Corsage 

 black and white tiny flowers 

The cluster of tiny white flowers were now brittle and desiccated. The clear plastic box it originally came in served as a protective shrine of sorts. Picking it up out of my cedar chest I could see the cream colored ribbon, two faux pearl tipped straight pins, and the tiny rhinestone heart were still intact.

I had no date.

Each day that crept by I had waited and waited, ticking off each eligible male until it was clear no one would ask me.

Finally I had resigned and purchased the ticket to my senior prom with babysitting money. The dress I picked up for $35 at the Dilliard’s clearance store downtown while my shoes were $25 satin pumps from PayLess. I could not afford to get my hair or make-up or nails done or the shoes dyed to match my dress. In fact, I was not allowed to wear make-up or nail polish, anyway.

Nor was I allowed to drive, for that matter. I was eighteen and still did not even have a learner’s permit. So my parents dropped me off at the venue, a worn out old country club, and picked me up again promptly at 8:30PM because all of my friends had dates and limo rides and there was no way I was going to ask if I could tag along. 

I thought prom was an important rite of passage, that I would regret missing it if I did not attend. In truth, it was a miserable experience.

The corsage was a surprise. 

My brothers pooled their meager resources and purchased it. Remarkably, it matched my dress. Granted, it had been intended for someone else, an unknown relationship that had crumbled right before prom, so the florist sold it for cheap, but still they thought of me and that by itself was remarkable. It helped keep my head held high as I circled the room, looking for someone, anyone to talk to. 

I still rate a corsage, you bastards.

Unexpected kindness is often the best sort. That is why I still keep the reminder of that awful night hidden away deep in my cedar chest. My brothers and I really don’t talk to each other. We keep our distance now as adults, it is more peaceful that way. We are different people with different lives and vastly different values. But once…. once we cared, once we loved each other.

The kindness you show now will be kindness remembered later and may someday form the foundation for a bridge back to each other.

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113 thoughts on “Corsage 

  1. Bless! What a sad – happy – sad story, doc… some of us just bloomed late, I think. 🙂 As for your family, I do hope things get patched up in the end. Family dynamics are perversely complicated, though. It should be so easy to see eye to eye with the same blood, but such is not always the case. In fact. it seldom is. xx MH

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fascinating, Doc, especially when contrasted with a previous post about wanting to get rid of all the stuff from your childhood. Concerning this post, you wrote, “Different people, with different lives and vastly different values.” That’s a statement I can certainly understand, but I made note of one other thing that’s different: You kept the corsage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t that I want to get rid of everything. I don’t like certain places preserved as a time capsule. In bits and pieces you can choose to remember how you wish. All together, it is more difficult to rewrite your reality.

      Like

  3. A bittersweet story, I can sort of relate to. I had no date for Junior Prom, and my Dad was so upset that he “imported” the son of a close friend (a guy I liked) to take me, We had a good time, but I didn’t see him again. At least I got to go. My brother was a bother…six years younger than me and El Destructo as we used to call him. I ended up having to have a lock on my bedroom door because he destroyed my homework and pulled all my clothes off their hangers. When he became a teenager, we got to be friends (he came to me for advice and rides). We still are friends, even though polar opposites on politics (we avoid THAT discussion).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Lord, that was a hard read Victo. My heart goes out to your younger self. Your brothers have made their own decisions – many will say that rebuilding that relationship is important ; I say PFFFT! You have grown to be a kind, caring, extremely well educated person who devotes her time and learning to helping others. (and writing a boffo blog that in turn helps others). You’re the best Victo, carry on!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’m guessing that reunions are far more fun than that prom (and what do you do? “I’m a doctor…”)

    My eldest brother and I are not close and never have been. But there are things that he did for me that make me realize that yeah, he’s my brother. He is now in difficult straits and I help him as much as I can. Because yeah, he’s my brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I expect that was the case for a lot of guys, being afraid. My parents had a far reaching reputation that certainly stunted my social life as far as the opposite sex was concerned. Maybe that was a good thing… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Families…so very complicated, yet when there is even one of those sweet memories to hold onto it can lessen the diversity and burden, and even pain, for a moment or two. Very nicely written Victo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Growing and changing is the hardest part of life. Me, I never had a date for Homecoming during my four years of high school. People liked me; I was President of the Pep Club my Senior year, ironically in charge of our fund-raising by washing cars, and selling giant football Mum corsages. I bought my own because I just really wanted one. Ironically one boy didn’t order one in time and there were none left. He begged me to sell him mine. I did, but I wondered what was wrong with me. Why not ask out me, why her? Funny how life works out.
    Our Pep Club and the Athletes club put on a Sweetheart Ball on Valentine’s Day that year, 1970. I was nominated for Sweetheart Queen and of course had no date. So embarrassing, again. A few days before the event a boy asked me to go with him. I was elated. Finally, I got a corsage. This time, he purchased it, or his Mother. (He was the same boy I sold my football-mum to. 😉 Lifes funny right? And I was the Sweetheart Queen. We also went to Prom together.
    Another Fun Fact, October 2 of this year will be our 45th Wedding Anniversary.
    Don’t think I’ll get a corsage. 😉 ♥️

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh, my. I had a date for prom and was just as miserable as you, without one. How I hated the primping and the waiting for the ‘ask’ and the dreading, knowing how I didn’t like the kid, but had to say yes. Could not wait to get home. I did not have a reason to save my corsage. You certainly did. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My matric dance (South African equivalent to prom) I went with a blind date – the friend of a brother of a friend. We met for the first time when he picked me up. I was fat, he was puny – we were equally dismayed. I wore a long nylon princess-line (supposed to be slimming) dress with a pattern in green flowers, or maybe leaves, like old-fashioned wallpaper. I have no idea why I insisted on a photograph – he sure didn’t want a copy – maybe I was still trying for “normal”. Anyway, I still have it – a reminder of a rite of passage leading from nowhere to nowhere. Awful!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wow, that put tears in my eyes. I never went to prom, never missed it. my oldest hated it both times. too much pressure these days. the corsage struck me, I would have saved it too, as a reminder of that childhood love between siblings. reminds me of my brothers, I really don’t talk to any of them either. My oldest and I were so close as kids, used to ride bikes together all summer, spitting ju-ju-bees at eachother going down long empty roads. he was my hero…. I cherish those memories even though he is now a stranger to me. Sad. thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The closing sentence is so powerful – “the kindness you show now will be kindness remembered later and may someday form the foundation for a bridge back to each other in the future”.

    I wasn’t particularly close to my brothers. There wasn’t any particular incident that occurred from our past – we were just very different, living very different lives.

    The turning point for us was when my mother passed away. She had terminal cancer and lingered for 5 days and we sat vigil 24 hours a day during this time. I remember it as the last gift she ever gave us because during those 5 days together at her bedside, we rediscovered each other. We told stories, we reminisced, we laughed. So. much. laughter. That is how my mother died – to the sound of our laughter.

    Now, five years later, we are closer than we ever were. Yes, it was a fine gift indeed.

    My point is the foundation is there. Someday I hope there will be an event that creates the bridge for you and your brothers too ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a expressive story. I was right there with you, picturing the cedar “hope” chest…. I went to the Prom and the Ball with a date but I asked him out. I was not going to sanction all the tales told to me growing up that I would never go to those dances because I was too fat. What a horrible thing we do to our daughters (and sons) about something so trivial and insignificant.Funny, I do not remember much of either night now, except being blasted! As far as siblings, yeah sometimes space is the best thing and that’s ok too,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I didn’t drive either till I was married and expecting my second child. I chose not to go to prom and don’t regret it one bit, more so after hearing your description. So sad but you were braver than I.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I didn’t go to my prom. I kind of regret, so I think it’s good you went! I think it’s something to say it was miserable, right? You had the experience and you had that corsage! But more importantly, the memory that it brings you of your brothers. That is priceless.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Coming of age stories like yours, Victo, are generally poignant. Myself, I was an unusually serious kid from the blue-collar side of the tracks, so I can identify with your feelings. The transition from child to adult changes the perspective but does not erase the scars. The world looks different, but those early formative years remain a part of us for a lifetime.

    Living well is the best revenge.
    —George Herbert

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is the kind of relationship I have with my brother.” The kindness you show now will be kindness remembered later”, my britger did more than a few times. Beautifully written, Victo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That brought tears to my eyes for you both both happy and sad. The memories of my own 2 nightmarish proms one of which my father ruined and the other a cheating drunk date that threw up all over me and left me to walk home alone a 2 am in the morning. He was passed out.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love the black and white photo – well done! So sweet of your brothers to buy that for you – brothers can be surprising, can’t they?

    I almost went to my senior prom. I didn’t have a boyfriend and wasn’t the type of girl guys that age generally asked out. I was so happy when a shy, nerdy, and very nice young classmate came up to me and asked if I had a date for the prom. I told him no, I didn’t – obviously hoping he was going to ask me. But I guess at that exact moment, he lost his nerve because he just said “oh, ok” and walked away. Ah well, I couldn’t dance anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Links To Some Uplifting Posts (4-20-2016) – My Daily Musing

  20. Prom is a very important rite in America, right?
    Now about your brothers… I didn’t see my eldest brother for 30 years.
    Until he made contact. He tires me after a few days or a few hours, but, every year I go back to France we see each other. And he flies over here once every few years.
    If your story is not fiction, don’t waste 30 years my friend. See each other.
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

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