JS Prom. These six letters could never justify the wonderful memories we had of that magical night. Writing this article months after the Prom, I could still make out vivid pictures of the elegant Grand Ballroom, amidst dim yellow lights, where all were in their most beautiful, dancing the night away.
Before the Prom
I didn’t expect the JS Prom to be much, really. Just another school event, I thought. But, as the weeks were drawing close to Prom Night, I was starting to feel a surge of tension and excitement.
Questions bugged my mind. Who is going to be my partner? What will I do? I can’t dance!, and more such questions.
So, expectedly, many hearts, including mine, were pounding real fast as the list of partners were distributed to classrooms. Dozens of people immediately jostled their way to the list. Seconds later, faces were instantly transfigured, clearly expressing exultation and contentment. Other faces looked disfigured, reflecting their disappointment.
With my mind silently screaming ‘
That day, fifth floor and sixth floor corridors were buzzing with not-so-hushed voices. Sino partner mo?, Ano OK ba yung akin?, Maganda ba?, Mabait ba? An atmosphere of excitement was starting to build up.
Days passed, until the arrow of time reached the night before the Prom. I was starting to get anxious. I didn’t know exactly what to wear yet. I have never even worn a coat and tie in my fifteen years of existence. Fortunately, my dad assisted me. At the last minute, I was able to find a decent set of clothes and with a sigh of relief, slept.
The Day has come...
At 7:30 AM, our classroom still had more than twenty empty chairs. Where have all the people gone? The day before, I heard that some girls were going to have a beauty rest, to diminish dark eyebags. Others simply had the whole day eaten up by various beauty rituals. Many boys, meanwhile, opted to play Counterstrike at
As the dismissal bell rang, excitement was crawling over my body. I thought about how my partner was going to turn out. Each of the people I asked said similar things about her. They said that she’s ok. Cheerful, friendly, kind, and a bit shy were the adjectives that were constantly mentioned. So far, so good. Only time can tell if these proved true.
Going home, I met some of my classmates who just had half a day of fun playing computer games at
I hurriedly took a bath, prepared my things for an overnight stay, dressed up, and put hair gel, too much hair gel I’m afraid, hehe!
Three and a half hours to go! I was in the car making phone calls to my friends. I was already feeling so anxious about looking lost and alone in the grand hotel that I had already formulated a plan. Simple yet effective. I would hide inside the cubicle holding my bulky coat and baggage while waiting for them to check in. That way, I wouldn’t have to look like a stupid walking closet at the lobby.
Fortunately, I had no need for the plan. My friends had already checked in, Room 1614, I was told. I quickly went up, now feeling a bit disoriented as I could hardly take in the sight of Judenites, familiar faces, in elegant attires crowding the lobby. I reached the door, 1614. I knocked about a hundred times before I received a text message. “Rum 1625 pla! Sori…”
Finally, with my hands sore from the heavy baggage, I got into the room. I was completely overwhelmed! I couldn’t even walk straight into the room. It was that crowded. People – batch mates, friends, even some seniors, probably thought our room was something of a waiting room. They were busy doing all sorts of stuff. Some were chatting, others were spraying perfume, still others were wearing socks, one had just emerged from the bathroom, or fixing their ties…etc. It was a somewhat pleasantly weird and weirdly pleasant experience for me.
I joined my friends Adriel and Winston to go down to
Winston bragged about going to Lacoste to buy his perfume. I and Adriel, as if daring him, just obliged. Realizing that I had no perfume yet, I innocently asked the lady in charge, “Pwede pasample?”. I sprayed the perfume on myself twice. As I put it down, I could hardly believe what I read – 1500 pesos for this small bottle of perfume! So, this explained why the sales lady was glaring at me. I just flashed my most naive smile, then tiptoed all the way to the exit. The three of us were all too afraid to talk.
We continued our window-shopping as if nothing had happened. We met our fellow batch mates Cyril, Paul, Warner, Deric, and Mcgregor. They were all holding bunches of beautiful flowers so we asked where they bought those.
At last, with vague directions from them, we managed to reach the flower shop. I bought a bouquet. We waited for an eternity until we received the flowers. I think this bouquet is beautiful enough, I thought.
We made a leisurely trip back to the hotel. By that time, Judenites could be seen in every corner of the hotel, all armed and ready for the Big Night.
I went back up to our room and took a rest. It was almost too late before I realized, the Big Night was just ten minutes away, and I was still dressed in T-shirt and jeans!
I nearly fell down the carpeted floor as I hurried to wear my formal attire. But then, I realized, it was hard to do anything at all if you are in the midst of chaos. Wild and frantic arguments and monologues could be heard in every corner of the room. The problems tackled in those arguments and monologues ranged from disheveled ties to low supply of hair gel to missing socks to stolen bouquets. Clearly, everyone was in a state of emergency and panic.
We rushed towards the elevator, and as it opened, saw the elevator packed with juniors and seniors as I have never seen before. They were all so well-dressed and dazzlingly beautiful.
We hurried down to the ballroom and it was there that I finally managed to catch my breath. Whew! Just in time. Looking around, my eyes were treated to a visual feast of magic and splendor. So, this was the fabled JS Prom. At last, I am here. I am certain that most of my batch mates’ minds were thinking the same.
I never imagined the prom to be what it was that night. Before it had even started, I knew that it was going to be the most magical night of my life. Again, I was sure that most felt as I did.
I chatted with my friends and acquaintances with much amusement about the unexpectedly mesmerizing outfits of the teachers as we waited for the minutes to tick away.
As I entered the ballroom, I didn’t know what to expect. It was as if everything and everyone in that room was coated with an aura of magnificence and grandeur. I sat down nervously, tapping the table, simply watching the passers-by with awe. Am I in a dream? I was certain I was.
After fifteen minutes, the night had officially begun. And, soon enough, my eyes landed on a girl dressed in an elegant black gown. I instantly recognized her as my partner, Hazeline. I could see that she was also nervous.
I forgot the etiquette of pulling the chair for the partner. I just smiled at my embarrassment. With shaky hands, I gave the bouquet to her. I’ve never even done anything like this before, I thought.
I was immediately comforted as she smiled, “Thank You.” Two words were enough for me to realize, she was kind and cheerful.
A few minutes passed by. I looked around. Most people were silently staring at the tablecloth of their tables. So, I wasn’t alone in my nervousness.
I finally broke the ice by saying to her, “Ba’t parang sobra kang kinakabahan?” She just smiled and I was certain that from that point, she felt a bit more comfortable. She asked, “What course do you like to take?”
The conversation then drifted from college life, to senior life, then to subjects at school, our interests, movies and books we liked, and many more. I learned that she was going to take up medicine and that she had a great interest for biology.
From what I heard from my “tablemate” Royce, my partner, Hazeline, was extremely intelligent and a consistent honor student. I wasn’t surprised. It was evident in the way she spoke and in the topics we talked about.
As I was busy eating dessert, a presentation was projected. Every eye gravitated towards it. It showed pictures of the seniors in their “good old days.” Those scenes were truly poignant. All the pictures showed how strongly they were bonded as a batch, in good times and in bad. A feeling of sadness engulfed me in the knowledge that they were going to go, and, fifty two weeks from that moment, we will, too.
Then came the presentation of the lists of talents each junior and senior had. I will never quite understand why my name was first on the list in the Calligraphy category. Just then, I recalled moonlighting a calligraphy “business”. OK, enough of that.
After that, was when the real fun began.
As music was being played, students slowly crowded the dance floor, until, the atmosphere was hot, elated, and wild. It was absolutely pure fun! The milieu was uncontrollable yet romantic, upbeat yet mellow. I think the dance floor would have broken if the people danced any longer. Dance, dance, dance! For me, that was the climax of the event. Everybody was high, letting go of shyness and forgetting all the troubles of school to enjoy those moments of heaven. I hesitated to join at the beginning but conceded for two reasons; one, a friend made me realize that that was the only time we ever get to experience that level of energy from everyone; and two, I was constantly being pulled by who-knows-who so I didn’t really have much of a choice. Finally, midnight came. Time really flies when you’re having a great time. It was unfortunate that Prom Night would have to end so soon. But then, for me and many others, the night had just begun.
After the prom…
We rushed back to our rooms after bidding goodbye to everyone. The night had gone, but it would always be in our hearts, so special, so memorable. We decided to go to Starbucks to chill out but were lured into going to Timezone. We couldn't resist the temptation. We played, played, and basically burnt our money, but it was well worth it. It was truly once in a lifetime, to be in the arcade, with your friends, doing anything and everything. It may seem nothing much, but I’ve never felt freer! Aaron and I finished Time Crisis 3 after throwing away three hundred pesos, all at his expense. We then played some kiddie games like mini basketball, bowling, and hit-the-monkey. Then, we decided to play Dance Revo. It lasted a total of five seconds before the screen went blank with one word written, “failed.” That was a solid proof as to how bad a dancer I am. After that, we exchanged all our tickets for…five colored balls; a proof that we’re little children trapped in teens’ body. At about 2:00 am, Timezone closed. But it wasn’t the end of the fun, we were just warming up. We proceeded to our original destination, Starbucks. We found it packed to the brim with Judenites, drinking and chatting. I met and chatted with a lot of friends who were hanging out there. It was the most memorable visit to Starbucks I ever had. We walked leisurely back to the hotel, amidst the velvet sky and cool midnight breeze.
The next thing we did was room-hopping. We spent an hour chatting and playing slap-jack; with a twist, the loser will strip. Of course, it wasn’t for real, hehe.
We went back to our room at about 4:00 am. As we were eleven in the room, and the bed only fits two or three at a time, we took turns sleeping, one hour for every person.
When it was my turn, the noise of the PS2 kept me awake so I just enjoyed the bed with friends until I got up and slept no more. We played pusoy dos; of course with a wager, whoever loses must drink a shot of wine. After Joshua nearly finished the bottle, we already saw people swimming. Our curiosity got the better of us so we used a videocam to zoom in and see who’s swimming - all Juniors. We planned to swim but I felt tired. As the PS2 was, at last, free from itchy hands, I played NBA Ballers. I was so much engrossed into the game that I failed to notice that it was already 8:00 am. We debated on who will eat the breakfast. I won! I went down with Joshua and though there wasn’t really anything special, ate four full plates, just to make good on my opportunity.
After eating, I could barely move so I went back to my room to sleep. Finally, free of noise. I dozed off. After two hours, as my eyes opened, I saw startled to see a dozen people surrounding me. That was really crazy, and it was somewhat embarrassing with so many people watching you sleep.
Not long after, it was already check-out time. I rushed to pack my things and went down with haste. As I walked on the carpeted floor towards the exit, I knew that the best night of my life had ended. Every experience always has to come to an end, but the memories born from it are forever cherished in the heart and the mind. JS Prom 2005 may be long gone, but it will continue to live on in my heart, always to be cherished, to be treasured, for it is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to my life.