I remember waking up in my bedroom, twisted up in the sheets, light bleeding through the curtains of my room, grinning from ear to ear because today was the day. Today was prom day! I especially remember underestimating the skill it took first thing to jump out of bed, which ended with me tumbling helplessly onto the floor and prying my limbs individually out of the tangled cotton linen. But it didn’t matter because today was prom day. So I sat there, lying victoriously on top of the wrestled sheets, imagining how perfect and charming this day would be.
It turns out, prom was not exactly as picture-perfect as I dreamed in the hazy morning light of my bedroom. In this vision, I had everything aside from a pumpkin carriage worked up. I would begin the day of all days by getting ready, looking nothing short of absolutely stunning. I would take pictures with my equally stunning date, and eat a delicious dinner with all of my friends. We would time this dinner perfectly as not to show up to prom too early, leave prom at an equally perfect time as not to stay too late, and go midnight bowling. Our group would then feast on pancakes and eggs at home and stay up until the wee hours of the morning, talking the night away.
As you can guess, that’s not exactly how it happened. I began the day of all days Willy Wonka style, repping (or sporting) the orange foundation look. I then washed off my makeup and redid parts of my hair, barely in time for pictures. Except, it was cold outside, so everyone’s nose was brighter than Rudolph’s in every photo. We ended up sitting at dinner for a while wasting time, seeing as most of my friends ate mozzarella sticks to avoid bloating. Prom was loud, and the music was mostly electronic dubstep. It was definitely not going as planned, but we were still having a lot of fun, dancing the night away.
Between the blurry purple strobe lights and crowds of sweaty people, I realized I was dancing with people I didn’t want to be dancing with, and I was being invited to parties I knew I didn’t want to attend. It was sudden. Really, that’s the best way I could describe prom night—sudden. It was sudden that I morphed into an Oompa Loompa. It was sudden that the pictures were over. It was sudden that I was dancing with guys that weren’t my date. It was especially sudden that I was debating where to go after prom. I had my plan, but I certainly had many more choices that night: laughable, trainwrecks of ones I’m glad I didn’t make.
Prom is “A Night to Remember,” or at least that was our theme last year. It can be tempting to do things you think are worthy of remembering; things way out of your comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, prom is a very special night; a night you want to remember. However, in this world of choices, it seems people choose booze to make the night memorable, which is ironic, because if there’s any way to forget something, booze is the way to go. Whatever you choose to do after prom, just make sure you’re comfortable with it.
It turns out, what was comfortable to me was sticking to the original plan. My friends and I went bowling, we drove home and feasted on breakfast food, and we talked until the wee hours of the morning. I ripped tangles out of my best friend’s hair while tears welled up in her eyes and we threw pillows at each other at the earliest sign of sleep. But eventually, we did fall asleep.
I remember waking up in my friend’s bedroom, twisted up in blankets, light bleeding through the curtains of her room, grinning from ear to ear. I remember tumbling out of bed, desperately searching for more blankets to compensate for the lack of heat in her house, only to find another friend perched on the living room chair, a mere two hours later, at a bright and early six a.m., mesmerized by the soccer game on TV. So I sat there, on the neighboring couch, shivering beneath my second blanket and borrowed sweatshirt, watching hideous jerseys run up and down the field, thinking just how imperfectly perfect the night had been.