My Senior High Prom Experience, Part 2

Continued from part one. If you missed it, please redirect.

Before I get into some oh-so-exciting details of the actual prom night, let’s rewind a few weeks and explain, in my own words (from my very own Live Journal) what was happening. We’ll start with April 28, 2005. Two weeks before prom. Now, I am going to tell you that I cannot remember exactly what happened on this night, but I can say that I came home in tears around 11:00pm (my curfew, if you’d like to call it that) and wrote the following:

who the hell was i kidding?!
myself obviously. something’s changed. he doesn’t like me anymore. i am certain of it. his behavior tonight made it evident to me that he doesn’t want anything more to do with me. THANKS.

Now, fast forward to May 3, 2005. We are now a mere four days until prom. I once again, came home in tears around 11:00pm and wrote the following (which has been edited to suit PG audiences):

SCREW GUYS.
SCREW EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.
BECAUSE I HATE THEM ALL.

today, things hit rock bottom just as i predicted they would. i think this is a new record. this one lasted for about … one month and three weeks. i’ve been waiting for this slippery slope to start, and damn did it start last week. and wow, it hit rock bottom today and almost turned ugly but i walked away from it. i’ve had just about all i can take of this. really. right now i’d be JUST FINE if i never saw another guy again. i’m sick of their up and down insensitive bull crap, i’m sick of them acting like they want nothing to do with me, and i’m just sick of them period.

that’s it. i’m done.

Again, don’t ask me what happened because I cannot remember. This was the last I spoke of Ray in my journal before prom. And I remember, specifically, I worked a closing shift the night before prom at Panera, and I was sweeping the floor and talking to another girl co-worker about how I pretty much didn’t want to go to prom anymore and that things with Ray and I had gotten really bad, really fast. She said something to me that I still remember to this day: “Taylor, do not let him ruin your prom.” So I did just that. And you’d never know just how boiling mad I was inside by just glancing at the pictures.

Above is me outside on our beautiful lanai minutes before the chariot arrived. I had gotten my hair done and had the most perfect dress that I had tried on months before that I was able to track down thanks to The Other Courtney all the way in Potomac Mills in DC! (Oh and if you could not tell, I was not wearing a bra and I certainly did not need one!)

Away we go, inside of Ray’s precious, over-the-top, Mustang with a gigantic spoiler on the back. Note that I am (and probably he was too) laughing at both of my parents who were taking more pictures than at the first pitch at game one of the World Series. We drove to Kelli’s house, where a white limo with red ‘runway’ carpet awaited us. I still admire Kelli greatly for her confidence she displayed that day–she was the only one in our prom group who did not have a date. Yet she looked amazing!

Above is Kelli and me in the limo, on the way to the botanical gardens where we decided to take our group pictures. Ray was sitting on the other side of me, for that particular second. Little did I know that that second would be the only time he sat next to me in the limo. Later, I believe it was after dinner or even after pictures, he sat next to another girl in our group, who was my friend Tyler’s date. He proceeded to ride with his arm around her while I sat in the corner alone. Steam blowing from my ears? No way.

Above is our family photo. From the left we have Tiffany (Tyler’s date, a freshman in high school at the time), Tyler, myself, Ray, Jaime, Matt, Kelli, Chris (who had already graduated from high school the year prior), and his girlfriend Kelli. I was extremely pleased with how our pictures turned out and I would not trade that location for anything!

Above are the girls from our group on the dock outside of the restaurant we chose to eat at in downtown Tampa, Jackson’s. The sunset that evening was absolutely unreal, and we were thrilled we were able to capture it while so dressed up. Ray sat next to me at dinner, but was more interested in talking to Tiffany than he was talking to me at the table. Ignored by my own date at dinner? Never, ever.

The photo above can sum up our entire evening once we arrived at the dance. I remember when we arrived at the venue, the Italian Club in Ybor City, we walked up a set of stairs, and at the top was a boy I had liked since the beginning of senior year, but nothing had ever become of it, despite our apparent mutual interest in one another. His date, who was a freshman in college, snagged him as a prom date in early September 2004. She broke the “cardinal rule of prom asking” and asked someone else to their prom that was not her prom! Once we arrived into the ballroom, I honestly do not remember dancing with Ray at all except for maybe two songs that were slow songs. (And we all know they played more than two slow songs the entire night!) He was literally no where to be found, but I was told by others that he was with Tiffany for most of the night. That would mean that Tiffany’s date, Tyler, was left alone as well. Heartbreaking.

For many seniors, the actual dance portion of prom is just the beginning of the evening. People get hotel rooms, go to the beach, go to after-parties, and usually don’t come home until the next morning. This was the first and only night of my entire life that my parents literally told me, “I don’t care when you come home.” To this day, even when I go to their house at Christmas, they still have never muttered those same words to me. I could not tell you how happy I was to not have a curfew for the first time in my life. We got back in the limo around 11:30 or so, and I do not for one second remember sitting next to Ray. I do remember, vaguely, seeing Ray next to Tiffany in the limo as Tiffany lay her head on his shoulder. The steam was rising at this point and it was harder and harder to keep it inside of me. So, where does the limo take us after prom?

Sonic.

I remember vividly climbing out of the limo, Ray and Tiffany already way ahead of me, and some of the girls saying things to me, like, “we can’t believe what we’re seeing.” Neither could I, gals. We ordered ice cream at Sonic, and I sat at a different table than Ray, conveniently because he and Tiffany had already snagged another.

After the limo took us back to Kelli’s house, where everyone’s cars were, I was not going to be a bit surprised if Ray decided to go somewhere with Tiffany instead of me. It crossed my mind that I wondered how I would get home and if Kelli’s parents would have to take me. But Tiffany and Tyler jumped into his ’68 (I think?) Mustang and Ray and I jumped into his and we all went our separate ways. It was around 12:30 at this point, and I wasn’t ready to go home yet, but since the group had decided to split, I suppose we decided to each just do our own thing. Ray decided to drive us out to the “country” out by Fishhawk Ranch, which was a new development that was literally in the middle of nowhere. There are a lot of back country roads where he liked to take his Mustang “racing” late at night. We drove up to a new neighborhood off of one of the roads that was still under construction and he put the car in park and said, “OK, let’s make out.”

Now, pause the story for one second so I can say one thing: at this point in my life, I had still never kissed anyone. Okay, play the story again.

My thoughts were, “Oh my gosh, maybe he actually wants something to do with me now?” followed by a “oh no, please God do not let this be my first kiss…forced and awkward like this is.” We sat there, with the car running, not really saying much, and then a few minutes later, he puts the car in reverse and peels onto the country road surrounded by “Emo Field” on one side, and farm land on the other. He drove down these roads, zig-zagging all over, and said nothing to me. We were in silence for a good ten minutes or so, before we reached an intersection near civilization where he said, “Okay, want to go home now?”

He made a left turn and continued toward my house, and as we were turning off of this two lane road, he spoke again. “I’m going to miss you when you go to UCF next month.” My eyes darted back and fourth and I’m sure my mouth was at least partially opened. You’re going to miss me? I thought. Your actions have displayed the opposite in the last two weeks. I scrambled for words again and said, “Well, I’m having a going away party that you can come to,” and he didn’t really have much of a response to it other than, “maybe.” I also said something along the lines of, “I won’t be too far away.”

We pulled into my driveway and I still have the image burned into my head of what the clock read at that moment. 12:59. Seriously?! Prom night, my parents don’t give me a curfew, and I get home before 1:00am?! I told him thank you for the evening and got out of the car to punch the code into the keypad to open the garage door. Before the door was even halfway open, he was already gone. He didn’t walk me to the door and I don’t even remember if he so much as pulled into the driveway. I could not believe that the evening was finally over at such an un-Godly early hour.

My co-worker’s advice worked. I did not let him ruin my prom, despite his actions. This was my prom, and I was determined to have a good time. And girls that have yet to reach their senior year and have not yet experienced prom, all I have to say is this: it’s okay if you don’t have a date, and if you do, do not let him ruin your night. You will be so glad that you didn’t let a high school boy control your happiness.

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My Senior High Prom Experience, inspired by ‘The Other Courtney’

This was me in my senior year of high school, when I believe I looked my best:

Would you believe me if, after seeing that picture, I told you that I have never, to this day, been asked to a dance (that would be homecomings and proms) in my life? Well, believe it. Because it’s true. No boy ever asked me to homecoming, no boy ever asked me to prom. The reason? Who knows. (Boys who knew me back then, please, enlighten me, because I would love to solve this mystery) But once prom season approached, I started panicking as I realized: I may not get asked to prom.

Sure enough, the months and weeks went by during my second half of my senior year and as of March 30, I still had not been asked to the dance set to take place on May 7. I can’t recall how I started talking to Ray, but we had taken a slightly-more-than-friends interest in each other during the second half of the year. Ray was, at the time, a junior at my high school and also attended the same church. He had always been popular with the girls, but for some reason, he started showing me attention and I responded. He had met my parents at church a few times and my mom was thrilled that “finally, a Christian boy was paying attention to me.” She threw out the suggestion that I ask to him to prom, and I laughed in her face. Me, a girl, ask a guy to prom? Ha. Then my friends reminded me that if I wanted to go with him, I would have to ask him because it was my prom, and I was the senior, not him. The unspoken rule of prom-asking states that someone who is not a senior cannot ask another senior to their prom. Therefore, it was in my hands. Excellent. I had hardly even been on a date at this point in my life, let alone did I have experience asking any boy anything. Tick tock. Time was running out.

Ray and I would usually walk out to the parking lot together after school. We’d talk about our days and he’d occasionally hold my hand and hug me goodbye. We hadn’t gone on any “dates” at this point, but I was waiting for the opportunity to ask him to prom before someone else took my chances of even going to prom away from me. After chickening out one Friday after school, I asked him if I could stop by his house after work (in my Panera get-up, of course) because we needed to talk and it couldn’t wait. (Excellent, I know) So, the story went down like this, as archived in my very own journal dated April 2, 2005:

wow um, so today … was quite a day. after blowing two chances i had clear in front of me … i finally did it. i asked a guy to prom. holy freaking cow dude, i’ve never been so nervous in my entire life. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! so it was by far the scariest thing i’ve done in my entire life. so we were sitting there, outside on the truck for a while talking about mindless stuff, and then he’s like, “soooo … you said you wanted to talk to me. what was it about?” and i was like, “oh. um. that. yes…” and i bit my lip b/c i couldn’t think of anything to say. that, and my stomach was FILLED with butterflies. i felt like i was gonna throw up dude, i saw it happening. so i just sat there … not saying anything, looking up at the tree tops … b/c i was so freaking nervous, my palms were like waterfalls, my mind was going in about ten different directions and i was scared out of my freaking skin. so finally i was like, “so…i don’t want to go to prom with kyle. i don’t like kyle … like that. i don’t want to go with him. and, it’s not like i ask guys to the prom everyday. and it’s not like i get asked to the prom everyday, sooo … i think that…” and he was like, “you want to go to the prom with me?” and i was like, “yes. will you go to prom with me?” and he was like, “yes, i will. i just have to ask my mom…” then my mouth dropped and i was like, “…do you think … she would say yes?” and he was like, “yeah, i’m pretty sure she will.” and BAM. the butterflies were gone. nervousness almost gone.

So I came home and did a face similar to this one:

Ray and I started seeing each other more, going out on some dates in his ridiculous, over-the-top, pimped-out silver Mustang. It was a fun car to ride in, but it was rather embarrassing sometimes that he insisted on backing in to every last parking space, including the first time we went to Steak-N-Shake. This continued for about a month or so, and then things between Ray and I started to go downhill. Little did I know what was in store for us, having prom just around the corner. I remember nearly calling off having him as my date, but I decided to stick it out since I had been the one to ask him, and we already had everything paid for–tickets, reservations, dresses, tuxes, hair appointments, and so fourth. But little did we know what was in store for us on that lovely evening…

Scoping out possible picture spots the morning of prom

…to be continued.