Thursday, April 12, 2007

ode to a box of dust: part 1

Part of my problem during Spring Cleaning is that, while digging through boxes that haven't seen UV in years, I stop and gingerly leaf through letters and ticket stubs reminiscing while the sun goes down around me and my makeshift fort made of piles of stuff.

These are the contents of a 10-year-old Nike shoebox I found in the back of my closet:

It's every corsage/bouquet of note I have been able to hang on to during the last 15 years, dried and preserved. Every time I opened that box, a flood of memories came rushing back, which is probably why I haven't gotten rid of these things. So, to convince myself that throwing these rotting skeletons of once-beautiful flowers away isn't a crime against all that is sentimental, I snapped some pictures and will share some of the memories with you:

When your parents come from a place like India, you have to take the good with the bad. I'm talking about a society that generally says "Do not even look in the direction of the opposite sex" for years, then suddenly one day: "Hurry up and get married so you can make as many grandchildren as possible. 1-2-3, GO!" While my parents are a great deal more reasonable than that, I was deathly afraid of them finding out that I actually spoke with boys and even dared to "date" one (if you consider passing notes, talking on the phone, getting rides home from school and going to six movies in three years dating). Most of my fear was that my parents would have to dodge barbs or be ostracized from the Auntie Patrol for being so lenient if I did something stupid like be caught holding his hand in public. Or even worse, attend a school dances with a date. But I did it anyway. Very carefully.

1) When I was 15, I had a crush on a family friend and swooned to find out he liked me back. This corsage was from senior-year Homecoming two years later, the only dance at my school he was able to sneak away from his parents to attend. He wore a black suit and a Mickey Mouse tie and I wore a long-sleeved, floor-length, clingy evergreen dress (the top part was sparkly!). It was made of the kind of fabric that hugs every last curve, but back then I didn't have too many of those, good or bad. A few years ago I tried it on again before giving it to my modelesque cousin, and while I filled it out much better that time, I had to suck in my stomach because the four-pack is now a distant memory. If highschool girls only knew what was coming down the road, they'd be so much easier on themselves. And each other.

2) My father had once watched a Leeza (Gibbons' short-lived Oprahesque talkshow from the early '90s) episode about date rape at The Prom. And although I'm pretty sure he still doesn't fully understand what The Prom is to this day, he forbade me to attend under any circumstances.

I wasn't big into school dances anyway, but I didn't want to regret not going to my senior prom after it was too late. Mr. Mickey Mouse Tie declined my invitation, citing too many logistical problems with lying to our parents, but suggested I go with a friend. And after much debate with ri about the probability of my saying yes--even though, Duh--highcontrast called me up and asked, "so, do you wanna go or what?"

Years of sneaking around on dangerous reputation-destroying missions such as meeting my boyfriend for coffee when I said I'd be at the library taught me that you don't necessarily have to lie. I sweetly told my dad that the school was having a party at a hotel banquet hall for all the soon-to-be-graduates and that I'd need a formal dress. I also threw in that they'd be seating us boy-girl-boy-girl out of tradition, so I'd be sitting with kaiya and highcon, both of whom he already knew. Pops said cool, and handed over the money.

I leafed through the phonebook to help my date order the corsage while we procrastinated writing our English papers. It had tiny pink roses and baby's breath with grey ribbon and tulle. I wore a sleeveless gunmetal-colored satin floorlength dress and had sewn a ridiculous bolero jacket to wear over it so that my father would allow me out of the house. It came off as soon as I was out the door, but I put it back on for the pictures because my mother would want to see them (she knew nothing was going to happen with highcon and distracted my dad while i snuck out). I had my friends pick me up down the block and I put the corsage on myself in the parking lot as we walked in. It definitely wasn't romantic, but all the lame couples clinging to each other on the dancefloor were sneering at us all night out of envy. Afterward, we met up with the Prom Protesters and hung out in downtown Chicago. I had a fabulous time.

Years later, I was watching the Dawson's Creek prom episode where everyone was yelling, fighting and storming out on each other. My father happened to walk in just as I turned to my brother and said, "See? This is why I went to The Prom with highcon. Absolutely no drama."


It just goes to show that even the most careful of goody-two-shoes can't hide things forever.


jazz said...

yeah, but highcon was a particularly safe person to bring with you, i think...

Anonymous said...

Wow, you should be, like a spy or something.

Alexandra said...

HEY! i resent that! i was not a prom "protester" i was a prom IGNORER! :)))) hehehe

funny, did your dad say it to you last year?

cadiz12 said...

nah, doubleagency is out; i'm a hopeless liar.

Librarian Girl said...

That is HILARIOUS. You have to keep the corsage, if it makes you remember all that!