When prom time came around, no one had asked me. Most of my guy friends had previously been nabbed, and all of my best friends were going with their loyal boyfriends. It was junior prom. It was my prom. And three weeks before, I was still dateless. Holding out, as if someone was going to ask me. So at this time I decided to ask Chad*. It was perfect; he was from a different school, everyone would find him mystifying.
He had gorgeous brown eyes that zoomed in on yours when he talked. His deep skin, that wasn't too dark or too light, covered muscle. He stood not too tall, but not too short. Everything about him appeared flawless. His smile was impeccable -- and the words that came out of it! The words flowed like molasses and sounded so perfect no matter what he was saying. Girls swooned openly, as it read so clearly across their faces. He was beautiful. Everyone knew it.
Plus he was adorable. And maybe after an amazing prom night dancing around a ballroom, he would fall for me.
Besides, he seemed pretty nice.
So about two and a half weeks before the "big show," I asked him. It was casual; I didn't shout my question from a rooftop or decorate his front steps with flower petals: I just asked him. And he grinned and said yes.
I was floating on a cloud. I couldn't wait. He was beautiful, and I actually had a date. My "ex" would see that I was happy. And that would be all too fulfilling for me. Besides, Chad was smart. And athletic.
So in the next two weeks I scurried around trying to find a dress, transportation, shoes, all of it. Five days before I had everything done. I was desperately trying to fill Chad in on the stats, like when to pick me up, where we would be and what was he wearing? He would just nod or on the phone just mutter in agreement. Although he didn't seem overly enthusiastic, he did appear committed.
Three days before the big dance, I called Chad. His deep voice answered, I still shuddered upon first hearing it.
"So, do you want to pick me up about five Saturday?" I was so stressed out. "Or I mean, what's best for you? I'm sorry this is so rushed. I'm just glad you can come."
"Well, uh, Jess," his soothing voice drifted off at the end.
I waited, picturing myself in my recently acquired dress, deep blue to match my eyes. I pictured us walking in the doors together, and seeing everyone gasp in delight.
"I'm not going."
Suddenly, my daydream exploded into a poof, just like in an old cartoon. It took me a second, and then I pictured his sweet face again. "What did you say?"
"I can't go. I'm not. I'm sorry. You can call me a jerk now." Unfortunately for me, these molasses-like sounds came off as something I couldn't enjoy.
He seemed so nonchalant; disbelief spread across my face: my mouth dropped, and I stopped breathing. "Um, what? Why?"
His explanations ran wild, intertwining and not making any sense in my head. I just kept picturing his face, and what it looked like as he said these words to me over the phone.
I waited till I drove to see my best guy friend. Then I cried.
Although I wouldn't let him have the power of hearing me cry, I still let him win. Whatever the game was. Sitting in shock, thinking about how I wouldn't be at prom, I simply muttered "it's fine" and "whatever." And underneath that beautiful head of hair, he just couldn't get how truly upset I was. He was a senior, he had already gone to his prom. He was going to go off to college in a couple of months. He had no regrets. But there's me, sitting there in awe that he had ever said yes, and how he had so casually said no. If only I had looked past the biceps and smile, I could have seen the lack of soul.
It also seems that you can't find someone with both beauty and brains. And it takes a few wrong turns to figure out which one is really more important. But in a painful way I did, and I'm thankful to have figured it out this early in the game. However you look at it, I was shallow. But I've also learned that beauty is really, truly, only skin deep.
Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. - Kahlil Gibran
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