The limo deposits my friends, my date, and I at a fancy downtown venue. I look up at the sign, the Marlborough Hotel, and wonder why someone named a classy-enough place after a cigarette. We congregate awkwardly, trying to decide whether it’s cooler to go inside or loiter on the sidewalk. The scene bears an eerie resemblance to Crocodile Dundee arriving in New York.
Option Z is surprisingly attentive. Maybe it’s because his tall frame has a good view of my strapless cleavage. Maybe it’s because there are adults present. Maybe it’s because he’s still sober. Whatever the reason, the dinner and dance pass uneventfully. I don’t trip on my heels, my breasts stay in the dress, and my feet and I survive “Forever Young.” Even the fact that I am forced to lead doesn’t deter me.
The night at this point, however, is young, perhaps forever young. We exit the Marlborough Hotel, wave to the hookers working the other side of the street, and board a yellow school bus bound for the party site. The driver of the bus, of course, is someone I know; he is the father of Date Option Y, the shotgun boy. Does he know the chased-by-a-gun story? We nod to each other, knowingly.
The bus arrives at the party, an expansive rural property complete with a kidney-shaped pool. We disperse, I change into jeans and a t (and a bra), and I don’t see Option Z for an hour. Not until I look up to the night sky. He is standing on the roof, naked except for a pair of boxers and a daring grin. The next thing I know he is barreling off the roof toward the eight-feet-deep swimming pool. He seems suspended in mid air, resembling the wild-haired comic strip character, Calvin, without his sober sidekick, Hobbes. Miraculously, Option Z misses the cement patio and getting a Darwin Award.
For yet another hour, Option Z is AWOL. I wander around the patio and look down, into the hot tub. He is playing some serious tonsil hockey with my friend, not the one who ends up pregnant, but one of my strapless-bra-wearing limo friends. There is a lot of mutual groping going on, only some of which is concealed by the whirlpool bubbles. I am transfixed by the extended-dance-mix make-out session before turning away, searching desperately for a different song, a different sight, anything.
I run into her original date. I briefly think of kissing him until I remember that he’s boob height and that snogging other people’s dates isn’t my style. Our conversation goes something like this.
“What the @#$%’s going on?”
“No sh*t, Sherlock.”
“What do we do?”
Before either of us can answer, I wander away. My brain cycles a la Hamlet, plotting revenge only to talk myself out of it. Option Z attempts to talk to me. I am mute. I have become a prom cliché.
I retrieve my corsage from my tent and look at the ball of roses. Coral is the color of desire. I grab it, wander to the back and shred the petals into the empty hot tub. I don’t stick around to watch the filter clog, but I do stride away standing a little taller, thanks partially to a supportive bra.