A thousand important things I can’t remember, but I remember the day in high school when my friend R— stopped me on the sidewalk between buildings to give me a cassette copy of Sting’s album Dream of the Blue Turtles, and I kept thinking the title was Flight of the Blue Turtles. I still think that’s the title.
I remember holding the cassette in my hand. Actually, I’m not sure if I was giving a copy to him or he was giving a copy to me, but I remember standing on the sidewalk and looking down at the photocopied cover of the album.
My high school has been so remodeled, I doubt that sidewalk exists anymore. And R— and I are no longer friends. Why do I remember that?
This is the time of year when people post prom pictures on Facebook. Well, when my cousins and friends post pictures of their own kids going to prom. I really wanted to go to prom. I wanted the dress. I loved beautiful dresses. I remember crying the first time my mom made me wear pants. I was eight, and I cried and cried. Now, of course, I love my jeans and wouldn’t trade them.
But back then, I so wanted to go to prom. Just for the dress! And people laugh at me and dismiss my wish to dance in a beautiful dress at prom. But for whatever reason, it meant a lot to me back then. I didn’t go. I wasn’t the sort of girl to be asked to dances.
So, today, a friend posted a picture of her son and his prom date. The girl wore a stunning dress. And I had a new thought regarding prom. You’d think I wouldn’t after all this time, but such is life. The truth of this seems so obvious that I can’t believe I never realized it before.
But if I had gone to prom, I would’ve gotten dressed on my own. I was living with my dad at the time. I wouldn’t have had any mom or older sister to help me get ready. And there would be no pictures taken in the front yard because my dad wouldn’t have even been home. I had my one and only high school date a few weeks before prom, and my dad wasn’t home when my date picked me up or when my date brought me home. My date dropped me off to a completely empty, dark house. I remember being embarrassed and angry and sad that no one was home to make sure my date brought me home safe and on time.
My date seemed rather unsettled by this too. He quickly left and didn’t call me back.
Why do I remember my 10th grade English teacher sitting on the corner of a desk and reading Julius Caesar to us? “And there were honorable men!” But I can’t remember the homework I gave my students yesterday?
And I still think Sting mistitled that album. Those blue turtles should be flying.