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Topic: The Prom (08/02/04)
TITLE: LAST DATE
By Sylvia Spielman
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I was so glad I had finally lost weight. Dieting combined with six weeks of band clinic gave me a new body. I was no longer the brunt of fat jokes whispered behind my back. The cheerleaders sat with me at lunch. The majorettes invited me to parties. Boys walked me to class. Life was certainly different. Life was wonderful.
My thoughts returned to the laughter-filled room as Alan** handed me a glass of punch. Janis Joplin was screaming, “take another little piece of my heart, now Baby,” over the loudspeakers. “Let’s find a seat,” Alan said. My blue satin dress rustled as I sat down. I centered my cup on an ocean-theme napkin and self-consciously straightened my dress. The strobe light turned slowly in the center of the room.
Friends filtered back and forth from the dance floor. The guys jabbed, “Hey, Man, are you gonna’ dance?” Alan shook his head. Finally as the lyrics of “The Age of Aquarius” drifted across the room, Alan took my hand. He wrapped his arms around my waist and I placed my hands on his shoulders. He pulled me close. Our feet shuffled back and forth with no sense of rhythm.
As the song ended Alan led me back to the table, but didn’t let go of my hand. A few of the guys decided to “go get a smoke.” With their dates in tow, they headed for the smoking area outside. We joined the entourage. After a while the group dwindled as some went inside and others to cars parked behind the gym. Alan moved toward his car. “Where are we going?” I asked. Alan winked. “Let’s sit out here for a while.” I blindly followed.
We climbed in the driver’s side. Alan placed his arm behind me as butterflies filled my stomach. I felt so beautiful . . . so wanted. He leaned toward me and kissed me. He kissed me again -- this time his hands wandered. I was uncomfortable with his advances. I told him I wanted to go back inside. “No one will know,” he said, “come on . . .” I slid to the passenger side and smoothed my dress. “Alan we need to go back inside, my Dad said he might come by,” I lied. Alan mumbled a few chosen words and jerked the door open. “Come on, let’s go!” and slammed his door. He walked heatedly toward the gym. I got out and ran behind him. When I reached his side he pulled his arm away from me.
We sat silently at the table. I wanted to cry . . . I wanted to run away . . . I wanted to die. The drive home was silent. Alan stopped in front of my house staring toward the front of the car. I waited for a response that never happened. My father wanted to know why Alan had not walked me to the door. I told him he had gotten an emergency message from his parents. I couldn’t tell Daddy what had happened – I was ashamed and embarrassed.
Monday classes started as usual. Homeroom was full of talk about the prom. Girls whispered about close dances and tender kisses -- boys laughed about who got drunk. I sat silently wondering if Alan was still angry. I saw him in the hall several times, but he never looked my way. By lunchtime my best friends were hounding me with questions. Alan had told all his buddies he and I had gone further than just a kiss. A terrible rumor was running through the school and I was devastated. My friends told me not to worry about someone who would tell such a lie. I tried not to cry, but it was hopeless. Once again, I wished I were dead.
It took many years for me to understand why Alan was angry that night, and why he had lied to his friends. I was finally able to forgive the young boy who tried to taint my reputation in order to salvage his own. However, I did not date again for over a year, and I absolutely NEVER went to another prom!!
** The name has been changed.