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Prom Night

Prom Night
Zahara Foster

I don’t think that this is how it was supposed to go. I think we were supposed to have fun.

Our entrance doesn’t turn any heads, I didn’t expect it to. Instead of wanting their attention I’d rather watch their vanity. I basked in it; the sea of glittering eyelids and aching feet. The select few grasping at their waning relevancy never failed to entertain. Myriads of photos where the boys display back-pinching induced smiles that end up being glued to screens for the remainder of the night. A pang of envy strikes as I look at the scene.

The ones we’ve all been waiting for finally arrive, I can breathe again. They look like the kind of people you’d see in a magazine – garishly bold tagline reads: “Couple of the century.” I don’t how to feel about that. You liked them though, thought they were something to aspire to be. He grazes her back ever so carefully and she lets out a feeble giggle; I get the sense that their touches mean things the rest of us will never decipher. Whilst you liked their love, I much preferred their mystery. Would I ever find out why she was crying at the end of the night? Why was he nowhere to be seen?

It was all so human.

Under the moving Technicolor lights and besides the blaring speaker it dawned on me that this was not the remembering of an end but the induction to a bright beginning. Ditch your girlhood at the door and never look back. Learn to numb the touches, appreciate the comments.

Give us something at the door to distract from the fact that our faces won’t look the same in ten years, something to ease the pain. So it’s nice, palliative. It’s the least they could do.

You hated the boys who stood in the corner and laughed at us, at the occasion. They thought we were all mindless machines with hollow heads. They thought they were above the facade, above the pretences. I pitied them. How could they not be sucked into the blooming lights? From the growing cavity inside them emerged striking judgement, and I couldn’t say I blamed them.

I channelled my invisibility differently. I looked at them like no one had before. After a while you’ll see that they’re not all that different. They have fears and faults – they may be more banal than ours, but they hold the same bearing. You see that they’re not invincible, if anything they’re exponentially more delicate than you and I.

In hindsight, I retract my previous statement; I think I did have fun. Maybe I didn’t dance as violently as they did that night or laugh as much, but I saw something so clearly in the sweaty mess that I beheld. We may feel different from them, inferior at times; but we are all burdened by hollowness that solace from can only be found in the refuge of others.