Thursday, August 21, 2008
Prom - Be Careful What You Wish For…
I wanted my senior Prom to be memorable. I got my wish, though it wasn’t what I was hoping for.
I was dressed and ready for Prom! Unfortunately, Chris was already half an hour late picking me up. I called his house but his Mom said he left about half an hour ago. It usually takes about half an hour for Chris to drive into Frederick so I thought I should give him a few minutes. In the mean time Giggles calls my house “Why are you still home?! We need to get going!” I explained the situation and she said in a huff “Well, hurry up and get over here. Don’t waist time taking photos at your house. You can take photos at the Prom.” She called every ten minutes with the same attitude. “Maybe he stood you up. Did you ever think of that?” Actually, I had never been stood up before but “No, Chris wouldn’t do that! He knows this is important to me. He wouldn’t be able to show his face again in Frederick if he did that.” I was starting to wonder what happened to him. Now he was an hour late picking me up. Just as I was about to take my dress off and cry in my room the phone rang. It was Chris! Poor guy, his beautiful car broke down on a deserted part of the highway. He had to walk to the nearest city and call for a ride home. He also had to arrange for a tow truck. Before calling the tow truck he called me knowing I must have been freaking out.
New dilemma. Chris now had no car which meant we needed a vehicle. There was no way I was going to Prom in my car, AKA the Bomb. Why the nick name “Bomb”? It ticked and smoked but hey it got me from point A to point B. I talked to my parents. There was a lot of begging, groveling and maybe promises to put a new roof on the house or something equally impossible for me to do. Finally, Dad gave in and said I could take his Ford LTD. Yeah! It was a nice sedan and far better than my car. Problem was, Chris said he wouldn’t drive my parent’s car. GREAT! Not only did I miss showing up in Chris's fab car, I would also have to Drive to my own Prom. I was the Girl! I was suppose to be driven to the Prom by my Date. Ugh! Wait, we could still ride in the limo with the rest of the Angels.
Ok, I call Giggles to let her know what happened to Chris and that I was on my way to pick him up. She said it would take to long and they were NOT going to wait for us if we were late. “The limo is already here! You have 30 minutes! Hurry up!”
I hung up the phone and ran out the door. I drove as fast I could to Chris’s house. Then I realized, I had only been to his house once before. I got a little lost so I had to stop at a payphone to call him for directions. Yes, there I was outside a busy grocery store, on a pay phone, in my Prom dress. Chris told me “Take a deep breath Heather, you are practically around the corner from my house.” Off I went and finally I arrive at his house.
Before I knocked on the door Chris opened it. I was so relieved to see him. He was all ready to go…almost. “Chris, I am so sorry I was frantic on the phone. I know you are doing Ronnie and me a big favor by coming with me…” He cut me off “Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further. I am not doing this as a favor for Ronnie or anyone else. We are going on a date. You and I. This is a real date. Not like Giggles’ date. A real date. Got it?” I was standing on his front door step with my jaw gaping and in complete shock. Was he kidding me? Was he giving me an ultimatum at the very last second? Oh this was so not happening to me.
We were already late, I needed to hurry things along. I smiled at him sweetly and said “Ok, this is a date. We better move it or we will miss it.” With that we racing down the highway. Chris had never been in a car with me before and this was so not the day to introduce him to my crazy woman driving. He white knuckled it all the way back to Frederick. He might have thrown out a few curse words here and there but he survived.
Yeah! We finally made it to Giggles house! Her Mom explained that they left after I called her the last time. I asked her Mom where the restaurant was located and she gave me some round about directions. “Once you get to 355 you should see it off on the right. It’s a very large building.” When we were back in the car Chris said “Isn’t that typical of your friend Giggles?” I looked over at him and gave him an angry stare “This is so not the time for that.” Half an hour later after driving up and down 355 several times we find the restaurant. There was valet parking but I decided to park the car myself. As valets ran after us behind the car Chris said “I don’t think you are allowed to park the car yourself.” To which I said “With the luck we have had already today I am not chancing a valet scratching up my Dad’s car.”
I parked the car and we walked through the enormous entry way. A very elegant older gentleman asked if he could help us. I told him our reservation was under Giggles last name. “I am sorry madam but that table is already full.” I wasn’t listening to him. I saw Giggles and the rest of the crew at a large table and walked right over. Sure enough the table was full. “Hi, we finally made it. Oh you wouldn’t believe all the things that happened so far tonight.” Then I looked around and there were three people at the table I didn’t know. I looked at Giggles and she said “Well, we thought you wouldn’t make it so we invited the limo drivers and one of the driver’s girlfriends.” “Giggles? You mean that you gave away our dinner reservations? On Prom Night?!" Not looking at all concerned she said “We had to have our full party here in order to be seated.”
Chris could see that I was getting upset so he lead me out of the restaurant. We got into the car and started to cry. Surprisingly, Chris was being very optimistic. “It’s ok. We will have dinner somewhere else. Just the two of us. You don’t really want to go back in there and have dinner with Giggles right now, do you?” I shook my head. “Well, come on. Start the car and we will find a restaurant.” We drove around for awhile but all the fancy restaurants required a reservation. Chris decided it was time to stop driving around “Pull in here.” I didn’t see it at first but there was a little Chinese restaurant on the bottom floor of the large office building we parked in front of.
I had never had Chinese food before. The closest I had was at Dao’s Vietnamese birthday dinner when she was 6 yrs old and I was in 7th grade. As we walked into the restaurant Chris could tell I was a little apprehensive. “Look at it as an adventure. All of your friends are eating the same old things they have always had. Stake and chicken. You, on the other hand, are going to be adventurous tonight.” That cheered me up. While the waitress lead Chris to the table I went to the powder room to fix my make up.
When I entered the dinning room I spotted Chris right away at a table next to the window. It was kind of hard not to miss the only person in the room wearing a tuxedo. As I walked past the other tables towards Chris I heard people whispering and gasping. The more they did this the faster I walked. I kept my eyes focused on Chris. As I approached our table he jumped to attention and held out my chair for me. When we were both seated I leaned over the table and whispered “Everyone is staring at us. Why?” Chris laughed softly and leaned across the tabl towards me “They have never seen anyone as beautiful as you before.” That made me laugh. I had forgotten that I was wearing my Prom gown. Still, everyone staring at us was making me a bit nervous. Chris had a solution. He took the two very large, leather bound menus and placed them at the end of the table creating a sort of privacy divider between us and the rest of the customers. We had to lean in over the table a bit but it was fun. Chris was holding both of my hands in his on top of the table “I promise, your Prom is going to be a great night to remember. We are not going to let any of this silliness of preProm affect the rest of the night, right?” I smiled and agreed. At this point I knew I had made the right choice in choosing him to take me to Prom.
Just then someone cleared their throat. We both looked up and there was the waitress staring down at us from above our menu partition. Chris told her we needed a few more minutes. She giggled and walked away. Now came the difficult part, what to order. Chris tried to explain the different dishes to me but I finally gave up. There were just too many choices so I told him to decide. Giving Chris the power to choose something for me, to be in charge…that had never happened before. He was thoroughly enjoying this.
From the list of things he said to the waitress you would have thought he was feeding a small army. The two things I remember most were the wonton soup and the lobster with shrimp sauce. When our food arrived I was a little skeptical but Chris encouraged me to at least try everything. He was right, nothing ventured nothing gained. This was an adventure after all. I really enjoyed the wonton soup which was part of the first course. The salad surprised me “Chris, the dressing tastes like …like peanut butter!” He laughed, you really haven’t lived have you? Did your parents raise you in a bubble? That must be it, you are related to Bubble Boy.”
When the main course came …lobster tail with shrimp sauce. I kept telling myself, be adventurous, be adventurous. The smell was overwhelming. I had never smelled anything that…awful. I looked over at Chris who was enjoying his lobster. “Come on, you have to at least try it Heather.” I took the tiny piece with the chopsticks Chris rigged up for me with the wrapper then covered my nose. Chris laughed at me. “It’s good. Trust me.” I was doubtful but determined so I took a bite. Oh my gosh! What to do! What to do! I started looking around the table and at Chris and the whole room. I needed a place to spit it out! Right NOW! I stood up and Chris pulled me back down “Look at me. Look at me Heather. Are you allergic to shellfish?” I shook my head, No. He grabbed my napkin and placed it over my mouth. “It’s ok, just spit it out.” I didn’t want to spit it out into the napkin but I had to get it out of my mouth. So, I did.
Chris handed me back my napkin and laughed a little “I can’t believe you just did that. It’s lobster.” “I’m sorry Chris. I don’t know why but I didn’t like it. It had this sort of oil in it.” He looked at me like I was crazy “There is no oil in it.” I am telling you I tasted something like an oil and it felt really weird. He looked at me intensely for a few moments then said “I thought you were a Navy Brat. Doesn’t that mean you grew up on the seashores? You have never had lobster before have you? Didn’t you eat seafood?” I thought about it for a minute then realized I had never had real seafood before. The closest to seafood I ever had was fish and chips. Sadly I said “They don’t allow us bubble people to have seafood.” Chris burst out laughing! At least you have a sense of humor about it. Sad that you cannot eat lobster though. Hand it over, we are not letting this go to waste.” He asked me over an over again if there was anything else I wanted to try instead. The bad taste in my mouth wouldn’t go away no matter how much sprite I drank so I was finished with food for the rest of the night.
While we were waiting for the bill a few couples had come over to our table. They bowed and said “Congratulations.” I giggled. “What do you suppose they are congratulating us for?” Chris said “Either they think we just got married or they were impressed that you did so well with your first lobster.”
The bill came and Chris paid the waitress. Just as I was starting to enjoy myself it started to rain. I didn’t have a coat with me and now I had to make a mad dash for the car. My poor dress, my hair and my make up would all be ruined. Then it was Chris to the rescue again “Give me your keys.” I was surprised since he was so adamant about not driving my parents car. “I will bring it around to the door but you need to drive the rest of the way.” I gave him the keys and waited by the front door. As he pulled up I stepped out under the small awning. He jumped out of the car and said “Stop right there. Don’t move!” He ran over to me, took off his tux jacket and turned it inside out. Then he put it over my head and said “Ok, now you can run.” That was incredibly sweet.
While driving back to Frederick Chris said “I know it’s unpleasant but we need to talk about the Prom. We are still going to O.C. with Giggles so we have to tolerate her tonight. We are not giving up a weekend at the beach which I already paid for.” I agreed. I could never stay really mad at my friends. I could see why Giggles did what she did because that is how she is and we were late. She wasn’t trying to be mean on purpose but I thought she could have been a little understanding when she spoke to me at the restaurant.
The Prom was beautiful! It was held at the Peter Pan Inn in Urbana. There was a large ballroom set up with tables, a dance floor and a live band. Outside of the ballroom were beautiful fountains, statues and gardens with small table sets. When we first arrived I looked for “our table” hoping my friends would still save us seat. Chris said not to worry if they didn’t as we would still have a great time. While I was handing over our tickets at the entrance Kay-Kay and Huggles ran over to us. “We are so, so, so sorry about what happened at the restaurant. Giggles told us that you said you couldn’t make it and you were going to meet us later at the Prom. Are you mad at us?” I looked at Chris then I said “Dinner is over. We had a great adventure of our own and it was nice to have dinner alone. Sorry we missed dinner with you but it’s ok. We still had fun.” Everyone smiled, Chris squeezed my hand signifying I said all the right things. With that we were lead to the table with the rest of the crew. Giggles was standing near the table and rushed over to hug me. “I’m so glad you are here! Isn’t this set up fantastic! Lets dance!” She pulled me out to the dance floor before I could even say hello. We Angels danced until we felt like we would drop from exhaustion. Then came a slow dance. Chris didn’t dance much to the fast songs but he made sure not to miss the slow dances. There was one time I was at the table cooling off and a slow song came on. I didn’t know where Chris had disappeared to but I was sure he didn’t run off and leave. I don’t remember who it was that asked me for that slow dance but I agreed. Just as we were heading for the dance floor Chris came back to the table with two drinks. He looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders.
They always seem to play two slow songs in a row but I only danced the first song with that guy and returned to table where Chris was waiting. I thought he would ask me to dance to the second one but he was sulking. “Well, if you are going to sulk I am going to walk around the gardens outside.” Chris retorted back “I guess you told him to meet you outside.” I coyly said “Chris, why don’t you come with me? You haven’t seen the gardens before.” Even that didn’t work. “No, I will be fine sitting here at the table alone.” If he was going to be like that there was nothing I could do so I went to walk around outside by myself.
While looking at the statues and fountains I thought about what I had just done. I shouldn’t have danced with that other guy. I did have a date. I wasn’t interested in that guy at all. I just thought I was being nice by dancing with him. Had I known Chris would be so upset by it I wouldn’t have agreed to dance with that guy. I thought after a little while he would cool off and things would be back to normal. In the mean time I took pictures of the statues and gardens. I thought of how beautiful the night turned out to be. The clouds disappeared, the stars were out and the moon cast a shadow on the fountains that made them seem like something out of a fantasy.
Just then someone walked up behind me and put their arms around me. It was Chris “You have been out here awhile. I wanted to make sure you were ok.” I leaned back against him and said “I am ok. I am sorry about the slow dance. I didn‘t think you would mind.” Chris rocked me back and forth then said “I do mind. I am your date tonight.” I turned around to face him “I am sorry and it wont happen again.” He smiled and said “I’m not letting you out of my sight again.” Then he tapped my nose lightly with his finger. We both laughed and went back inside.
The Prom was winding down. People started leaving for after Prom parties. The band took another break and let the DJ fill in. That is when the inevitable happened. It was the second slow song…I was already on the dance floor with Chris when it started to play…Crazy For You. At first I jerked away from Chris but he pulled me close. I started to cry. Ronnie wasn’t here. It should have been him dancing with me at my Prom to this song. If he had been my date nothing would have gone wrong all night. Everything would have been absolutely perfect.
Chris realized I was crying so he said over and over again “It’s ok. You are ok.” Then he kissed me. On the dance floor. In front of everyone! I pushed him away and ran outside. I didn’t know where to run to. There was no where to run to. Ronnie wasn’t going to magically appear around the corner. I slunk down into one of the garden chairs and cried my heart out. No matter what is going on in my world, when I hear that song I need to be near him. If I cannot be near him when I hear it then it feels like my heart is being ripped out. Then I realized I wasn’t sad, I was angry. I was angry that I wasn’t in Ronnie’s arms. I was angry that Chris was kissing me when I wanted it to be Ronnie kissing me!
Chris came out after me so did the Angels. Chris knelt down beside me saying how sorry he was and that he didn’t mean to upset me. “You were crying. I didn’t know what to do.” Giggles slapped him across the shoulder “She’s engaged you idiot! She doesn’t want you. She is in love with Ronnie!” I realized that Chris stood up to face Giggles. “Chris, don’t. Can everyone just stop fighting. I freaked out a little but I’ll be ok. Yes, I miss Ronnie. There isn’t anything I can do about it. Chris didn’t make Ronnie go into the Army. He didn’t make Ronnie cancel his leave…” Giggles cut me off “What? Ronnie canceled his leave?!” Oh no, I hadn’t planned on telling anyone that he canceled his leave. I only told them he couldn’t come to Prom.