Earlier this Week:
“Go to prom with me.”
I laughed. Tucker stared at me. “Tucker, you’re going with Luna. Luna, your best friend? You asked her in March, for crissakes.”
“Luna and I aren’t going together. So much the better.” He waited. I began to get annoyed.
“That’s it? You simply aren’t going? Does she know this? Is she gonna come claw my eyes out or what?”
“Look, it’s not that big a deal. We had a tiff.”
“A tiff?” I screeched. “So you’re giving me two weeks to find a dress, shoes, hair, makeup?!”
“It’s a little more than two weeks. And, well, you are an underclassman.”
I smiled in that snarky way I learned from my mother. “So I should be grateful.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. It’s just…” He growled and ran his hands through his hair, muttering apologies and curses.
I grabbed his hand. “Tucker, talk to me. What is going on?”
He sighed, angrily. “Luna and I had a fight.”
“She got asked to prom by one of her puppy dogs. And she tried to use it to make me jealous. And I got mad at her, since we’re only going as friends. And she said that since I like you so much better, I should take you. And I screamed fine!, and that I spend so much more time with you because she’s too busy playing at ringleader and playacting for her adoring fans.”
“…Tucker…What. Are. You. Talking. About. Adoring fans?”
“Look, you…Ugh. You don’t know her like I do. She puts on these airs. She constantly has to be witty and mysterious and she puts so much effort in to seeming spontaneous that she wears herself thin. A personality can’t be stretched out like that.”
“Tucker, that’s ridiculous. Luna doesn’t put anything on; she just is.”
He shook his head. “No, you don’t see her like I do. There’s something wrong with her. Everything she does is adopted and calculated for effect.”
“I think maybe you’re just disenchanted. I think she just is that way and you’re trying to impose order on chaos, trying to find some reason for her method or madness. But you’re wrong. Luna, like the universe, tends toward entropy.”
“We’ll have to agree to disagree. Come to prom with me, and we’ll debate it further.”
“So you’ll stick it to Luna by proving her right?”
“No. I’m sick of doing things because of how they look to other people. Come with me because I want you to. It’s only junior prom, but at least this way I’ll remember it fondly.”
I know we all say that we don’t care about appearances, that we shouldn’t. But appearances are social glue. Your standing, your job, your college acceptances; it’s all about how people perceive you. And when you can’t hold that together, when you can’t project the illusion of some conformity, you lose ground. People want to know where you stand.
So Jenny, the lowly sophomore, the girl who can’t seem to color in the lines no matter how she tries, will trot through the prom dog-and-pony show. She’ll carefully slip on an over-sized corsage and stilt-wobble out in a new pair of heels and endure the faux-romance of the “just friends” couple at prom. All because Tucker has unraveled so much that he can’t be worried about appearances.
So my weekend was spent with all three of us ignoring the obvious issues. Keeping up appearances, if you will. Luna offered to go dress shopping with me tomorrow. Peace offering or obvious condescension? Or a pointed "I don't care" statement?