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Story Time with Jazz: Prom Edition

In honor of Prom Season for 2020 graduates, I'm sharing a special edition of Story Time With Jazz. Picture it: It's a perfect night in May, several years ago. I'd spent months saving my internship pay of $7.15 an hour at Guardian Life Insurance to make sure I could buy my dress, shoes and pay my portion of the limo for Prom Night. All of this had to be pulled together seamlessly, as I had thrown my hat in the ring for Prom Queen and so it was imperative I give all that my little working self could give. All of this was known to my notorious, older-than-me boyfriend. A "too cool for school" cat who drove a Lincoln and exaggerated even the smallest of stories. A pain point I would articulate much to my disgust. I believe he covered his ticket to my Prom, which was held at the then new Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC (18th st and 6th Avenue). So here I was, little Miss Independent, running for Prom Queen with a cat daddy on her arm, rollin' up to Prom, with clear heels before clear heels had any connotation. We all arrive at the Pavillion. The excitement is buzzing: who is wearing what, who came with whom and which teachers are chaperoning? My crew and I greet everyone in our standard way: double kisses and compliments. As a Prom Queen candidate, I quickly get whisked away by different squads for photos and small talk. I look up for my boyfriend, he's sitting down. Dinner service is about to start and I approach him to sit with him. He seems short in response. Before I could sit down, someone pulls me into a group photo. I didn't eat. I find my way back to the table and now boyfriend is visibly upset. Somehow we end up outside and all I can remember is him saying, "I'm leaving." What? He and his Newport Light turned around and walked up 18th st. I manage to make it back inside the venue, frantically searching for my best friend, Ki. Magically, her navy blue gown appeared flowing across the dance floor with an assertive quick step that no one dared get in the way of. Tears were beginning to blur my eyes as I managed to get out the words "He left me." WHAT? I recall my other BFF, Tracy intuitively looking up from clear across the room and quickly scurrying over. Ki said "oh no, not tonight he won't. I'mma find his ass and straighten his ass out." Poof. She was gone. Ki assigned Tracy to nurture me as Prom Queen would soon be announced and I needed to pull it together. My Aces, one of Spades and one Of Hearts were there to save me. Our English teacher had noticed I wasn't quite myself, even through the 3rd glass of wine she was enjoying. A bubbly brunette in her mid-20's and wine with a 5% alcohol volume had found her inner sista and proceeded to tell me how beautiful I was and how I didnt need him. While I knew that to be true, it was the principle of it all. How dare he leave me on MY Prom Night? He was a whole 103 years old. Couldn't he just be there, allow me to be in my glory and chill? By the time he returns, I'm over it. I'm rebuffed by my girlfriends and my English teacher and I did not win Prom Queen (hell, I don't remember who won.) However, I learned alot about myself. I learned that night what it would take to be with me (in relationship) and the friends I keep. What true autonomy is and being clear in your expectations. While it was an awkward ride home in the limo for all of us crossing the Brooklyn Bridge (that's a whole other story), I was proud of myself and proud of my friends. Cheers to my homies on that LONG ride home. Me, dancing alone, knowing I'd be okay. And if you're unsure about anything or anyone right now, please know you will be okay too.

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