Continued from part one. If you missed it, please redirect.
Before I get into some oh-so-exciting details of the actual prom night, let’s rewind a few weeks and explain, in my own words (from my very own Live Journal) what was happening. We’ll start with April 28, 2005. Two weeks before prom. Now, I am going to tell you that I cannot remember exactly what happened on this night, but I can say that I came home in tears around 11:00pm (my curfew, if you’d like to call it that) and wrote the following:
who the hell was i kidding?!
myself obviously. something’s changed. he doesn’t like me anymore. i am certain of it. his behavior tonight made it evident to me that he doesn’t want anything more to do with me. THANKS.
Now, fast forward to May 3, 2005. We are now a mere four days until prom. I once again, came home in tears around 11:00pm and wrote the following (which has been edited to suit PG audiences):
SCREW EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.
BECAUSE I HATE THEM ALL.
today, things hit rock bottom just as i predicted they would. i think this is a new record. this one lasted for about … one month and three weeks. i’ve been waiting for this slippery slope to start, and damn did it start last week. and wow, it hit rock bottom today and almost turned ugly but i walked away from it. i’ve had just about all i can take of this. really. right now i’d be JUST FINE if i never saw another guy again. i’m sick of their up and down insensitive bull crap, i’m sick of them acting like they want nothing to do with me, and i’m just sick of them period.
that’s it. i’m done.
Again, don’t ask me what happened because I cannot remember. This was the last I spoke of Ray in my journal before prom. And I remember, specifically, I worked a closing shift the night before prom at Panera, and I was sweeping the floor and talking to another girl co-worker about how I pretty much didn’t want to go to prom anymore and that things with Ray and I had gotten really bad, really fast. She said something to me that I still remember to this day: “Taylor, do not let him ruin your prom.” So I did just that. And you’d never know just how boiling mad I was inside by just glancing at the pictures.
Above is me outside on our beautiful lanai minutes before the chariot arrived. I had gotten my hair done and had the most perfect dress that I had tried on months before that I was able to track down thanks to The Other Courtney all the way in Potomac Mills in DC! (Oh and if you could not tell, I was not wearing a bra and I certainly did not need one!)
Away we go, inside of Ray’s precious, over-the-top, Mustang with a gigantic spoiler on the back. Note that I am (and probably he was too) laughing at both of my parents who were taking more pictures than at the first pitch at game one of the World Series. We drove to Kelli’s house, where a white limo with red ‘runway’ carpet awaited us. I still admire Kelli greatly for her confidence she displayed that day–she was the only one in our prom group who did not have a date. Yet she looked amazing!
Above is Kelli and me in the limo, on the way to the botanical gardens where we decided to take our group pictures. Ray was sitting on the other side of me, for that particular second. Little did I know that that second would be the only time he sat next to me in the limo. Later, I believe it was after dinner or even after pictures, he sat next to another girl in our group, who was my friend Tyler’s date. He proceeded to ride with his arm around her while I sat in the corner alone. Steam blowing from my ears? No way.
Above is our family photo. From the left we have Tiffany (Tyler’s date, a freshman in high school at the time), Tyler, myself, Ray, Jaime, Matt, Kelli, Chris (who had already graduated from high school the year prior), and his girlfriend Kelli. I was extremely pleased with how our pictures turned out and I would not trade that location for anything!
Above are the girls from our group on the dock outside of the restaurant we chose to eat at in downtown Tampa, Jackson’s. The sunset that evening was absolutely unreal, and we were thrilled we were able to capture it while so dressed up. Ray sat next to me at dinner, but was more interested in talking to Tiffany than he was talking to me at the table. Ignored by my own date at dinner? Never, ever.
The photo above can sum up our entire evening once we arrived at the dance. I remember when we arrived at the venue, the Italian Club in Ybor City, we walked up a set of stairs, and at the top was a boy I had liked since the beginning of senior year, but nothing had ever become of it, despite our apparent mutual interest in one another. His date, who was a freshman in college, snagged him as a prom date in early September 2004. She broke the “cardinal rule of prom asking” and asked someone else to their prom that was not her prom! Once we arrived into the ballroom, I honestly do not remember dancing with Ray at all except for maybe two songs that were slow songs. (And we all know they played more than two slow songs the entire night!) He was literally no where to be found, but I was told by others that he was with Tiffany for most of the night. That would mean that Tiffany’s date, Tyler, was left alone as well. Heartbreaking.
For many seniors, the actual dance portion of prom is just the beginning of the evening. People get hotel rooms, go to the beach, go to after-parties, and usually don’t come home until the next morning. This was the first and only night of my entire life that my parents literally told me, “I don’t care when you come home.” To this day, even when I go to their house at Christmas, they still have never muttered those same words to me. I could not tell you how happy I was to not have a curfew for the first time in my life. We got back in the limo around 11:30 or so, and I do not for one second remember sitting next to Ray. I do remember, vaguely, seeing Ray next to Tiffany in the limo as Tiffany lay her head on his shoulder. The steam was rising at this point and it was harder and harder to keep it inside of me. So, where does the limo take us after prom?
I remember vividly climbing out of the limo, Ray and Tiffany already way ahead of me, and some of the girls saying things to me, like, “we can’t believe what we’re seeing.” Neither could I, gals. We ordered ice cream at Sonic, and I sat at a different table than Ray, conveniently because he and Tiffany had already snagged another.
After the limo took us back to Kelli’s house, where everyone’s cars were, I was not going to be a bit surprised if Ray decided to go somewhere with Tiffany instead of me. It crossed my mind that I wondered how I would get home and if Kelli’s parents would have to take me. But Tiffany and Tyler jumped into his ’68 (I think?) Mustang and Ray and I jumped into his and we all went our separate ways. It was around 12:30 at this point, and I wasn’t ready to go home yet, but since the group had decided to split, I suppose we decided to each just do our own thing. Ray decided to drive us out to the “country” out by Fishhawk Ranch, which was a new development that was literally in the middle of nowhere. There are a lot of back country roads where he liked to take his Mustang “racing” late at night. We drove up to a new neighborhood off of one of the roads that was still under construction and he put the car in park and said, “OK, let’s make out.”
Now, pause the story for one second so I can say one thing: at this point in my life, I had still never kissed anyone. Okay, play the story again.
My thoughts were, “Oh my gosh, maybe he actually wants something to do with me now?” followed by a “oh no, please God do not let this be my first kiss…forced and awkward like this is.” We sat there, with the car running, not really saying much, and then a few minutes later, he puts the car in reverse and peels onto the country road surrounded by “Emo Field” on one side, and farm land on the other. He drove down these roads, zig-zagging all over, and said nothing to me. We were in silence for a good ten minutes or so, before we reached an intersection near civilization where he said, “Okay, want to go home now?”
He made a left turn and continued toward my house, and as we were turning off of this two lane road, he spoke again. “I’m going to miss you when you go to UCF next month.” My eyes darted back and fourth and I’m sure my mouth was at least partially opened. You’re going to miss me? I thought. Your actions have displayed the opposite in the last two weeks. I scrambled for words again and said, “Well, I’m having a going away party that you can come to,” and he didn’t really have much of a response to it other than, “maybe.” I also said something along the lines of, “I won’t be too far away.”
We pulled into my driveway and I still have the image burned into my head of what the clock read at that moment. 12:59. Seriously?! Prom night, my parents don’t give me a curfew, and I get home before 1:00am?! I told him thank you for the evening and got out of the car to punch the code into the keypad to open the garage door. Before the door was even halfway open, he was already gone. He didn’t walk me to the door and I don’t even remember if he so much as pulled into the driveway. I could not believe that the evening was finally over at such an un-Godly early hour.
My co-worker’s advice worked. I did not let him ruin my prom, despite his actions. This was my prom, and I was determined to have a good time. And girls that have yet to reach their senior year and have not yet experienced prom, all I have to say is this: it’s okay if you don’t have a date, and if you do, do not let him ruin your night. You will be so glad that you didn’t let a high school boy control your happiness.