The day of the big night arrived. That's when the problems started happening. My Dad was supposed to send me to TJ's house and on the way we'd stop to pick up the flowers at the florist. But the car had a flat tyre so I had to take a taxi instead. I picked up the flowers and then it took me a while to find another taxi. God only knows what I looked like lugging around my suit and the bouquets at the same time.
Eventually I arrived at TJ's house, out of breath and sweating. A few other guys were there as well; we were supposed to head out together. After getting showered and dressed and ready we played some games on the good'ole Playstation before finally heading out to the hotel. I met Adilyn there, presented her with her bouquets and corsage while she helped put mine on. We took some pictures; my camera battery died after a few shots. And pretty much after this point things went bad.
Prom was starting soon so Adilyn headed down to the ballroom with everyone else. A friend of mine; lets call him Andy was still waiting in the hotel lobby for his date, Braelyn. So I decided to stay back at the lobby with him. Braelyn arrived about fifteen minutes late; we all headed to the ballroom and had to sneak in. The lights in the ballroom were dimmed and everyone was seated at their tables and eating dinner.
Andy, Braelyn and I eventually reached our respective tables and I found one of the Year 12's sitting in my seat and eating my dinner. Now a more aggressive person would have confronted him, yelled and/or given him a kicking. I'm not that type of person; when someone is being an asshole towards me I just keep quiet and try to remain calm. Usually it's when someone is being an asshole to the people around me that I react.
The wise guy eventually moved back to his own table to eat his own food after eating half of mine and I sat down in my seat. I didn't even get to eat any food! I didn't really talk to anyone on my table. And the strange thing was that I didn't even talk to Adilyn. The alarm bells were already ringing in my head. I just sat quietly in my seat slightly on edge, waiting for the music to start so that maybe I could get that slow dance with Adilyn and salvage the rest of the night.
Everyone finished their dinner, the music came on and finally the song for the slow dance started. That's when I got up to ask Adilyn for a dance; I remember feeling very nervous and that my heart was beating so fast. “This IS IT!” I told myself. She said yes and we both went on to the dance floor.
I ended up making a mistake because I was so high-strung. I put my arms on Adilyn's shoulders instead of around her waist. I quickly corrected myself and we had only taken a few steps when I stepped on Adilyn's toe. We stopped dancing and she looked at me and then walked off the dance floor. That was it. I didn't see her for most of the night.
At the point that I realized that Adilyn wasn't coming back I was pretty depressed. Whatever little confidence I had built up disappeared at that moment. I was feeling dejected. I've been punched in the stomach before but getting my heart broken was a lot more painful.
Most of the ballroom was now dark except for the dance floor. So I found myself an empty table and just sat down watching all the other couples dance together. “Why can't I have that?” I thought to myself. I finally knew the meaning of the phrase “having the wind knocked out of you.” I spent the rest of the night going over what just happened repeatedly in my mind.
It's funny how things get amplified when you're a teenager. I was embarrassed. I felt like a loser and I was hating myself “How could I be such a fuckup?” It felt like the world was ending and I just wanted the ground to break open and swallow me up. I don't remember all the thoughts that went through my mind but it wasn't good. After some time I left the ballroom and hid out in the bathroom stall for awhile. Tiring of this I headed back to my empty table and sat in silence.
I do remember a few people coming up to me and checking up on me. At one point I ended up having a slow dance with Braelyn. She was just being nice. While we weren't really friends we always got along together fine in class. But it didn't feel right to me; it felt strange and awkward. I was pretty much on autopilot and once the song was done I went back to my seat. That was the only real dance I had that night.
TJ was the person that helped me the most. Or at least he tried his best to put up with my bullshit. He tried talking to me to get me out of the mood I was in and cheer me up. He even tried to get me back on the dance floor and dancing again. But I wasn't having it. I was a broken man. And later TJ protected me from some horrible information.
TJ saw some stuff that I had missed while I was sitting alone. A few years later after we both left for University he told me about it. I'm glad I wasn't aware of what was happening in the background that night. If it was possible to have been more devastated than I already was I just might have been.
TJ was back from the UK on holiday; we decided to meet up for breakfast and we were reminiscing about the past; he was glad I was doing fine and it was good that I managed to get over Adilyn's rejection on prom night. And then he told me what he saw and it felt as if I was reliving that horrible night again. Even then it was horrible hearing what he said; it was like getting punched in the gut a second time. TJ wasn't intentionally trying to ruin my day; he didn't know I would take it so badly. As far as he knew I was over the whole night. I guess I had always pretended to have gotten past it.
We've been discussing it again on Facebook recently and the following is how he described it to me from his point of view. “I mainly remember prom and how disappointed you were. I think I got most angry due to Adilyn's actions at prom. I saw how she was being incredibly inconsiderate and how her friends were helping her and they were laughing. It made me sick and it was at that point where I had absolutely no respect for her. I remember your face and how sad you were.”
According to TJ, Adilyn had some of her friends keep an eye out for me just in case I came looking for her, then they would tell her and she'd find another place to disappear to. If only she had known I was sat in my dark corner she could've saved herself a lot of trouble. Of course her friends couldn't have been great lookouts. I did end up bumping into her in the lobby. I don't know why but for some we reason we took a prom photo together. I ended up throwing the photos out a few years later.
Of course prom wasn't a total loss. I knew my best friend was looking out for me (#bff). And I appreciated TJ more for being such a good friend. He is my Simon Pegg while I'm his Edgar Wright. Towards the end of the night my mood improved slightly.
Before the end of prom TJ and I ended up taking a photo together and that's the one I still keep in a box filled with all my old pictures. I still cherish that photo. I look at that photo now and what happened that night doesn't hurt..as much. I was genuinely smiling when we took that picture. With Adilyn it was more of a forced smile. And I must say that TJ and I didn't look half bad in that photo. I still hate the fact that he's a few inches taller than me.
The night eventually came to an end and I found myself standing outside the hotel trying to figure out what I was going to do next. I had planned everything. Except how to get back home. I didn't have money for a taxi. What little money I brought with me had already been spent on the other taxis earlier in the day. I briefly considered walking home.
That's when Adilyn passed by in her car. She was with her parents and they offered me a lift home. As upset as I was by what had just happened I accepted the offer. I didn't look forward to getting mugged/murdered on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. We made some small talk but the drive home was mostly silent.
I got home and luckily my family wasn't awake to ask me how my prom went. They never asked how things went and I never gave them an explanation. They still don't know. Well..until now of course. I went up to my room and sat on the bed for a while. I turned on the radio and the song that was playing at that moment was Matchbox Twenty's “Unwell.” Which seemed really appropriate at the time. I took off my suit, had a shower and went to bed. And that was “Prom 2005” for me.
If I told you I walked away from that night completely unscathed I would be lying. After all, I'm writing this out eight years later; it's 2:30AM on my Birthday right now and I'm determined to finish this extremely long post (sorry) before I go to sleep. Hopefully writing this post out will help bring me one more step nearer to closure.
There was some drama between myself, TJ and Adilyn when the next term started. That's a whole other story. Adilyn and I didn't hang out any more after prom and we didn't really talk much like we used to. In our classes together she no longer sat with me. We avoided each other in the common room. But before we graduated we sort of became civil towards each other.
I have never fully recovered from that night. It took me years to regain that confidence again. And now more than ever I make sure to be careful about how I interact with women. I try hard to never overstep that boundary ever again and let myself get carried away with my feelings.
And I'm always in constant fear of misreading the signals. I'm still not very confident when it comes to talking to people; I'm more of a writer. And still to this day my confidence ebbs and flows like a wave. It usually happens right before I click the “Publish” button on my blog. But I just take it one step at a time.
For the next couple of years thinking about prom brought back bad memories for me. Not that I wanted to think about prom; I could be driving and the memories would resurface. And I'd grip the steering wheel a little tighter and take a deep breath. “God, you were such an idiot” is what usually went through my mind.
But that feeling faded away eventually. Now when I think of prom (like I did this week) I think about my friends and all the people who tried to make me feel better. And I never got angry with Adilyn, it's not her job to like me back for liking her. She is her own person. Though I wish she could have handled that night a little better. Besides, like I said before, when people tend to be assholes towards me I just keep quiet and try to move on.
Surprisingly TJ is still a little angry over what happened. ““I'm not sure why I still remember prom. Perhaps coz I hated people who hurt my friends” was what he said to me. And I understand his feelings; if the situation had been reversed I hope I would've been just a good a friend to him as he was to me.
And when TJ reads this post on this blog (which he does) I hope he can find some closure as well. For the record I love you, man. Not in that way; though there is nothing wrong with two men or women who do. Also I'm sorry I told everyone who is about to read my blog that I love you (#bromance).
Sigh..it's been a really long night. The way I try to deal with what happened is to think of it as a life lesson. Here are a few points that I learned:
- It took me a while to realize this but just because you're nice and you fancy someone it doesn't mean that you're entitled to have that person like you back
- There are 7 Billion people in this world. Chances are you will find someone who loves you back for who you are
- It's okay to be sad. Don't let it consume you. Remember, that it doesn't last forever
- You're probably going to get your heart broken more than once in life. Unless you're lucky and meet the right person the first time round
- And if you do get your heart broken and it feels like your world has ended. Remember that it hasn't. Get up. Keep calm. And carry on
- Sometimes in life there isn't a happy ending. Though there's nothing wrong in hoping that you might get yours
Wow..I sound like a self-help guru. I must be really tired now. It makes me want to delete all my bullet points but I won't. Some of you will probably roll your eyes at what you just read (I did). But maybe..just maybe, someone out there will take comfort in those corny phrases (I did as well).
So my plans for my prom night didn't go exactly as planned. I didn't get the dance. I didn't get the kiss. I didn't get the girl. I didn't even get dinner. I did get a suit; though I've never worn it since. I did get an awesome photo with my best friend. And as I type this sentence I think I got a little more closure. But most importantly of all, I gained a little wisdom.
|In case anyone is wondering..I'm the guy with the Beard|
P.S. As I clearly alluded to before in this post I just reached another milestone in my life. Thank you Facebook for your friendly birthday reminder; I just might have forgotten it without one.
I made it to 26 years on this Earth as of Friday the 23rd of August. It feels awesome! And while I'm still not really sure how things are going to turn out in my life I remain cautiously optimistic. Good night, I'm going to go get some sleep now. As always I want to say “Thank You” for taking the time to read this. And hopefully I'll have something for all you good people next week.