Prom 2003

Prom 2003

There’s a picture of you like you’re trying to slice off your own head, probably with a sparkly string from a centerpiece.

We ate the centerpieces instead of dinner. It was some kind of chop in marinara. I think it was to stop us from kissing – not that there was any risk of that on the 5×5 dance floor.

I pushed my way through drifting leaves to get to the thrift store, where I bought a vintage brown vest and button-down blue shirt. But everyone said I couldn’t wear that, so we rented a black and red tux to go with your big red flower fascinator and your big sparkly tits.

The centerpieces were covered in glitter and we ate them all up. Red pudding came served on a pie shell and we were choking on our little bits of copolymer plastic. There were disposable cameras in the centerpieces, and we probably would have eaten those if we were into eating back then.

You had a lanky friend who was hanging about. I’m sure he was crushing on you, in that private school kind of way. I bet he even masturbated while thinking about you, coming on a hand towel his mom had just washed and then praying to Jesus and Tide that she wouldn’t notice.

We ate the centerpieces and then walked out the back door of the country club to go down to the lake. It was infrangibly moonlit, and I could see why doctors and lawyers got to live here. With a bellyful of centerpieces, we sang Tori Amos’ first album front to back while walking the shore. You had a lanky friend hanging about, and I don’t remember if he came down by the lake, but I don’t think he did.

We sang Tori Amos’ first album front to back while walking the shore, and it felt classic and at the same time somehow forced. Maybe I was just worried. I worried a lot back then. My stomach was seized up in knots, but maybe it was because the only thing I ate that day was glittery artificial flowers, and maybe a bite of the red pudding that came served on a pie shell. I could see why rich people got to live on lakes, but I did not understand why they had to serve us cotoletta alla milanese on prom night.

You know, the country club was right behind that big old motel, the Stuttgart Inn. I bet it made some people angry they had to drive past the Stuttgart Inn to get to the country club. There was another way in, but you had to drive another mile or so up the road. If you did that, you had to drive past that other motel with the awful sign that always said something like, “if you’re not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” The other side always said “chambermaid wanted.” I bet all the available chambermaids were working at houses down by the lake.

We couldn’t sing all night, even with a bellyful of centerpieces and the moon, so we went back inside. We saw your lanky friend again, and we decided to leave. On our way out, he saw two bottles of bad local wine sitting on a table, and he stole them. We went outside and he broke one on the pavement, pouring the sick pink around the jagged edges of the broken glass and into his open waiting throat. It seemed like something terrible should have happened instantly, but it took a second for an important looking man in a rumpled suit to come calmly explain to him that this matter would be dealt with at another time. I bet he got a lecture about school spirit.

Your lanky friend drove us home and I was scared because I didn’t know how wine worked. I thought maybe your friend was going to turn into a lech, or drive us off the road and into the fairgrounds, or maybe cover the steering wheel in cheap wine and cotoletta alla milanese. He didn’t, and everything was fine, but I kept bugging you to call him to make sure he had gotten home okay. I didn’t understand rich kid crimes and I didn’t understand alcohol per volume, and the bits of glittery artificial flower seemed to be swelling in my belly. We were in the ballroom and not at the country club and my tuxedo was loose and you said I was afraid of everything.

Maybe I tried to play a something on the out-of-tune piano in the ballroom. I remember you glaring at me from the wicker couch in the middle of the room. I wanted to get on that little scooter and take a spin around the ping-pong table. Or maybe I wanted to want that. You remember that time we were drinking Pimm’s and I was flirting with that German exchange student and I fell straight on my ass? I guess that was a lot worse than stealing two bottles of shitty wine and then drinking an ounce of one of them, maybe with some broken glass thrown in.

There’s a picture of you like you’re trying to slice off your own head, and everyone says you’re gorgeous, because you are. I’m going to get fat, and your acne is going to clear up. I’m glad you gave me some of that expensive catalog acne medication, so at least I can be a fat drag queen with good skin. And you were right, I was afraid of everything. And then the Stuttgart Inn burned down.

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