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Prom Here To Eternity

STARGAZER wants me to be his date for the Senior Prom.  In this case, “senior” refers to a spunky set of revelers who wrote their last term papers in 1961. “I know this is a lot to ask,” he says in an email.  “Other people’s high school reunions are pretty deadly, but it would mean a lot to me if you’d come.”

Do Or Die Fashion Choices

I choose a prim black dress with a jacket that hides my “bingo arm” flab.  I go with simple gold earrings and conformist sandals, assuming wrongly that a room full of Minnesotans is a room full of L.L. Bean.  As it turns out, most of the women are wearing diamond jewelry, and quite a few appear proudly in sleeveless dresses with no trace of upper arm jiggle.

Stargazer looks terrific in a tux, despite being 50 pounds overweight. He’s got sparkle and style, and he steers me through the crowd, introducing me with an air of casual nonchalance.  I wonder why even those he refers to as close friends seem surprised, even shocked, to see me on his arm.

ballroom dancing

The band is a good one, and the musicians play a mixture of contemporary tunes and oldies from the 50’s.  STARGAZER is an awful dancer, but because he’s a musician he has a good sense of rhythm; his heart is in it, and his happiness is contagious. “What the heck,” I think, swaying with the band’s rendition of Love Me Tender. “Nobody knows me here. I can dance any way I want to.”

When it’s time to powder my nose I make my way through the crowd, smiling at people to whom I’d been introduced and receiving strangely unresponsive glances in return. The door to the ladies’ room opens to a vestibule seating area, where two women are bending anxiously over a huddled figure. They raise their eyes as I enter and look at me with what seems like contempt.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

As soon as I lock the door to my stall, the two women begin to talk about a party crasher, a brazen foreigner who has insinuated her way into an otherwise jolly group of friends.  When I emerge to wash my hands, one of the pair, a short blonde wearing a green sequinned sweater, fixes me with an icy stare and mouths, “how can you do this?” 

Mad as Hell

It comes to me that the seated figure is a woman scorned, evidently by STARGAZER.  I breathe in sharply, incline my head toward her, and look inquiringly at the blonde, who nods haughtily. I want to say something, but I can’t think of anything that won’t make matters worse. To say, “I’m sorry” seems both empty and condescending.  Anyway, for what am I sorry? — for being used unknowingly by STARGAZER to hurt someone who cares this deeply for him?            

I exit the ladies’ room quickly, and without saying a word. As the door closes I hear the blonde say scornfully to her tearful companion, “Ooooh, honey, you are SO much NICER than SHE is.”

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'Prom Here To Eternity' have 3 comments

  1. April 22, 2012 @ 2:36 pm Alicia

    I would never have put myself in this position. A man who has respect for you wouldn’t have asked you to do this, either. What a nightmare! I’m sorry you had to go through this. What happened to your relationship with this man?

  2. October 3, 2011 @ 1:17 pm MsPreserved

    Did you date this guy after this?

  3. July 18, 2010 @ 10:27 am Celestial Bean

    I went to my 40th reunion last year and expected a lot more than I got. The wives of these old geezers were literally throwing their bodies between me and their husbands because they knew I was single. One of these women actually interruped an old flame and me when we were on the dance floor and dragged him away. It was funny in a sad sort of way.


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