Zachery drove towards the city with one hand on the wheel and another desperately clinging to a relationship he lost long ago. His hand squeezed mine in an uncomfortably tight grip, but I didn’t complain. Sitting as far away as I could from him, gazing out the window, I considered myself lucky that the hand at least stayed away from my legs after billionth time I told him to remove it.
With his brother and my best friend in the back seat, we made our way to our dinner reservations, where we were meeting a group of friends and their dates.
The best part of my junior prom night was just before dinner. We were so early, that it made no sense to sit in the restaurant. As such, we took a little detour to a Toys ‘R Us near by. There’s nothing like browsing a toy store while decked out in prom glory.
This idea was the brainchild of my friend and I. Her boyfriend, Zachery’s younger brother, wanted no part in our shenanigans, but Zachery made sure to come so he wouldn’t have to loosen the death grip he had on my hand. I was content in the knowledge I would break up with him in two weeks and decided to let it all slide. We had our fun and nearly encountered disaster when my friend tripped over a speed bump.
Lucky for us, Zachery’s brother was in the car to immortalize the moment.
I was so happy to have the uncomfortable silences of the car interrupted by all my dear friends as we sat at dinner. Many had boyfriends who graduated the year before or who attended other high schools, so it had been a while since I’d seen some of them. I got great big hugs from many.
As we settled into our table, I could already see the anger and distress in Zachery’s eyes. Already, I had given up caring. I was already angry and more than happy to distract myself by talking to everyone else. I don’t remember him engaging in much conversation, but that was pretty typical for him.
Also typical was that damn hand of his. At first, I just pushed it away, but it always came back. Sometimes, it’s come back higher, like he was trying to wrap his hand around my inner thigh. He was far to close to private areas for comfort and I kept telling him to knock it off. I pushed his hand away with more harshness and still, not five minutes later, it would return.
Each time I told him to leave my legs alone, he would say, “sorry, I forgot.” I knew that was bullshit. Certainly he had a memory span greater than a goldfish.
Dinner went on. Eventually, I stopped speaking to Zachery entirely. I ate my food, chatted with friends, and discreetly shoved Zachery’s hand away every five minutes. Maybe he could have used a good dose of embarrassment. Perhaps teenage TK should have stood up, yelled at her date and thrown a drink in his face just like the movies. Unfortunately, under her anger, teenage TK was embarrassed and scared. She was terrified someone would notice.
Once the meal was over, we again had some time to kill. Some people excused themselves to the restroom while others got out of their seats to congregate with people on opposite ends of the table.
I got up as well, to sit next to one of my friends dates who lived in a town many hours away. It had been a while since we’d seen each other and had enjoyed catching up with him and everyone else on that side of the table. Every once in a while, I would glance at Zachery. Still not speaking to anyone around him, he sat their seething and sulking. Again, I decided I didn’t care. He could speak with friends if he wanted. He could pick his butt up out of the chair and come join my conversation. I wasn’t going to ignore my friends and ruin my night just because he wanted to be the focal point of my attention.
Eventually, it was time to make our way to the roller rink that would act as our prom venue. Currently, the place was filled with parents surrounding a long red carpet that cut the rink in half. Those of us who had signed up lined up in another room and prepared to make our grand entrance.
Standing in line, surrounded by peers, some of who were my friends, some who were bullies and some who were neither, Zachery decided to put his hand on my ass. And here I thought his hand on my leg in public was embarrassing.
My anger shot to new heights as I moved his hand to the side of my torso – where it was supposed to be for the walk. It was a repeat of dinner. He kept putting his hand on my ass and I kept moving it, reviving my earlier refrain for him to knock it off. Each time, as if on que, he responded, “sorry, I forgot.”
As the announcer finally reached us and we made our way down the bedazzled roller rink floor, I couldn’t wait for the actual dance to begin. I had it in my head that I would be able to avoid him as I moved between conversations and dances between friends.
Zachery would make sure that wouldn’t happen.
Where was your high school prom held? Did you dance only with your date, or did you also dance with friends? Any theories on why Zachery wouldn’t knock it off? Seriously, to this day I have no idea why he wouldn’t listen to me. Do you buy his ‘sorry, I forgot’ excuse?