I had meant to write about these, even before I discovered the memory laden goldmine that is facebook. Having a flood of vivid, and at at times, traumatic memories is simply a bonus. It is interesting to think that some (or many) who lived these same events may, in fact, read my interpretation of them. However, I will convey people and events exactly as I perceived them, sparing the feelings of none, as I always have.
I attended my senior prom, and then I attended the prom the following year with the younger sister of a close friend. Of course, those who know me well enough know that I attended one more, some years later. I have decided to tell each story separately, and perhaps in the last case, not at all.
So without further delay, my senior prom.
Tobas, circa 1996.
Some say that the passage of years softens perspective. Events are re-interpreted, usually in contrast to current matters. This inevitably leads to a shrug and some concession such as, “Eh, it wasn’t that bad, I guess.” Please reader, bear in mind that the last decade or so has not been very easy. A marriage, a divorce, bankruptcy, and two young children that still are simultaneously my greatest joy, and the very definition of heart-sickness.
Despite these things, and the many I did not mention, my senior year of high school was god-fucking awful. I can still keenly remember the awful, empty feeling I had walking the hallways. I didn’t know it at the time, but my hyper-awareness was my own exaggerated sense of self-importance, it should have occurred to me much sooner that very few people, if anyone, were concerned with me in any way. It is safe to say the bulk of time which encompassed my middle, and high school years, were an emo pit of blackness and despair that would make even the most hardcore my chemical romance fan envious.
Wait, wait, wait. You knew like, a billion people (seems that way from facebook), you were captain of the wrestling team, and you had friends in all circles of high school society. I’m not buying your guyliner worthy lamentations.
Alright, I’ll admit, it certainly didn’t look very black from the outside, to most I would say. But I think I can throw some perspective on here. For starters, most people knew who I was primarily because I was trailing the large athletic shadow my older brother had left for me. Not to mention, half the girls in the school tickled their little kayakers to him, including pretty much every girl I tickled myself to. I never weighed more than 120 lbs in the entirety of my high school career. Skillful wrestling aside, I was hardly an impressive and robust looking teenager. My confidence reflected that knowledge, and this is why I dated only one girl the entirety of my scholastic career.
I can recall that year better than most. Aside from the aforementioned misery, I spent the entire year suffering from a never-ending bout of conjunctivitis. Normally, this would entail a trip to the doctor for some drops, and viola! No more morning crusty eye. However, having no health insurance made this difficult, and the little treatment I did scrounge up was altogether quite useless. I wore sunglasses as much as possible, and led many professors and likely my coaches to believe that I was as high as most of the other students in class. Ironically, I had not even smoked a cigarette in earnest yet, much less a joint.
It was spring when this story starts, and the wrestling season, my final one, had just concluded. It was always a relief at first, to be able to eat whatever I liked again, but after a couple of weeks of gorging on assorted unhealthy meals, I would inevitably become morbidly depressed. To make matters worse, the season ended on a quite a low note, with my last match ending in a loss to a guy I had beaten previously. It was a bad loss, I was completely dominated, and even worse, I knew I had cashed it in anyway. Starved, and massively dehydrated, I simply crumbled. So that was it, my swansong, and it was a headfirst tailspin. A decade of punishing my body, to have it end like that. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
I knew the moment I walked off that mat that I would never wrestle again, not for anyone.
With more time and adequate nutrition, I gradually turned my thoughts to the upcoming prom. Chiefly, who could I find that would go with me to it. In retrospect, I suppose asking more people would have saved me a lot of trouble and youthful angst, however, despite having a short list of candidates, I did not ask anyone. I was terrified of rejection in general, the possibility of asking someone to prom and getting a no was simply too much for my delicate psyche to bear, so instead I watched as others made their plans and gradually thinned my candidate pool to zero.
My candidate list read as follows,
(I left last names out on purpose. If you read this, you know who you are)
I only said anything to Lauren. She was a very sweet girl with a beautiful smile. It was a roundabout way to ask, more of a, “well, if you wanted to go, I don’t have a date yet so, um, you could go with me…” She had already been asked and she told me so. Even though she was predictably nice about it, I was crushed regardless, and decided right then and there to forgo the rest of the candidates altogether.
Nevertheless, I still needed a date.
About two months prior to the prom, I had begun seeing a girl from Massapequa named Genene. It mostly consisted of her driving to my house to awkwardly fool around, or hanging out in her black jeep wrangler to awkwardly fool around. Both of these things happened fairly infrequently, so by the time the prom was about three weeks out, we had not seen or spoken to each other for almost a month. I decided not only to call her, but add to the awkwardness of the conversation by asking her to prom. I could tell she had already dismissed me from her mind from her tone, however, she agreed to be my date. The most likely scenario is that she read between the lines, and took pity on me. Regardless, I was no longer a dateless loser, which relieved me immensely.
Next was the issue of the limo. I had always imagined going in a limo with my best friend, and a few others. A happy group, a tight knit bunch. My friend had turned to drugs late the year before, and he was deeply entrenched with the hydroponically inclined. As a result he ended up in one of the cool people limos, full of fun and exciting substances that I was way too lame to indulge in comfortably. So, after asking, and then pleading, I managed to wheedle my way into a limo with a sometimes friendacquaintance Troy. We had a few things in common, chief among those was having to exist in the shadow of a big brother with a larger than life reputation. We hated everyone, secretly of course. This shared disdain provided hours of distraction from the learning process and therefore was a good thing.
I will now take a moment to address the issue of candidate number one.
Being my ex-girlfriend, and of course, being that I still had some pretty intense feelings for her. One would think, that I would have immediately approached her. This was simply not an option. I had burned her too badly, and not to mention, she had been locked up as date for a mutual friend (see prior entry entitled “Danielle Saga 2”). But yes, it would have been something akin to a dream, had I been able to take her.
So, the fateful day approached, and I went to a tuxedo rental shop in merrick owned by the relative of a friend (The store subsequently went out of business, so yes, I still have that tux somewhere). I picked out my generic, shiny vested tuxedo, and with my glistening hard plastic shoes in tow, headed home.
To be continued…