He took me to my prom. Spring, 1993.
I forget what I told the first guy, the freshman guy. Something like, “Sorry, I met someone else”. Probably much nicer than that. It wasn't like Freshman Boy and I were in love and I broke his heart to go with someone else. We had been on one date. That's it.
The freshman boy was nice. Very nice. I hope he has had a very happy life.
We went to my prom which was at a hotel. The Holiday Inn? Maybe. I can't remember. I wore a dress that was teal green. I think I had shoes that were dyed to match. I probably did. That was the style back then, in the early 90’s. I had braces on my teeth. I had my hair up, I remember. He gave me a corsage with white roses, with teal green on the tips. It seems like there was a silver ribbon.
That, I remember.
What I also remember, and did not tell my parents, was the reason I was driving him around in the white, Plymouth Horizon I had procured with my McDonalds money, was that he had been arrested for underage drinking and was not eligible to get a drivers license.
In case I haven’t mentioned it or you haven't figured it out by now, despite my propensity for calling everyone a douchebag? I’m pretty much a straight arrow. This to me was like…remember the movie “Grease”? Sandy the perky blond cheerleader gets together with Danny, the Bad Boy? Well, I had brown hair and a good fifty pounds on Sandy and I wouldn’t even SMILE at the freaking pep rally, but in all other ways, it was like that.
Still. Now, today, right this second? I have no idea why I went out with him the first time.
Well, that’s not fair, I guess. I went out with him because he was tall and I was very tall and I was really freaking tired of having to slouch down when I went on dates with boys. I didn’t think much about it, beyond that. What can I say? I was seventeen. Most seventeen year old people don’t make smart life-decisions.
The difference, I suppose, was that I was unaware that I was making a life-decision.
I didn’t have any plans. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my senior year of high school began. My life was an exercise in focus. Get up, get to school, get to work…make it through the day. I had no plans beyond the weekly schedule posted behind the walk-in cooler at work. Although I was a pretty good student and had good test scores I made absolutely no plans for college. I didn’t even apply to one school. Not even one. No one around me seemed concerned or alarmed by this. My parents were consumed with my mother's illness. No one was pushing me to do anything like, have a plan for the future. A number of my other family members had already said things to me like, "You aren't going to college are you? You're just going to get married and be happy, right?" As though it had to be one way or the other. As though I couldn't have both. As though being smart and making a career for myself was just ludicrous.
Maybe it was.
I believed it then, anyway.
A part of me is still angry now, all these years later, that no one in my life said to me that I needed to go to college, or that I was smart enough to do something with my life, or that I could be something more than someones wife. Don't get me wrong, I love being Jason's wife, but I also love that I have a college degree and I love that I could fully support myself and my two children absolutely on my own if I had never met Jason.
Most of all, I guess, I am angry at myself. For just letting it go and assuming it would all be okay. For having the complete inability to have a plan. Any plan.
I was skating along; not thinking, just hoping for the best. And the ice was cracking all around me.
And I? Was so desperate to have someone throw me a life-raft, that I clung to this man. This boy. This boy with whom I had nothing in common. This boy who loved himself far more than he ever loved me.
This boy that, for whatever reason, I thought was my only hope.