The Prom

My cousin, who is a high school senior, is said to be excited over an event taking place on the coming weekend – the JS Prom. I heard he wanted to get a tux but it turned out to be quite expensive and impractical since he was going to outgrow it within a year or two. He settled for the most common attire worn on a prom in the province – slacks, long sleeves, and tie.

I vaguely remember my own JS Prom in the mid-90s. It was one of my high school memories – and there are only a handful – that I’d rather have the Haitian erase from my brain. I would probably cringe when I stumble on a photo of a 15-year-old me wearing cream colored pants and a blue plaid long-sleeves that was a size bigger than my 100-lb frame. I was rail thin then with a serious inferiority complex.

To make matters worse, I was also selected to receive the “Book of Knowledge” from the senior class. That means writing a speech, committing it to memory, and speaking in front of around 400 students. That’s practically my nightmare right there – public speaking. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a split-second when my teachers relayed the news. I probably tried to decline but my teachers wouldn’t take no for an answer.

So I caved. I was the obedient student. I went up the stage on prom night, received the Holy Bible aka Book of Knowledge, and gave my speech. I remember dancing to a few songs with someone whose name and face escapes me now. I remember spending the rest of the night guarding the Bible like a hawk and restlessly checking my watch, waiting for the prom to end.

I guess if the JS Prom was held a year later – the prom back then was a bi-annual event – I would have jumped at the chance at making that speech. I would have danced more slow songs. I would have not sulked. I would have tried to mingle. And I would not be embarrassed to show a picture of me holding a mic on one hand and a Bible on the other.

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