The Prom

November 21, 2007
My hair was in loose curls, falling inches past my shoulders. I had taken hours, days, years planning this event. It was turning out to be just as I’d pictured it. I stared at myself in the mirror. My dress was my idea of a perfect royal blue with spaghetti straps, and a v-neck. It fit tightly all the way to the floor. As I waited anxiously for my boyfriend, Alex, to pick me up, I could feel butterflies in my stomach. Just as I was putting on my brand new, three inch, white high heels, he arrived. We immediately left my house for the prom preparty.

We pulled up to the white-windowed four storey mansion and I could see the crowded groups of people through the white picket fence. Laughter was erupting, from every angle it seemed. My boyfriend and I entered the yard and I noticed a group of girls in similar shades of purple dresses, which all fell to the floor. Another group had four couples connected by arms around the waist and arms around the shoulders. An excited mother was snapping pictures of the dates. My boyfriend and I talked together quietly. A sense of excitement and tension was drifting through the crowd. As I leaned in to whisper I noticed a big boy wearing a white tuxedo and white sun glasses approached us grabbing Alex’s attention. The two were lost in conversation, and as I watched, I was infatuated by my boyfriend’s charm. While I stared at him, I noticed his shiny diamond in his right ear. His Oakley sunglasses covered his bright green eyes, but his big, muscular body was still evident through his pinstriped, black tuxedo. His smile was straight and white, and he managed to make his baby blue tie look masculine through his confidence. Even in his casual gear of jeans and a tee, Alex was attractive, but in his tuxedo he looked breath taking. I casually looked away, to see all the different crowds. I noticed a crowd who appeared to be talking very quietly, one bigger boy caught my eye. This young man had a round face, with small glasses framing his eyes. His plain black tuxedo was only decorated with a plain white tie. Almost immediately, I realised I knew him. His name was Chris Smith. In a single glance, I was taken back years, to a different time, a different place, a different lifetime it seemed.“Ennie minnie miny mo, catch a tiger by the toe. If he holla's let him go, ennie minnie miny mo”. Brian Smiths' big, chubby hands landed on his friends worn in running shoes. Greg Armstrong ripped Brians’ hand off of his own shoe, almost in disbelief. Greg was “it”, but he was not alone. He, and his team, titled the cops, were “it”. We had just recently divided the six of us into two teams. The oldest, Greg, decided he would divide the teams equally. Greg was only three years older than me, but as an energetic eight-year old, he seemed to be an adult. He was the oldest of the gang, a mere difference of three minutes between him and his twin, Jeff. Greg flaunted his age a lot, and for some reason, we all gave Greg an authority that an outsider never would have understood. He was a boy of maturity and strength or so it seemed to my friends and I.

Brian and Chris lived exactly two doors down from my childhood house at 147 Pickwick Dr. The Armstrong boys lived directly across the street. We had all been friends since I was little. Naturally Greg, Jeff and Brian were wonderful friends, being the same age and gender. My sister, Amanda, was the same age as the boys and Brian, but rarely played our “childish games.“ Chris and I had the closest relationship, as he was not only my best friend, but my only friend. We were together everyday. If we weren't playing road hockey, we were exploring how different insects reacted when we trapped them in our hands or we were digging in the sand at the neighbourhood park, until we reached clay. Chris was constantly teaching me about life. Over the years he taught me that even a slap shot doesn't hurt when you’re wearing the goalie pads the right way. He taught me Coca Cola makes you burp, loudly. And, he taught me that dialling *69 blocks your phone number. As a result of Chris's lessons, I became the best girl goalie on all of Pickwick (and the only girl who wasn't scared of Brian Smiths' slap shot), the winner of ABC burping contest, and a prank phone caller genius. But Chris taught me sentimental lessons as well. Chris taught me about love, friends, and life.

On a cloudless summer day, at the age of ten, Brian, Chris and I were inside playing a Nintendo system called Sega. All morning the three of us had sat on the smooth, burgundy leather couch in the Smiths’ family room. We were in the middle of devouring a bag of salt and vinegar chips when Mrs. Smith asked us to go outside. She did it with such a sweet smile that we were fully convinced that escaping the doldrums of the house to experience the warm, sunny day, was a good idea. Brian quickly came to the decision that the Pickwick crew would be playing cops and robbers. As instructed by his older brother, Chris sprinted across the street, not even stopping for the car which was quickly approaching him. While he recruited the Armstrong boys, Brian and I raced across our neighbours lawn to enlist my sister.

When Brian, my sister and I walked back to the Smiths house, we noticed the yellow sunflowers, which once stood straight up in my neighbour’s garden, were lying on the ground, lifeless. The brown, topsoil, had numerous different sized footsteps in it, proving evidence that Brian and I were in a rush to play the game. Innocently, I demanded we avoid the garden and walk to the end of my neighbour’s driveway to cross over to the Smiths’ house. The teams were the cops: Brian, Greg and Amanda, and the robbers: Chris, Jeff and I. The cops, who were “it”, went and stood in the counting place we had decided on: The Smiths' crowded garage. The garage was filled with parts of bicycles and smelly hockey equipment. They began counting, loudly. “ONE HUNDRED, NINETY NINE, NINETY EIGHT..” Once the robbers heard the different voices counting, Jeff ran left, while Chris and I ran right. Chris sprinted, with his little legs, all the way to my big front porch. Trying to catch up, I moved my arms at a fast pace, and took huge steps. Upon reaching the top of my porch, Chris told me he wanted to play a trick on our siblings. We opened my door, and sneakily stepped inside my home. The trick Chris had so brilliantly schemed was that we were going to hide in my house, an illegal tactic in the game of cops and robbers. Being excited for our siblings surprise, time felt to be ticking slowly. Chris and I both stood, bent over, with our bodies behind the door, and our heads poking out of the window. My heartbeat was racing, and I could feel the pulse in my neck and wrists. Chris had such a huge smile on his face that it seemed every last was tooth showing. We figured our friends and siblings would be so concerned that they would look everywhere, panicking, for the two littlest member of the Pickwick crew. Minutes passed with us standing completely still. Finally, I could see the cops running all around looking for us. With minutes passing us by, Chris and I were anxiously awaiting our moment of glory. What we saw, however, was disappointing. As we saw Jeff walk by our house, slowly and carelessly, we knew he had been caught. What followed Jeff, was each member of the cops team: Brian, Amanda, and Greg. Each one was walking slowly, and peacefully. Brian was playing with his hair, starting at his forehead, and making his way back to the end of his neck. Greg and Amanda were laughing, heads back, mouths open wide. Almost in step, the three of them walked slowly, passing my house without a thought. The reality was: the cops had found Jeff, and did not care about the other weaker links. Gradually they all drifted away, leaving us feeling defeated and invisible. Standing up straight, Chris and I both looked at each other, with our eyebrows curved in towards our eyes.

Feeling unsuccessful we decided we would lock everyone out of my house. This was another game the children on my street liked to play, but it was the type of game that involved only one sided fun. I, feeling so brilliant, opened the thick screen door, and yelled at the top of my lungs, “AMANDA, HAVE FUN GETTING INTO YOUR OWN HOUSE.” I stood there with the door wide open, feeling such power. My sister stampeded up the steps and dove for the door like a lion after her prey. Not wanting her to get in, I slammed the brown heavy door. What I failed to notice, was the placement of my sister’s hand; the one on the edge of the doorway. I remember looking at Chris who had wide opened eyes. We then saw blood seeping through the screen door. In disbelief, I opened the screen door, and saw a pretty pink polished nail lying on my porch, covered in dark red blood. My big sister was opened mouthed, frozen with panic, with tears running down her face. I realised what I had done, and immediately started crying. Tears were flowing out of my dark brown eyes. After a few minutes had passed, I walked with arms out wide to my sister, who had been standing against the brick wall, in disbelief, just staring at her nail. My sister softly hit both my arms away, rejecting my hug. Amanda then walked inside our house to get our father, leaving me outside. In frustration, I started viciously hitting my head against the brick wall outside my house. I continued to do this until my hard head hit not a brick, but a soft flesh of skin. Gently, Chris grabbed my head, and said, “Kendra, it was an accident. She's going to be okay.” With that, Chris hugged me, very tightly, and we stood for several seconds. Even though his arms were small and skinny, I felt safe and protected. I knew everything was going to be okay.

That endless day of cops and robbers continued, although the game did not. However, what I remember is not what happened to my sister, but yet the feelings I felt towards my best friend. Later that day, close to dinner time, Chris and I were watching television in my basement when we heard my doorbell ring. We both rushed to the door, excited to see who it was standing behind the front door. It was Brian, head titled in a begging fashion, with a Sega controller. We invited Brian in, and decided to have a three way battle of Batman and Robin. We approached my cold basement and I realised I was thirsty. I poured myself a drink, as well as one for each of my friends, and made my way to the spiral staircase. I slowly walked down the stairs of the basement, careful not to spill the three drinks full of purple Kool-Aid, when I began to overhear the Smith brother’s conversation. I could hear muffled voices of Chris telling his older brother of his girlfriend. I continued to tiptoe down the steps, my heart feeling heavy. I didn’t know why I felt sad all of the sudden, but I wanted it to go away. When my bare feet hit the cold cement of the basement floor, the boys stopped talking. I entered the room and gently gave a glass to Brian. I than aggressively passed off the other glass to Chris, spilling many drops on his dirty jeans. Being my best friend, he seemed very concerned with my negative actions towards him. As sincerely as a nine year old boy could, he asked me what was wrong. I began, mumbling to Chris, as fast as I could everything I had overheard. I demanded that he rid himself of his girlfriend and only talk to me. To my utter horror, Chris told me, with a giggle, that I was his best friend, and that best friends don’t date. He then pushed me, hard for a young boy, into the lumpy brown couch in my basement. Immediately I pushed him back, and we started wrestling. After a few moments, Chris grabbed my hair, and I shrieked in horror. We eventually stopped wrestling and sat up on the cold cement floor. Chris picked up a controller, and almost a minute later, I followed in his footsteps. Brain had been playing Sega the whole time, and the two best friends joined in.

"Kendra?" I hear my name and I realise I’m still staring at this young man. I feel an arm being wrapped around my waist, and I hear a whisper coming directly into my ear, that the black limo, with expensive leather seats, has arrived to take us to dinner. As I come back to reality, I stumble. I'm not sure if it's the floor length dress, the three inch heels, or my memory, which has tripped me. Staring into my date's perfect eyes, I feel a little more empty than seconds ago. It's almost like the tiniest part of me wants to be at prom with Chris Smith; my childhood best friend. I look back at my boyfriend, making a decision not to talk to Chris that night. So much time has passed put between us that I think the awkwardness of a present confrontation would take the memories of my childhood away. I felt an uncomfortable feeling of loss that day, when I tried to picture how it all faded away, when our friendship ended. I don't remember the time, the date, the place. I don't remember the reason. What I remember are the feelings. What I feel now is only loss. As I push my feelings aside, I gracefully step into the limo. As it drives away, I realize that some day, prom too, will only be a memory.

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