resurface. So, instead of sending me to more lessons, every time I went on a school field trip, Anyu simply made a large note on the “Allergies” section of my permission slip: “Stephanie, she cannot swim, don’t let her drown,” next to a drawing of a curly-haired girl swimming with an “X” through it. I don’t even HAVE curly hair.
I woke up the morning of Prom Weekend and immediately ran to the bathroom to get ready. As I was brushing my teeth, Anyu swung open the bathroom door without knocking and pinned the cordless phone to my ear. “Hew-whoa?” I said, my mouth full of minty paste.
I heard Allen’s pre-pubescent voice on the other line. “Hey, it’s me.”
I spit the toothpaste into the sink. “Oh, hey…I’m almost ready, should I bring the soda in a cooler or do you already have one?”
“Well, uh, don’t worry about it, see, I don’t think we’re going.”
“Yeah, some stuff came up, and uhhh, yeah, I think we’re just gonna hang out today, just the guys, but we’ll go down to the shore later on in the summer. Okay, I gotta go, my mom is calling.”
I stood holding the phone in one hand, with my toothbrush still partially hanging out of the side of my mouth. I immediately called Crystal, hoping she would still want to hang out and save me from yet another weekend with my family. Alas, I got her answering machine. I left a desperate message and glumly sat down to play some Sega games.
My mom stood over me with her hands on her hips. “Vhat are you doing? Don’t just sit dere! Vhile you vait, go outside with grandma.”
“Go outside with grandma” always meant “manual labor.” Nagymama kept a large vegetable garden in the back of our one acre yard, and I was in charge of getting the water from spicket at the front of the house to the garden. I begged my mom to just buy a hose, but she always said “A hose is too much, I don’t vant to vaste vater.” I probably wasted more water carting overfilled buckets to empty into Nagymama’s leaky watering can than if I had ran a garden hose from New Jersey to China.
So, I spent the entire afternoon trying to keep the buckets of water from soaking through my shoes, wondering where the hell everyone was. It wasn’t until Monday that I heard what really happened: The boys decided to ditch all the girls because they didn’t want to people to assume we were their girlfriends, thus ensuring that they would “bang some hot chicks” down at the shore. I don’t know if any of you guys have ever seen the Jersey Shore, but I don’t think any “hot chicks” frequent the area, unless you like chicks that wear hideously big plastic earrings to match their hideously big plastic hairdos.
“I’m so sorry,” Crystal said as we piled books into our lockers, “I was so pissed about the whole thing, I just went off-roading with my brother and didn’t even think to call you. What did you end up doing all weekend?”
I sighed. “I helped my grandma water her vegetable garden so that she could grow more crap to put in her famous ‘letcho,’ which is basically over-boiled tomatoes, peppers, and rice.”
“Oh, so THAT’S what smelled-up the limo the other day!”
Dammit. I hate Letcho.