By Anna Kate Moorer
According to every coming-of-age movie, there are two events that define a high school senior’s life: graduation and prom. Seniors spend their final semesters counting down the days until these momentous events, unless that senior went to high school during the spring of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic ransacked a majority of proms and graduations, my own included; however, I was still given the chance to go to a prom before lockdown ensued.
One of my closest friends had a cousin at a neighboring school, and he was in need of a prom date. I decided to go, and by the end of the night, I regretted saying yes. The prom was to happen on March 13, which was also everyone’s last day of school, we just didn’t know it yet. My high school had a half-day due to baseball and softball tournaments, so I left at noon to get my hair done, before jumping into my car and driving an hour to this guy’s house. It is important to mention that I had never met this guy before, and I certainly had no idea what his house would look like. I plugged in the address he sent me and let GPS do the work. When I arrived at the house, I knocked on the front door, and while I waited for an answer, I played with the friendly dog in the yard. After a few minutes went by, I texted my date to let him know that I had arrived, to which he responded, “No you haven’t.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’m playing with your dog right now.”
“I don’t have a dog,” he replied.
Come to find out, my date lived across town, and using GPS while in small towns in Alabama is the most unreliable source of directions. I ended up having to meet my date at the local Hardee’s and follow him back to his house. I met his mom, who showed me the room that I would be staying in, and got dressed for the prom. We took pictures with his senior class, ate a nice dinner, got an email that all schools in our district would be suspending operations for two weeks while we waited for the Coronavirus to run its course, and danced all night.
Well, I danced all night. My date had no sense of rhythm and every sense of awkwardness; thankfully, divine intervention cut the prom short. One of the girls there had a heart condition called tricuspid atresia, which means if she overexerted herself, such as by dancing, she would collapse, and collapse she did, right off the stage. The prom died down very quickly after the ambulance was called, so everyone decided to go to the afterparty. I was super excited to go to this party and have a good time, until I realized that my date was taking me to the smaller, non-alcoholic party.
The cherry on top of this afterparty was that it was hosted by a girl who hated my guts. She and I were both academically inclined in high school, and since our schools were in the same district, we often competed at the same events, and I often won. An already awkward night turned even more awkward, so I was thankful my date had a curfew and we were forced to leave. All I could think about was the fact that the sooner I went to sleep, the sooner I could leave the next morning. As my date and I are walking to the side door, I hear a whispering “Can you help me? Can you help me?”
I see eyes peering out of the bushes, and the dark details begin to take shape. There was a man squatting in the bushes, and he started mumbling something about a gun, about how “they” took the gun from him. I saw a figure move in the window of the side door and realized that it was my date’s mom. She opened the door and I darted past the squatting man into the house, but my date did not follow me. He decided to talk to the crazy man in the bushes. My date was asking the man if he was okay and if there was anything he could do for the man. The man was becoming hostile, and he asked my date for a ride. My date refused, saying, “I’m not going to give you a ride, sir. I don’t know you.” Well, then why, oh wise prom date of mine, did you decide to sit there talking to the man who you so ingeniously pointed out is a stranger? A smart person would have gone into the house, locked the door, and called the police.
So that’s exactly what I did. The cops told me that it would take them twenty minutes to get to the house. During the amount of time it took the police to arrive, my date had found his shotgun, and he was prepared to use it to protect “the womenfolk”. The reality of the situation is that my date was probably the last person in that house who should have been trusted to use that gun. When the police arrived, we explained what had happened, but the man was no longer in the bushes. The police were checking the perimeter of the house, when they discovered the man running around in circles in a field behind the property. As they loaded him into a cop car, the police informed us that they picked him up regularly as he was a well-known crackhead down at the station. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night, and at seven in the morning, only five hours after the arrest of the crazy man, I went home, and I never talked to that prom date again. The only official prom I went to during my senior year of high school ended with my meeting the famous crackhead of Wilcox county.