Prom Night

April 28, 2010
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Prom night. The most dangerous night of a teenager’s life. But I, knowing how damaging it could be, had taken the necessary precautions and thought I was safe. I didn’t have a date and was looking forward to watching TV at home…, alone. Around mid-afternoon my plans changed. I received a phone call from my best friend Max who I’d known since grade school and in a casual voice he asked, “Hey, you want to come over in a couple hours?”
“Uh…, who’s all going to be there?” I asked skeptically, because lately Max had been spending time with Allison, a popular senior, and I didn’t want to risk looking foolish.

“I think Tim…, and maybe Allison?” He responded as if asking a question.

Sirens wailed in my head as I heard that not only was Allison going to be there but also Tim. Now Tim used to be my good friend, but recently we had gotten into a fight, and anytime he was around, I was always worried that he’d make a scene and ruin my nice guy image. So now there was no way I could go over to Max’s house. But then again, I couldn’t risk looking like I was avoiding Tim. That could be even more damaging to my perfect persona.

“Yeah, I’ll come over.” I said defeated.
The clocked ticked slowly as I waited for Max to pick me up. What was I going to do? I couldn’t spend an entire night defending myself from multiple assaults. I was already planning my escape. I knew what I could do. I would simply tell Max that I was going to take my dad’s car to his house so that when the shrapnel started flying I could make a clean escape. Perfect.
“Rap, rap, rap.” The knocks on the door called me to arms, and I was ready to engage. The enemy, however, caught me by surprise.
“You have to ride with me.” Tim said almost threateningly. Unprepared for Tim’s arrival, I was forced to make a rash decision.
“Uh…, Tim I’m going to take my dad’s car over there.”
I slowly closed the door as he turned away a face which, I was sure, could be full of nothing less than pure rage. I slowly traversed the empty streets as I mulled over what I’d done. I’d made a huge mistake. I was so set in my plan that I’d ruined the ideal opportunity to peacefully settle my differences with Tim: alone, in his car. Not only that, but by refusing to travel to his peace conference I’d given Tim the excuse to attack me where my image was most vulnerable: in the presence of Allison. He now held my life in his hands. Why hadn’t I just accepted his terms?
Arriving at Max’s house, a new danger arose out of the undulating darkness. Where was I going to park? The driveway? No, Tim hadn’t. I would have to park on the street. But I couldn’t risk hitting another parked car or the curb; otherwise I’d look like a fool. So I parked my car out of harms way, up the block, feet from the curb. I soon realized, however, that I’d made another crucial mistake.
“Why’d you park half a mile away?” Tim’s cool remark burned into my flesh. In an effort to protect my troops I’d only done more harm. Wanting to prevent any further damage I simply gave a half-hearted laugh as Tim and I made our way to Max’s door. I was sure I could feel the air sizzling with his anger. I knew he was preparing for the crippling blow. Yet for now he just strolled along making casual conversation, basking in the glory of his assured victory.
Inside we found Max and Allison lounging on the living room coach. I searched frantically for a place to sit. I had to look relaxed just like the others. There, the red reclining chair in the back. Quickly, I took my seat. Had anyone noticed? No, I was safe.
All I had to do now was watch TV and hide for the rest of the evening. I sat there desperately trying to act cool and collected, while Tim, Max, and Allison joked with each other. An hour passed and my survival seemed secure. That was…, until everyone got hungry.
They decided to order pizza. My stomach growled tauntingly. I hoped they ordered the biggest pepperoni pizza they had with something cold to drink, and a side of buffalo wings…, and cinnamon sticks.
“Erik, what do you want?” Max asked nonchalant.”
“I don’t care. I just ate” I responded carefully, making sure to show no emotion. Max shrugged his shoulders and ordered. I listened intently as he got exactly what I’d wanted. I smiled, unnoticeably of course, at my small victory.
After stiffly controlling my actions for the next half-hour as my friends talked and watched TV, the food finally arrived. There it was. The beautiful golden cheese pepperoni pizza I’d wanted. Now…, how was I supposed to eat it? I couldn’t just dig in after claiming to have just eaten. I’d look like a pig. So after weighing my options, I cautiously advanced and took a slice. Unfortunately, the enemy was well prepared.
“You’re not hungry huh.” Max’s words sliced into me like a cold knife. Everyone suddenly looked at me. I’d been found and cornered. I tried to protect myself with a cool smile, but it came out looking awkward and suddenly, I couldn’t breathe.
“Don’t be mean to Erik.” Allison said kindly. She only drove the knife deeper. Luckily, the others backed off, but I felt defeated. My troops had been significantly weakened. Not only had I made myself look like a pig, but I couldn’t even defend myself as the others mocked me. I slowly crept back into the shadows to recover from this major setback.
Just as I was prepared to execute my retreat, the enemy’s reinforcements arrived. There was a knock at the door. It was Curtis and Alex, a couple who had returned early from the prom. As Max, Tim, and Allison all got up to greet them in the kitchen, I remained glued to my seat. I couldn’t risk revealing myself. After Max’s mom offered to take pictures, however, I realized that if I remained stationary the battle would become hopeless. If I didn’t join them I’d look like an outcast, and with the pictures to prove it, I’d never be able to survive its reverberating effects. I did my best to blend with the others, but my camouflage was easily detectable. With each flash I grew more and more weary.
The situation only worsened when Max suggested we go to the video store. Everyone fit themselves comfortably into Max’s car as I waited patiently to get in. My eyes widened as I realized that there was no more room. I would have to come out of hiding once more. Already being an outcast, I was about to simply walk to my own car and drive myself, when Max suggested, “Come on Erik we can squeeze you in.” I couldn’t risk sounding defiant, so I obediently followed my enemy’s orders. Squished beside Curtis, My mind raced as we made our way there. What if I ruined Curtis’ tux or we were caught by the cops with too many people in the car? I felt as if I were being suffocated.
When we finally arrived, I fell from the car in a heap. I tried to regain my composure as we made our way in. Once inside, I nervously pretended to look at videos as I trailed behind our group, so I wouldn’t be in range of a possible conversation. It was a slow and arduous journey, but it soon appeared as if I’d leave with my troops mostly intact. Warning signals went off in my head as Tim’s father approached threatening to end my enemies’ temporary cease-fire.
“Hey guys.” He said casually. Then, looking to Curtis and Alex, he said “Did you guys have fun at the prom.” I silently let out a sigh, as he appeared to be more interested in conversing with his friends than firing at me. I let my guard down too soon. “Did you have fun at the prom Erik? It doesn’t even look like you’ve shaved.” I was immediately back on red alert. Trying my best to end this possible assault I simply gave him a small nod. Seemingly satisfied with my peaceful response, he left and went back to browsing.
This battle had gone on far too long and I was determined to escape. Back at Max’s house another one of my friends, Trevor, joined us. I was overjoyed to see him because I knew he was one of the few I could count on to aid me in this war. Everyone sat down in the living room preparing to watch the movie they’d rented. I had to hurry or I’d have another couple hours filled with anxiety and fear. I waited for my opportunity. When Tim retreated to the kitchen I knew it was now or never. I cautiously advanced to where Max was sitting on his couch. Quietly I offered my terms of surrender. “Hey Max, I think I’m going to go home. I’m kind of tired.”
“Tired? You’re tired!?” Suddenly the room got very quiet and all eyes where on our final confrontation. I would have to make further concessions if I was going to escape with any of my troops alive. But before I could offer my unconditional surrender, Trevor, stuck a knife to my throat.
“So Erik… are you and Tim friends again?” My body turned to stone as the only person who I thought I could count on had betrayed me. Trevor had just introduced the topic that would completely annihilate what was left of my pitiful army. Tim suddenly popped up immediately to my left, leaning uncomfortably against me, unaware of the question that had just been asked, unaware of the bomb that had just been set. The tension in my body was building. My heart pumped uncontrollably. I had only one option.
“I’ll see you…, sometime.” I bolted out the door abandoning my troops.
I arrived home bruised and cut. I had nearly died that night, yet not once was I in any danger.

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