May 28 was my 25th birthday. It was also the day of Almaty International School’s prom. I spent my day with my good friend Pamela who made me make the best of it. We had a very adolescent day: we even watched New Moon – ignoring all of Edward’s scenes and cheering for Jacob.


When Pamela arrived at my flat yesterday afternoon, she was armed with Hardee’s and a plan.

“What are you wearing tonight?”

I had absolutely no idea. I hadn’t thought about going to the prom, but the day before one of my colleagues asked me to go with her and her husband, and it sounded like so much fun I had agreed without really thinking it through.

I disappeared into my closet and returned with two sun dresses. Pamela’s face was unreadable but she shouted, “Fashion show! Fashion show!” and ushered me to the bathroom.

The first dress was deemed “cute” but discarded.

The second dress apparently made me look like I was “going to church.” It too ended up cast aside on my bed.

“Well, there is this one,” I said and retrieved a fancy black, white, and silver dress that I had last worn to Vova and Polina’s wedding. It was very prom-ish.

“It’s perfect!” Pamela exclaimed.

“You don’t think it’s too much?”

“Emily. It’s PROM! You’ll look great.”

I grumbled but tried the dress on. Pamela could hardly contain her excitement.

“Sit down, sit down!” she shouted and placed me firmly in a chair in front of my mirror. Suddenly she was pulling out brushes, bobby pins, and curlers, attacking my hair with a vengeance.

She wanted me to wear my fascinator, but that was a bit too much.

“I feel like I should remind you,” I began to say in between held breaths as she blasted toxins in my face.

“Destroying the ozone,” she said, “One hairspray can at a time.”

“This is not my prom.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m just a chaperone slash guest -”

“A guesterone! A chaperest!”

“This is supposed to be the students’ night. I don’t want to draw attention to myself,” I said.

“Please,” Pamela rolled her eyes. “It’s prom. Puffy skirts and slinky dresses! Even the teachers take prom seriously. Make up!”

Soon my face and eyes were being prodded and dabbed and transformed.

Pamela did a good job, I have to say.

“I will have to dance, won’t I?”


Later that night:

28 May 20:09
So far, only 15 students.
To: Pamela

28 May 20:24
Omgoodness. TIK*. Are you overdressed?
To: Emily

28 May 2011 20:27
Yup. Not a puffy skirt to be seen.
To: Pamela

28 May 2011 20:30
To: Emily

28 May 2011 21:33
It’s quite fun, tho.
To: Pamela

And it was.

*TIK – This is Kazakhstan.


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