When the principal of my secondary school decided to cancel our prom for fear of having pregnant teenage girls on her hands, I should have taken it as a sign from the gods that for me, prom was not meant to be. I wasn’t having it though, I’d had my Prom dress sitting in my wardrobe for almost a year and I was determined to wear it, come hell or high water. Some equally determined comrades decided that if our school wouldn’t let us have a prom, we would have the prom outside of school. And so it happened that they joined forces with a couple of other schools and a joint prom was planned.
Now I had a dress and a prom to go to but I had no date. I didn’t want to ask any of my male friends as I wanted it to be a romantic experience. My friend Tikka Masala and I began to strategise. We decided she would hook me up with a guy who was a friend of a friend and I could get the romance going before prom. And so it happened that I was introduced to the guy, Alakoba, three weeks before prom. We got talking and got on quite well. I’d never met him but I really liked the sound of him and rather speedily, fancied myself in like with him. He knew from the onset that he was taking me to the prom so we talked about it; what I was wearing, what he was wearing, how we would get there, curfews. I really started to like this guy who I’d never met and the mystery made the thought of prom night ten times more exciting.
Prom day came and my friend Agiliga was having a party in Alakoba’s neighbourhood. It was a daytime thing so Tikka Masala and I went to the party and on our way home decided to pay Alakoba a surprise visit… I couldn’t wait any longer. I’d spoken to him that morning and the plans were looking good. When we got to his house, we were told he had gone out. He was supposed to pick me up at 7pm and it was 5pm. We raced home hoping that by the time we got home, he would be home and getting ready. As soon as we got to Tikka Masala’s, I called him and was told he still wasn’t home. I started to panic but Tikka Masala calmed me down. She reckoned by the time we showered and got dressed, he would be back. I headed for the shower and as soon as I got out, called him again. He still wasn’t home. I wore my dress and then I called again. He still wasn’t home. I did my makeup and then called him. He still wasn’t home. At this point, the panic had settled in the pit of my stomach. I was a nervous wreck. Where was he? Had he forgotten about prom? Was I going to turn up at prom dateless? God forbid! I styled my hair and then called his house again. The person who’d been answering my calls had had enough.
“Alakoba has taken his mother to Ibadan and won’t be back till tomorrow. Don’t call again this night!”
Tikka Masala and I were in shock. What in blazes was my prom date doing in Ibadan?! Tikka Masala suggested I go alone but I refused…over my dead body! What kind of loser goes to prom alone?! Did the foolish boy not know he had to go to Ibadan when I spoke to him this morning?!
I had to think fast. One of those friends I had shunned in favour of that Alakoba would have to help me out. After all, what are friends for?! Aha! I knew who I could ask. He wasn’t going to the prom and I knew he had a suit because he’d been to his own prom a few weeks before. I rang my dear friend Tajie, and gentleman that he is, he agreed to rescue a damsel in distress. Tajie, walahi, your head is correct!
After prom night, I erased Alakoba’s phone number from my memory. I didn’t want to know what his story was and it was just as well because he never called to explain himself. Just as quickly as he’d appeared, he vanished off my radar. Till this day I have not spoken to him and I still have no idea what he looks like.