Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Prom Narrative

To quote one of my favorite TV detectives (Monk):

Here's what happened...

     At approximately 9PM, I watch a few people going to the prom enter the common room; then I work up my courage and follow.  After showing my ticket and entering the commons area, I mention to a friendly adult chaperone that I had never been to prom before and ask, "what should I do?"  “Food is downstairs and the dancing is in the theater,” came the reply.  Okay, easy enough.  I go downstairs, where only a couple of people have gathered.  It is early, so early, that the party had barely started, and the only people I knew in the room were the adults.  I panic, pace-walk into the bathroom, slip out my phone, and call my 24-7 counselor (a.k.a. Mom) for guidance.  She reassures me, advises me, and encourages me to "get back on the battlefield."

     Okay, I can do this.  Go back out.  Look at the food, take a cookie, look around again for a friendly face, see not one, pace-walk back into the bathroom again.  It has been 5-10 minutes since I walked into prom.  I call Mom.  Poor Mom.  She was hoping to watch a TV episode at a friend's house.  Sorry Mom.
     Thank you Mom.  She reassures me again, advises me again, and encourages me again.  “Try dancing.”  Thank you again Mom.  I go to the dance floor.  It's beautiful: golden balloons, colorful lights, dancing music.  I watch and listen.  I move a little to the music.  Then the “Cha-Cha Slide” comes on.  Everyone joins in and dances to that.  So do I.
     The second song is a slow "romantic couple" song, but people still dance in groups.  I am not in a group.  I watch; I move to the beat; I try an experiment to see if the vibrations of the music through the floor change from place to place.
     A girl from a group saw that I was dancing alone.  She moves towards me and dances along, asking her group to include me.  I am thankful.  We dance a lively dance to a slow song, and it was fun, even though the tempo of the dance differs vastly from the song.  After two songs, the group dispersed.  I stand off to the side again, watching.
     A couple from running team sees me.  They invite me to dance with them.  I am lucky I have good friends like these – even though they are on a date with each other, but they still went the extra mile (!) to include me.  We dance for a song or two.
     About this time I start getting a little tired.  I stay for another song; then leave the dance floor to the commons area.  I take another cookie.  I look around.  Now there are a lot more people, but they look and sound a bit intimidating.  It's too noisy.  I panic, I pace-walk to the bathroom again.  Even the bathroom is hopping!
     I wait before calling.  It’s too noisy, not ideal for phone calls.  People here are having a good time.  The bathroom is also a place of touching up here and there, adjusting dresses, exchanging small gossips.  I know quite a few people there.
     "Oh, we went to so-and-so a restaurant.  Did you go anywhere?""Ooo, I love your hairdo!  How do you do it?""Your dress is fabulous!""Thanks, yours is too."
     The bathroom does clear itself in a couple of minutes, after all, the food and boys were outside.  I call Mom.  At least, she had 25 minutes of uninterrupted time!  I'm ready to go home.  She will be there in five minutes.  A girl from my class overhears me.  She waits patiently.  I finish the call as quickly as possible; I hope I don't seem rude.  She invites me to stay with her group.  I am lucky I have good friends.  I thank her, but decline in hopefully the most respectable way possible.  Everything is great, but I am too tired.  She smiles and says goodbye.
     I go out to confront the commons area once again.  It seems a little friendlier now.  I grab one more brownie.  Comfort food.  I need it.  I go upstairs.  More people are still flooding in.  Mom should be out in the parking lot by now.  Once I leave, I cannot be readmitted.  I am done anyways.  The building is suffocating me.
     Only outside in the nippy air, do I realize that it was hot inside.  The dark night is an indication of how late it was.  In the car, I collapse in the seat.  It is also way past my normal bedtime.  Mom and I visit the friend whose house Mom stayed at while waiting for me.  Both Mom and her friend praise me for be so brave, they never went to prom.  Maybe I am brave, but I can't see that while I am tired.  Maybe tomorrow, I will see and be a little bit braver on the social battlefield for it.