It's finally here, Junior-Senior Prom. After 5 and a half years of meetings and dating, you would think the butterflies would be gone. Tonight they are back in full force. Luckily some of us have the day off from school, so I can lay in bed most of the day. One more year left and we will be off to college, where it doesn't matter what people think. “Relax dude” , I tell myself, “upcoming football captain, star quarterback for the last 2 years, and home coming King this year. Wow that was a big shock”. People will never know how close I came to being another Dumb Jock at a Lonely little High School. I can still remember how all this happened, like it was yesterday.
“Okay class, I will be returning your pretest to you for you to review. Remember you actual test is 100 questions and not 25. You have a 3 day weekend to study up on the material you got wrong before your actual test on Tuesday.” Ms. Jackson starts handing out papers to the students, always offering words of praise or encouragement as she goes along. I notice that as she passes a student their paper seems to always be on top, she never has to go looking for it. I will be one of the last ones handed out, always am, sitting in the back corner of the classroom. As usual I am the last to receive my paper, but she only lays it upside down on my desk with her hand over it. Ms Jackson whispers quietly, “See me after class Mr Murphy”. While she makes her way back to her desk I look at the test and see the ZERO I have received as a grade. I slump back in my chair knowing this will not be good.
The bell sounds to end the class, and I know everyone will rush out to get outside as soon as possible. Everyone but one that is, Ruben. Always has to suck up to the teachers. 'sighs' “Thank you for a wonderful educational experience, Ms Jackson.” “You are quite welcome Mr Yazzie, uhm Ruben, could you please wait just outside the door for a couple of minutes?” “Why I would be happy too” and off he skips. As I approach Ms Jackson's desk, her eyes turn toward me, with a look of steel and sorrow. “Donnie, you are on the verge of failing this class. After speaking with some of your other teachers, you are not doing much better in those classes either. If you can not bring your grades up soon, you will not pass the 7th grade.” I look down at the floor crestfallen, knowing that if I fail I will not be able to play any sports in the coming years. “Your pretest was a disaster, and all of your teachers know you can do the work. Would you be willing to have one of your peers tutor you, to bring your grades up?” I look up in shock knowing where this is going. The smartest kid in school just happens to live across the street from me, and is a real DUFAS.
“But...But...I..I, But I...” “It is either that or repeat the Seventh Grade and not play sports next year.” My shoulders slump in acceptance, knowing I was not going to win this one. Reaching up to scratch the back of my head, like I do whenever I'm nervous, “I guess so.” “I am sure you made the right choice Donnie, you are smart enough to know this, you just need a few pointers.” Ms Jackson gets up and heads to the door and opening it sticks her head out and says “You may come in now Ruben.” She turns and walks back to her desk, as I look towards the door to see the Dork freeze in the doorway, upon seeing me. Eyes like saucers, and knees starting to shake, I can tell he no more enjoys the close proximity to each other than I do.
Approaching her desk, clutching that bag of his like someone is going to snatch it and set fire to it. Hmmm, note for a prank later. Ruben finds his voice while avoiding having to look in my direction. “Y-Y-Yes Ms Jackson, What can do for you?” AARRGGG! What a dweeb.
“Donnie needs help to bring his grades up so he can pass this year. Being as how the two of you live in the same neighborhood, and grew up together, you might be able to help him out some.” “O-O-Of course Ms Jackson.” “Good, now the two of you go enjoy your weekend, and Donnie, I expect you to at least pass your History on Tuesday.” “Yes Ms Jackson” we say in unison. As we turn to leave I thinks the Dork broke some speed records getting out of school that day. I wasn't going to pound him today, I needed him to help me pass. Maybe in that smart brain of his that information will click, and he will calm down.
Thinking back on all this, I should see if Ms Jackson is still teaching, and thank her for doing what she did. If it wasn't for that little push, I wouldn't be here now, with butterflies in my stomach, and drenched in a cold sweat. Yep, really need to thank Ms Jackson.
“No Andrew, I will not help you with one of you crazy ideas today. No, I am getting ready for the prom. Yes I actually have a date tonight. NO! I am not going to tell you. If you want to meet my date get your suit ready and be at the prom. Go Stag, or with Chase I don't care, I have enough to worry about today. Goodbye Andrew.” Cell Phones, the bane of existence to man kind. Whoever came up with this idea should be strangled. I just wish I could turn it off and not hear from Andrew, but then my date would call or something, and and, OH MY OH MY OH MY here I go again worry, worry, worry. OK lets go over the list again. Tux, Powered Blue with a Dark Blue shirt and White Bow Tie, complete opposite color scheme of my date's outfit. Dress Shoes shined to a mirrored finished. Limo waiting a secret location to fool Andrew and Chase, I hope. Reservations made for a late dinner. Flowers? Yes, No? AAARRGGG No Flowers, too cheesy. If I keep pacing my room I will be too tired to dance. Me dance, another blow to the students at Peachland High tonight. It will be a night full of surprises for sure. We have been dating so long now, we have become pros at not getting caught. But tonight we agreed to make the debut as a couple, rather we stir things up or not. We both are tired of hiding.
Our first date so many years ago, over a Holiday weekend. It wasn't planned, rather planned for us. “This was just a pretest to let you know what you need to study up on for Tuesday's Test. That one will be a 100 question. Remember that your test and classroom involvement will count as 75% of your final grade. I will be returning your pretest to you for you to review, you have a 3 day weekend to study up on the material you got wrong.” As she is handing each test out she points out what each student did wrong. Reaching my desk she hands me my paper and says “Excellent job as always Ruben.” I know other students are staring, but I really like learning and it comes natural to me. I can't help that I am so smart. Looking at the clock I notice that we have less than a minute remaining of class so I go ahead and pack my supplies knowing that Ms Jackson will not be able to instruct us any more today.
The bell rings and the entire class heads out the door like a pack of stampeding wild animals. It is a wonder to me that no ever gets hurt in this stampede. As the classroom thins out I stand and walk up to Ms Jackson's desk to thank here for today. “On behalf of the students, Thank you for the wonderful educational experience, Ms Jackson.” “You are quite welcome Mr Yazzie, uhm Ruben, could you please wait just outside the door for a couple of minutes?” “Why I would be happy too, Ms Jackson”. As I head toward the door I wonder why she needed me to wait outside, at the same time I noticed that Donnie has not left the classroom either. This was highly unlike him. I close the door like Ms Jackson likes and walk over to my locker and shuffle what books and notes I will need for studying this weekend.
After a few minutes Ms Jackson opens her door and looks at me and says, “You may come in now Ruben.” She just turns and walks back to her desk. When I reached the threshold I noticed that Donnie is still standing in front of her desk, like a statue except that he is able to move his head. He turns and looks my way and my knees start to shake involuntarily. For a brief second his expression showed of a chuckled grin, that most people would have over looked. Why did I catch it though?
I walked up to Ms Jackson's desk and try to speak, “Y-Y-Yes Ms Jackson, W-W-What can I do for you?” Out of the corner of my eyes I see Donnie roll his eyes quickly. Again why did I catch the change in his expression? “Mr Yazzie, I was wondering if you would agree to tutor Mr Murphy over the weekend, and through the remainder of the school year. Donnie needs help bringing his grades up so he can pass this year.” “Being as how the two of you live in the same neighborhood, and grew up together, you might be able to help him out some.” ”B-B-But...”, I can find no good reason not to help him, that Ms Jackson would agree upon. I slowly nod my head. “Good, now the two of you go enjoy your weekend, and Donnie, I expect you to at least pass your History Test on Tuesday.” “Yes Ms Jackson” we say in unison. I turn and high tail it out of the class room without running, of course it is forbidden in school, I didn't want to give Donnie a chance to pound me without a good reason.
Walking out the main door of the School I see Nazz waiting on a bench looking as pretty as she always does. “Hi Ruben”! I cringe at that sound, Harrison triplets. I barely get turned around before Tammy has me in her grasp, trying to get a kiss from anywhere her lips could touch. How Revolting. I work to pry myself away from her evil clutches, when Donnie walks out with his swaggered step and a short laugh in my direction. “Later Dufas, Don't get too busy with Tammy this weekend.” As Donnie and Nazz walk off together, with their arms around each other, Tammy is talking about marriage again. Next instant I am free, and I look to see Chase holding Tammy up by her shirt collar and not letting her feet touch the ground. Sometimes having a big goof as a friend comes in handy. “Tammy, leave Ruben alone. We have things to work on, and don't need you.” Shouts Andrew. Chase sits her in a trash can so she has trouble getting out and we three taking off running. Can't run in school, but outside there is no rule, and by the time we were 12 we had gotten pretty fast to out run the Harrisons. And so starts the Holiday Weekend that will go down in history.