Ditching Prom

January 3, 2008
By Chelsey Walker, Plainfeild, IL

As I watch the grandfather clock tick while relaxing on my therapist’s musty chez lounge that sits on the 16th floor of his office building, a memory stirred up in me. I closed my eyes to embrace the familiarity that has eluded me for the past nine years. “Chelsey is there something that you would like to talk about,” pressured my nosy therapist. The only reason I was in this room now is because of the law President McKinney had passed after an attempted suicide by Dakota Fanning. The law stated that anyone who gains any level of fame must see a therapist at least twice a week for an hour. “Well you see Doc,” I said, fully capturing the memory. “When I was a senior in high school…”

“…With liberty and justice for all,” said the principal’s voice over the intercom. “Alright seniors, tonight is your prom!” While cheers erupted in the classroom, Sami, Caitlin and I looked at each other and snickered. In the midst of all the excitement, the signoff of the principal was hopelessly lost. An abrupt kick to my chair caused me to spin around in my seat, which I was only to regret instantaneously. “Chel…,” started Tinder. “No!” I screamed. I whipped around in my seat and placed my head in my hands.

“Chelsey,” Sami whispered, “just talk to Tinder.” I could tell that Sami and Caitlin had begun to laugh at me. “Tinder, I am not going to prom,” I attempted to say, but my arms muffled the sound. Tinder wasn’t excruciatingly dull or ugly or anything, it’s just that I knew since seventh grade that I would never go to prom. “Sit up and talk,” said Caitlin, giving me a sharp poke in the side with her blue mechanical pencil.

Folding to the pressure and pain my friends were laying on me, I sat up and turned around to face Tinder. “I’m going to be busy. Sami and Caitlin are coming over,” I mumbled. “What are you doing that will prevent you all from going to prom?” asked Tinder. “We were thinking of watching a happy prom movie to make us feel like we are there,” I said. “What movie?” “Oh, I don’t know. Something cheerful, like Carrie,” I joked. At that moment, and to my relief, the bell rang.

The rest of my entire day was spent avoiding Tinder, but I couldn’t avoid the masses. Many people kept asking me if I was going and, once I answered them, why I wasn’t. By the end of the day, I was much relived to go home, though I knew that I wouldn’t have any peace, as today I was driving Sami and Caitlin to my house for our prom ditching movie night.

I had gotten to school late that day, so my car was parked farther into the student parking lot, leaving me open for attack. Knowing that Caitlin and Sami were already in the car with my keys, I had nobody to save me if Tinder was waiting to ambush me with prom invites. My eyes were scanning everywhere at once while my mind kept flashing back to the times earlier in the day when I saw Sami and Caitlin talking to Tinder.

As I approached my car, I began to relax, but the whole walk to my car, I was nervous about tonight. I had a ticket to the prom that Tinder had slipped it in my locker and was now sitting on my dresser. I also had a dress. A flicker of guilt for Tinder slipped through my mind, but it was gone the instant I heard Caitlin honk the horn of my car. My fast walk turned into a run of relief.

My car started no problem, but there was a problem with the things that Sami and Caitlin were talking about. After about two minutes of hushed whispering between the two of them, they asked me a question with an obvious answer. “Hey Chel,” said Sami hesitantly, “We were wondering if we could invite Tinder to our movie thing.” I didn’t look at either of them. “No. No way,” I said calmly. “That’s so stupid, Chelsey. It would be more fun tonight if he was here,” complained Caitlin. “Just let it go and let him come,” said Sami.

As I turned on my blinker to pull into Jewel, Caitlin suddenly lurched forward and said, “We can go later. It will give us something to do.” Sami quickly murmured something in agreement. I flicked off my blinker and turned up the music. The next two minutes to my house will be void of talking.

As we pulled into the driveway, my mother and father were pulling out. I rolled down my window to call goodbye to the two of them. Tonight was their night to go out. “Bye Honey! Are you sure you don’t want to go tonight?” pestered my mother. “Your sisters went and I think you should go, too. If you couldn’t get a date, you should’ve gone with Jeff,” This whole thing was really getting annoying. “Maybe I’ll go,” I said, just to get them off my back. “Good,” said my mother, satisfied. “Girls, remember,” my mother said excitedly while making the motion of taking a picture. They pulled out of the driveway and drove off.

When we got in the house, the girls asked to see the dress I bought. I had a couple dresses from past occasions and they asked to try them on. I decided to slip on my dress, too, and regretted it when the doorbell rang. Sami, in my dress, dashed to the door. “Who is it?” I called on my way down. I could feel Caitlin walking really close behind me and I looked down and saw three pairs of shoes in her hand. Also, I remembered when I had glanced at Sami earlier to see if the dress fit her, I saw my prom ticket in her hand. I suddenly understood what was going on when Sami opened the door and Tinder was standing there with flowers in his hand.

“They forced me to go to the prom, but it turned out to be the best night of my life,” I admitted. An instant later, the buzzer on my therapist’s desk rang, indicating the end of my session. “I will see you again next Tuesday, Chelsey,” called the Doctor. “Have a nice weekend!”

As I was walking to my car, I saw a magazine vendor was selling the latest US Weekly. At a glance, I noticed the words “Chelsey Walker and Tinder Martin to Wed!” For once, the reporters got the story right.

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