Prom Apologies

Dear J-

So to the downtown Spokane Bon Marche store Santa, 1976, let’s just say that the nearly-two-year-old that was plunked down on your lap wasn’t the most pleased to be there, so late at night anyway, and can we just sweep that meltdown under the table and let bygones be bygones?


But seriously, something that’s been stewing in the back of my mind for fifteen years or so — and I hate saying it, it sounds like I’m one of those people who never got over high school; it’s not something that kept me up at night, just more that I lost the chance to say anything at the time and in what’s becoming a trend for me, I lost track of, well, everyone not in my current life.  As a side note, I spent half an hour cleaning carpets this morning because I forgot to walk the dogs; theVet despairs of how easily distracted I am by the immediate task — this is why I’ve spent a small fortune on electronic brains that I invariably forget to update.

The point is that my relentless narcissism excluded any thought that hey, maybe it took TWO seventeen-year-olds (skip down to the Allman Brothers song, here) to multiply awkwardness into some perfect storm of silences and mis-communications.  It made for a memorable prom, but perhaps not the memories that most pairs take away from that particular night.  For my part, I left a lot unsaid; I wish I’d explained how long I’d waited — nearly three years, from the moment she’d walked in to homeroom — and that I didn’t care if there was no future in it, just to be there tonight with her was magical enough; all the steps — here for pictures, there for dinner, then back to the dance — all the rituals of tux and corsages and shaking the father’s hand — all that blurred together, all matching and missing the visions I’d had in my head for that night.

I’ll leave it there, but hasten to add that my contribution to it was not insignificant; as I’ve noted before, I chose inaction over initiative every time I had the choice.  My life was full of structure at seventeen; the next sixteen years have been filled with terror and learning at having that safety net slowly but surely cut away strand by strand until I learned (am learning) how and why to enjoy the moment for what it is, not compared to some ineffable ideal.



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4 Responses to “Prom Apologies”

  1. junior Says:

    Nothing like hearing stories from a fellow traveller on a long road; sound like you have struggled, as have I, with the Four Noble Truths, in particular the bits about attachment, craving and desire causing suffering.

    I spent the night of my high school prom bussing tables at the restaurant I worked in. I worked so hard at making sure the subject of my attendance at that event never came up in conversation – with anyone – so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the anxiety of the social niceties involved. That’s been MY pattern for years and years.

  2. dearJ Says:

    Internet magic (facebook) has allowed near-instant closure. I’m always amazed.

  3. Earlgirl Says:

    Closure is a fantasic thing! I enjoy reading your work. You have unique perspective and expression.

  4. dearJ Says:

    My parents always told me that the years would make me wiser. While the wiser part is questionable, there’s no doubting that the perspective stretches my view into a wider angle.

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