A lot of you have asked me how I remember so much of my high school days. The truth is, I kept a diary. I didn’t write in it every day, or even every week, but when I had something I was truly excited about, I wrote it down. And if you can’t already tell, this was an exciting time. But high school in general, for me, was a bit magical. I know lots of people flat out hated it, and I am so so sorry for that. For me, it has some of my best memories. I think I found out a lot about myself and what I loved and what I wanted out of life.
That’s why I love blogging so much. Because I’m able to reflect on things that have passed and have a record of my perspective. It’s easy to lose sight of what happens in life. This is also why I don’t think I can ever have a niche blog. I love talking about everything at one time.
Now, onto the homecoming dance.
Part 4 starts now:
Michael and I were going to homecoming together. My room was littered with clothes everywhere. It looked like someone had taken everything out of my closet and shook it onto the floor and my bed. But I had to find the perfect outfit to wear to the football game.
I already had my 70’s themed patterned dress and knee-high, 4 inch, white patent leather boots ready for Saturday. But tonight was the game and I wanted to wear something stunning but casual. Stakes and stress were high.
“That looks nice,” Mom reiterated for the 12th time when I came out in a pair of jeans and cream sweater.
“But is it the right look?” I pondered, turning around in the full length mirror in my parent’s bedroom.
When I finally agreed that I wouldn’t get better than the sweater, the doorbell rang.
I looked at Mom, wide-eyed, “He’s early. Make Dad get it.”
I slipped on my brown mules and heard my Dad making jokes. He’s not even trying to scare him! Say something like, “Have her back by 12 or else!” I thought. I could hear Michael’s ease in talking to him, so I knew it was a good sign.
I swiped on some last minute gloss and prepared to present myself to the room, like any normal 17-year-old.
Michael and I beamed at each other and he grabbed my hand and we headed to the car. I nervously crossed and uncrossed my legs as we headed to California Pizza Kitchen. We were the first ones there, since he picked me up early, so we waited outside while the others in our group arrived.
“You look pretty tonight,” Michael smiled.
“Thanks, so do you. I mean… you look… um nice,” I stuttered. Pull yourself together, I thought, it’s only the very last homecoming of your senior year ever. I tended to over think things. Especially if it was the “last” of something. I am overly sentimental and sensitive to savor the finality of the moment, not wanting to forget a single thing. Which was proving especially hard since it was Senior year, after all.
Others arrived and we took an elevator to the second floor of the restaurant. CPK, that’s what the cool kids called California Pizza Kitchen, felt elevated. Like it wasn’t a casual establishment where families took their kids to eat pizza. It felt important and unique. Even if there are over 200 locations in the US.
The football game was eventful and we slaughtered the other team. Michael and I would share quick glances at each other and hold hands from time to time. I felt my heart flutter in my chest at these nuances. Sure, I had boyfriends, but I’d never really felt like they were genuinely interested in spending time with me, especially at a football game.
He’s not your boyfriend yet, Helene, I reminded myself as we made the short drive home from the stadium to my house. Michael pulled his red truck, Delilah, in front of the house, centered by the large oak tree, and walked me to the door.
The red double doors of my house seemed to loom above me as we approached. I wasn’t really sure what would happen next. Would we kiss? Hug? Shake hands? Come up with a new hand sign? This is the part I was dreading. And I knew this part would tell me how he really felt.
Before I could push open the door, Michael grabbed both my hands, “Tonight was fun, I can’t wait for tomorrow.” He pulled me in and sweetly kissed me. I thought I might pass out from happiness.
I headed inside and dreamed of dancing the night away.
Yesterday was fun, but tonight was the big show. I felt sassy and cute in my authentic 70’s dress, hoop earrings, and boots. I made sure to get ready early, just in case Michael was early again. Plus, we were set to take pictures at a friend’s house before dinner and the dance.
Michael arrived and Mom took multiple pictures of us posing and laughing.
The dance was held inside of Dallas’ World Trade Center. The lights twinkled on a fountain as we made our way to the front to get tickets. I looked down at the name Michael wrote as his date, “Helene Flarity.”
“Umm Michael,” I raised my eyebrows.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“You do know my name is Flournoy. Right?”
“That’s a really hard last name. Sula is easy. It’s 4 letters. Flournoy is like… 10.” He said, blushing a bit.
“Actually it’s 8! I guess it is hard, you could have just asked me,” I laughed. My own date, one that I would hope would turn into my boyfriend, couldn’t even spell my last name right.
“Come on Flarity,” he grabbed my hand, “I know you want to be on the dance floor.”
We spent the whole night twirling, dipping, shaking, and swaying. I didn’t dance with anyone else and the times we weren’t dancing, we were holding hands. I sweated and performed, without a care in the world. I tended to “perform” at dances. I really couldn’t help it. And by, perform I mean start dancing as if people were there to watch me.
When the DJ played Lil’ Flip’s “Game Over”, I lost it. I got down, showing off all my moves. Many people, especially potential boyfriends, might get freaked out by this display.
But instead Michael yelled, “take a picture of this! She’s awesome!” And then, at that very moment, I knew that I could fall in love with this guy. We went to grab a glass of water and he marveled at the fact that I would just bust out my dance moves without abandon.
It felt magical and most of all, I felt like myself. Homecoming was important, but this homecoming was the last one. But I didn’t feel teary eyed or even nostalgic in that moment, I just wanted to be present.
Things were moving in the right direction. I felt overwhelmingly happy. But I wasn’t his girlfriend. Would I ever be?