From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV


Friendship is a horizon—which expands whenever we approach it.

E. R. Hazlip

During fifth-grade recess, my girlfriends and I wouldn’t play kickball with the other kids. Instead, we stayed behind at the benches and made pencil sketches on blue-lined binder paper.

We sketched puppies, flowers, kittens, and my personal favorite—the future prom dress, with every detail, down to the long staircase (for the big entrance) and a crystal chandelier.

I was ten then; prom was seven years away. I was Chinese, so I didn’t have a quinceanera, debutante ball or Bat Mitzvah. Prom was the one shot I had to live my Cinderella story. My only other opportunity to live the princess fantasy would be my wedding day—and I wasn’t going to wait that long!

I needed prom. It was what high school was all about. Where even the most gawky of girls (me) could become a swan. It was puberty’s heyday.

The dresses I sketched were fit for a night of being swept away by a prince. But I could never get a sketch quite right. All the other girls drew their dresses so evenly, earnestly and beautifully. I couldn’t do it. All the while, I had a very picture-perfect vision of my prom even though it never translated well onto paper.

Years into my teenage life I still sketched these future moments. Not with paper, but in my mind—sometimes down to the last syllable of imagined dialogue. Sometimes down to the most minute detail of weather or scenery. I sketched first kisses, weddings, relationships and big, important events that transform a life into “a life.”

Sometimes I think I’ve spent more time sketching than living.

Two days before the prom my boyfriend left me for someone else. He had a new girlfriend and a new date for the prom. I ended up going with my best friend, Danielle.

I wore a black slip dress. As Danielle and I danced, I tried not to look at my ex while he danced with and kissed his date. I tried not to cry about how wrong this whole scene was.

There was no romancing. No grand entrance. And it was expensive, the pictures especially, considering my eyes were closed and puffy. But I had Danielle, my best friend, to keep me from breaking down and crying through the night. I came home before midnight—not how I imagined my prom would turn out.

Danielle called me the other week while I was at work.

She said, “Remember the prom we went to? Can you believe it? That was a pretty funny night. And we are probably the only couple from that night who still talk to each other now!”

“Yeah, I guess that’s true. I’m sure nobody is still as close to their prom date as we still are. Do you think it’s too late to get a refund on those prom pictures? My eyes are closed in them!” Danielle started laughing, then I started laughing, and before we knew it, we were laughing hysterically on both ends of the phone as we relayed details back and forth from that night.

When we hung up, I realized it’s the “little stuff” in life that’s important, like a phone call from a friend and a good laugh.

Kristina Wong

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