?Prom is approaching, and I?m not ready,? I think to myself. ?I haven?t bought my dress yet, my shoes, or made any appointments. I don?t even have a date! I can?t say I blame the guys around here,? I mumble while feeling very sorry for myself. ?I?m very predictable. I do the same things every day! I wake up, get ready for school, walk outside to my freezing cold car and scrape off the windows, and head off to school. I wish Dad would let me park in the garage. I?m the one that has to leave the house at 7:00 a.m. It is more work for me, though. I don?t think anyone really notices, or cares. I only see Dad about twice a week when he comes home from work earlier than normal.? I roll out of bed, and stare at my beeping alarm clock with glowing red numbers. Stretching up to the sky, I think, ?I can?t be late for school anymore or the teachers will give me detention. Father would not be pleased.?
While exploring my closet, the only outfit that is hanging is a white turtleneck, with a green vest, and dark green jeans. I pull it out of the closet and hang it up next to the shower. A warm shower actually seems like a good idea. After I?m finished with my shower, I put the out-of-style turtleneck and vest on, and squeeze into the size 5 jeans. ?I?m just lying to myself by thinking these things fit. I?d be much better off with a size 8 or 9. Maybe if Mom was still here, I would have some sense of fashion. I really don?t know how I?m supposed to dress. I don?t think Dad would even consider helping me out. He?s too busy with his more important patients.?
I scrape off the dirty windows of my old, rusty car and begin to drive to school like any other day. I pass the cheerleaders giggling in their pretty skirts to the right, and the cute guys following them, as usual. ?I bet they all live normal lives,? I whisper to myself before turning on the radio to my favorite station.
After sitting through my first four hours of classes, I realize that almost every girl is looking through a prom magazine, or gossiping about other people. ?I can?t take this anymore. I need to go home,? I guess. ?Tuxedos, prom dresses, appointments? I think I?m going nuts.?
?That looks good! I keep getting better at forging things! Dad will never notice. He has never really written me a note. The offices don?t know that I?m actually writing all of them. I could probably write a letter using Mom?s name, too. They might catch on to that, though. She died of cancer a little more than three years ago.? The usual pangs of sad memories shoot through my stomach. I quickly fold up the note and shove it into my back pocket and rush out of the classroom.
Throwing my note into the attendance office?s excuse box on the way, I frantically run out to my car. After a couple of false starts, my old 1988 Chevy Nova finally turns over. It roars and smokes, but it still moves when I step on the gas. That?s all I care about. Driving faster than usual, I swerve around the hot, paved road trying to find my favorite tape and hoping no cops will pull me over.
?Safe and sound,? I say as I roll into my driveway listening to my 1990 Enigma tape. I slam my door and run up to my room crying because I?m so frustrated with school, and prom, and my dad. Shuffling around in my dark room, I find the phone and dial my grandma?s phone number. ?Oh good, it?s ringing,? I say, short of breath.
?Do you care about me??
?Of course I do. Why would you ask a silly thing like that??
?Okay, I?ll be there,? I say sadly.
I hang up the phone and sprawl out on my twin size bed. ?I don?t even think my grandma cares about me. If she did, she wouldn?t ditch me for Mack, or any other guy,? I talk to myself, again. ?I have no reason to live. No one would notice if I was gone. I wonder if Dad would even feel sad?? I think while fumbling through my father?s medicine drawer. I scan the labels of all the bottles, but they all look foreign to me. ?I guess since he?s a doctor, he knows what all of these pills are. I would ask him, but he would get suspicious.? I close the medicine drawer and walk over to my bed. I lift the down quilt up and crawl beneath it, falling asleep faster than usual so I can stop thinking about prom. I guess that is a good thing.
The next morning, instead of going to school, I go over to my grandma?s house. Her house is a small wooden cottage in the middle of a dense forest. The scent of her home always lingers in my mind. It?s Grandma?s smell, and I?ll never forget it. It would make any person feel like they?re walking on clouds and eating cherry pie.
I tap on the door, ?Anybody home?? I call.
Grandma opens the door and excuses her messy house, even though her house is always spotless. ?How are you doing, Holly?? she asks with a concerned look on her face.
?I didn?t go to school today because I didn?t feel well. I can?t stop thinking about prom. It?s coming up in two weeks. I?m not prepared to go or invited.?
?Oh,? she says as she takes a seat in her wooden chair beside me.
Her voice hints to me that she knew what I was thinking. The look in her eye makes me wonder about how my mom would be doing if she hadn?t had cancer.
Grandma walks over to her dresser, rummages through her drawer, and pulls out a pink box. It looks soft and long with red hearts embroidered around the sides. ?I have something for you,? she says as she walks back toward me. Maybe this will make you feel a little bit better.?
I open the beautiful box, and there is a golden rope necklace inside attached to a little yellow note.
Hi Holly. This is a necklace that my mother gave to me. I wanted to give it to you, too. It always made me feel safe when I wore it. Sometimes it helped me see that when bad things happen, it?s not the end of the world.
I take the golden necklace out of the box and my grandma clasps it around my neck. We hug and cry together and before I leave, and I realize everything will finally be okay.
?So where is your prom this year?? Grandma asks.
?It?s on the Santa Fe Cruise Ship. It?ll last 6 hours; I can?t wait. We?re departing and returning in San Francisco. Isn?t that romantic??
?Nah? I think I?m going to go prom dress shopping.?
Grandma smiles and winks at me, ?Have fun!?
?Hey Hol, do you have a date for prom yet??
?No,? I smile and blush.
?Sure! That?d be great!?
?Okay. It?s a date,? he says as he walks back to his desk grinning.
?All aboard?? The captain says as everyone boards the big cruise boat.
Now I?m standing in line with about a hundred other teenagers eagerly waiting to get inside. Through the walls, I can hear the beats pumping, and I?m longing for the photographer to let the line move. Finally it?s our turn. ?Cheese,? we say as the flash blinds us. I walk to the coat check and hang up my coat. I can feel the strong bass from the lower deck vibrate through my body. Next we walk to the cover charge booth, pay the charge and get ready to go into the ballroom. As soon as the brass double doors open, the music hits me like a cold January wind. The rhythm surrounds me, pushing me to get into the groove. There are lights, flowers, cameras, and couples everywhere. Everyone seems so happy and looks so beautiful. For me, this dance is like an escape from reality. You leave your problems at the coat check and dance the night away. The dancing and laughing is endless. I hold my necklace close to me and have the best time of my life with Andy and my mom.