Lilac Tulle

“So the object of our first prom committee meeting is to decide on colors and possible themes for the big event.   Ms. Jenkins—“  He clears his throat, “could not be bothered to attend this meeting, so you’ll need to have your decisions approved by me.  I told you all to come with ideas in mind, so have at it.”   Mr. Frost sits down at his computer to record grades in time for midterms, leaving the three of us—the so-called prom committee—to make the decisions.  I can hear the parakeets chirping manically in their cage on the book shelf.   They know this will be a disaster.  

I turn to my best friend, Jenny, who is intently studying the grain in the wood on the table.  Awkward turtle.  I’d almost forgotten that Kevin—prom committee member number three—was her latest romantic interest, if that’s what you’d like to call it.  It didn’t end particularly well.  Definite awkward turtle. 

“So I’m thinking dark purple and silver,” I throw out there. 

“Purple?” Kevin wrinkles his nose.  “Like lilacs or something?” 

 “No.”  Why does he have to be so dense? “Lilac isn’t a dark purple.  I’m talking like a purple that’s so dark it’s almost blue, with a silvery accent.  It would be pretty.  And sophisticated.”  That’s what prom is supposed to be, right?  Or am I mistaken?  Because obviously those people who thought “Crave the Rave” would be a good prom theme weren’t going for sophistication.  Idiots. 

Kevin grunts.  “I guess that could be cool.  What are we thinking for decorations?”  He looks pointedly at Jenny.  She doesn’t say anything. 

“Since we have absolutely no money, I think the best we’ll be able to do is twinkly lights and purple tulle wrapped around the pillars and the staircase railings.  We could do floating candles for the table centerpieces.  We could use those glass bowls from homecoming and put those marble things in the bottom and fill it with water and stick the candle in there.” 

Kevin looks puzzled.  “What’s tulle?”  I sigh.

“It’s fabric.  It’s kind of sheer and fluffy I guess.  We could string twinkly lights around the pillars, then the tulle over the lights.” 

“That’s fine with me, I guess.”  He writes down our (my) ideas and gives the paper to Mr. Frost and we all leave. 

Two weeks later

I’m driving out to the craft store to meet the “prom committee” to buy tulle and floating candles.  It’s the day before prom.  Nobody wanted to get together to take the shopping trip.  Now we’re doing this at the very last minute, and we’re decorating in the morning.  And I still have to pick up the boutonniere from the florist.  And get some sleep before waking up tomorrow morning to go decorate the friggin’ country club for the “big event.” There’s also a five page American History paper due on Monday.  Can you say stress? 

I pull into a parking spot, and I see Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Frost waiting by the door.  Frost is shaking his head, and Jenkins is pouting with her arms crossed over her chest.  Probably because she wasn’t included in any of the decision-making.  Because she chose not to come to the meetings. 

Jenny gets out of her car and walks with me towards the door.  We go inside to look for dark purple tulle.  “I told the lady at the country club that we would need the lilac and silver napkins, just like you decided.  Tulle shouldn’t be too hard to find,” Frost told us as we make our way through the aisles of floating candles. 


He sighs, and begins again.  “I told the lady at—“

“You told her lilac?  After all the times we said we wanted dark purple?”  Jenny is perturbed but not nearly as much as when she found out who the prom committee would consist of. 

Jenkins has stopped pouting. “The only dark purple they had was an awful aubergine color.”  I’m not listening to her.  I’m thinking of how lilac reminds me of fairies and princesses and cotton candy.  Not “A Black Tie Affair”—our final prom theme.  And now we will have to buy thirty yards of lilac tulle.  Thirty yards of princess fluff.    I don’t remember much else of the shopping trip.  I was too busy stewing in my deep-seated hatred for tulle and candles and twinkly lights and dresses and glitter and anything else prom-related.   

Twelve hours later, as my date and I get out of his awesome (and amazingly clean) truck, I smile to myself, happy that I can just enjoy myself for the evening.  And look pretty gorgeous doing just that.  We walk into the main entrance of the country club.  “You see that staircase?” I gesture towards it to make my point. “Jenny and I decorated that staircase.”  He laughs at me.  “I don’t see any staircase.”  I punch him playfully in the shoulder.    “The lilac tulle didn’t turn out so bad, now did it?”

Later I have my arms around his neck (which is slightly difficult since he’s almost a foot taller than I am) as we sway to the music.  I can see the twinkly lights sparkling on one of our pillars through the lilac tulle.  Maybe it wasn’t like the movies.  This guy I’m dancing with—he’s just a friend, but a really good one—just stepped on my foot.  I wasn’t crowned prom queen.  Jenny and Kevin still hate each other.   Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Frost are glaring at each other from their designated chaperone spots.  It’s not perfect.  But it’s pretty darn close. 


I think the next color should be…iris.

The End

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