It's prom night. And the past two hours of my life could not have been more manic if Mack Sennett had directed it.
Last weekend, Everett decided that she really must have her dress shortened. I tried to warn her off of this, if there even proved to be time enough to carry it off between Monday and Wednesday. She knew what she had--a beautiful long black dress, and you never know what might happen when you get something altered, especially at a place you don't really know. We don't get things altered much. We're jes' folks.
But the long black dress, which had been a long teal dress before it was exchanged, was no longer going to stand out as much as she had hoped. One of the reasons she got it was because most of the girls were planning to wear cute little babydoll numbers. So Everett was of a mind to make an entrance like Angelina Jolie. Then, in their pack mentality, the other girls decided to "go long" too. This, of course, foiled Everett's plans, hence the last minute search for a tailor.
The dress came out all right. The tailor did it quickly, and Everett picked it up the following day. At least I thought it came out all right.
"It's a little bit longer than I wanted it," she griped, walking out in the dress and her socks. "They probably did that Everett, because while you can shorten a long dress, you can't lengthen a short dress. Better to err on the side of too long."
"But there's no time to fix it now, they should have made it shorter!" I reminded her that the tailor did the dress for her in one day, and had it ready on the eve of the prom.
"It also makes me look fat," she frowned, turning sideways. "Oh Everett, it does not!" I sighed. "This is the same exact dress you bought, only now it comes down to your knees instead of your ankles."
Trouper that she is, she worked her mind games on herself and made herself like the dress again within the space of five or ten minutes. "Don't worry, I'm ok with it now," she called in from her bedroom.
What a relief.
She was annoyed with Josh, though. She "let" Josh go to the tux place by himself and pick out his own vest, which was a promotion from last year, when she dogged him every step of the way. She told him he could select what he wanted, but that "light blue might be good." Josh, unfortunately, didn't catch the medicine-ball sized hint, went off on a slight tangent and picked dark blue. "Mailbox blue, do you believe it??" Everett huffed. She rolled her eyes to the heavens, "Why do I let him go out and do anything??"
Hair. Up? Down? Sideways? Long and loose? An updo? She'd look nice with it any way...
All the seniors at school were allowed to leave after third period, either after being signed out by a parent or signing themselves out if they were eighteen. Like a vast herd of cattle, they all stormed the main office to sign the book, with the secretaries manning the counter. "Out! Everybody out already!" Blanca hollered to keep things moving so we could all get back to normal.
Everett went to the catering hall with Sue, the student affairs coordinator, to do a last minute check of the place. She was pleased when she called me at my desk to report back that the place looked beautiful, and that it was a good thing she went, so she could make a last-minute shuffle of a few of the place settings. She had already done the seating arrangements herself. "Sue," I had warned, "you're giving Everett waaaay to much power. She's like the hand of God, for Pete's Sake!"
"Sue is going to drop me off at the salon, Mom, can you come over and pay?"
"Um, Everett, I'm at work," I reminded her. "I can't go over there now."
"Hunh. We'll do you know when you can come over?"
"Yes, I can come over at four, when I get off. When do you think you'll be done?"
I got there about four as the rain started to fall. Rain for the prom. Bummer. Everett was nowhere near done, nor was her friend Nikki, though at least Nikki was no worry of mine. Zack called to tell me he had brought a couple of pals home.
"Oh no...noooo, no!" I said. "You and your buddies have to get out. You thirteen year old nitwits cannot be there while your sister is getting dressed for the Prom!" I told him to get some money out of the jar in the kitchen. "You guys go out and get some pizza and stay away for a while. You can make one face at your sister through the beauty parlor window, but that's it!"
"So, I guess you'll still be ok to get there by 5:30," I was thinking out loud. "No, it's 5:15," Everett said. "I thought it was 5:30, but it was 5:15. Oh, and I told Josh we'd pick him up."
What?? OK, time to kick it into gear a little. "Where is Josh?" I asked.
Home taking a nap was where Josh was. Men, you gotta love 'em. I guess. "OK Everett, call Josh and make sure he's up." She called. "He's up Mom, he wants to know what time he should start getting ready." Start getting ready. Men, you gotta love 'em. At least you gotta try. "I think you should tell Josh he should start getting ready now, Honey, because I am going to run up there and pick him up in fifteen minutes!"
As the beautician spackled on the final coating of eyeshadow, I asked Everett if she had gotten her panty hose. She grimaced. One fifty-yard dash to the drugstore and back later, I presented her with three pairs, pick your color. We paid and tipped the salon ladies and jumped in the van for the quick ride home in the now-driving rain, I dropped Everett off, and flew up the highway to get Josh.
I screeched to a halt in front of his house. He ambled on out, and looked quite handsome, I must say. And the vest looked fine to me. "You look beautiful Josh, now get in!"
"We're on our way back, Everett, come downstairs, we're late, and please bring my camera!" I phoned as I raced back down. All the students would be congregating under the arcade of the school to keep out of the rain. I wanted to get a few shots; I had been looking forward to it all day. Perfect timing as she runs into Frank the Tutor, going in the building as she's rushing out. "Bella! Bella! Bella! You're beautiful!" He gives her a giant bear hug in his expansive Italian fashion, and turns to give me a big wave and Josh the evil eye as he goes inside.
She looked so pretty. Josh snapped to and remembered his manners, jumping out to help her in the car. Was Everett actually blushing? I think she was, for a second.
"Do you have my camera?" I asked. "Thanks, let me just check it quickly...." Click. Click. Click. Oh no. Oh no. Damn. I forgot to take the other battery out of the charger and switch it. I'm such an idiot. I had been looking forward all day to taking the pictures before they left in the limo. I had thought there would be time after work to go upstairs, get the camera, get my act together, and help Everett get ready. But the salon visit had taken too long, then the time it took to get Josh. The rain.
There was no time to do anything about it now.
"You're not crying, are you Mom?" Everett asked as we waited at a red light on the way to the school. "No, no, don't be ridiculous," I said, but I was, actually. Streaming and wiping as I drove. "Oh don't Mom, please! There will be plenty of people taking pictures, and they'll be posted on Facebook, and Megs will definitely take pictures of me and Josh, and we'll get the best one, and we'll put it in a frame for you, and it will be ok....please don't cry."
I pulled it together. To lighten the mood a little, she turned around and announced to Josh, "I look like a hooker and you look like a nerd!"
"Works for me," he deadpanned.
There were the kids, all dressed up. There were the parents, taking pictures. ("I will not start crying again!" I steeled myself.) They looked so nice. "Don't go, come on, Mom, come on in for a few minutes."
The kids exchanged their corsages and boutinerres. Awwww. We all mingled companionably for a few minutes. The limos idled by quietly.
"Oh my gosh!" Everett's hands flew up to her cheeks.
"What, what??" Josh asked. Heads turned.
"I forgot the money for the limo driver! I left it on Dad's table!"
One more mad dash home in the rain. I called Zack. Back from his pizza, alone at home. I guess I had scared off the other two. "Please bring down the envelope with the money, Zack! And while you're at it, please see if you can find the camera battery in the charger...it's black, and about the size of a pack of cigarettes."
Zack came down with the envelope and the A/C adapter and cord to my netbook, something that didn't look anything whatsoever like the camera battery charger or a pack of cigarettes. Oh well, photos were just not meant to be this evening.
But that's OK. They're off under the stars now. It's stopped raining.
They'll have the night of their lives.
And I'll have a glass of wine.