With our intense love of Lord of the Rings, bodies discombobulated by puberty, and a complete lack of fashion sense or taste in popular music, my friends and I decided that we weren’t going to get dates to our 8th grade prom.
Rather than awkwardly standing around for three hours watching people dance and make out with each other, my two friends and I created our own holiday: Anti-Prom.
There would be no dance music; just action movies. The only girls allowed were Arwen and Galadriel in our Lord of the Rings trading card decks. And no dress clothes. Button-downs were for wimps.
As we all convened at my house for Anti-Prom, we became giddy with excitement. We were spitting in the faces of the people who had spat in ours for the past three years of middle school. They could have their prom; ours was going to be spectacular. We even splurged and bought a large pepperoni pizza. Anti-Prom could do no wrong.
Merrily we sat and watched Nicolas Cage in “Gone in Sixty Seconds”, being the man we wished we could be. When the movie ended, our reenactment and line-for-line quotation began. As we hurtled down the halls of my apartment in imaginary sports cars, we reveled in the fact that no one was going to make us listen to The Baha Men as we watched the girls we wanted dance with the guys we despised. After humming the end credit music, we collapsed on the floor to drink our Boylan’s Cream Sodas.
“This is the life,” one of my friends said. We all nodded emphatically in agreement.
But then we stopped and looked around at what our lives were. When it came down to it, our lives were the three of us, staying together. But after graduation, we were all going to different high schools. High schools where we would be alone, facing the tall seniors who would hang us by our hoodies from light fixtures on the ceilings. Such a fate seemed worse than death.
To comfort our dismay at our near-certain futures, we started playing our Lord of the Rings trading card game. It was during our campaign to storm the gates of Mordor that the game took a surprising turn. No longer were we telling the story of how the fellowship fought against Lord Sauron for the sovereignty of Middle Earth. Instead our trading cards began acting out how the three of us were going to be in high school.
We were going to have people that would want us to sit with them at their lunch table.
We were going to crack jokes in class that lots of students would laugh at.
We were going to kiss girls!
When we completed our trading card quest, we all cheered wildly. We weren’t going to be this way forever. And I realize now that even if our lives didn’t change, that wouldn’t have been so bad either.