seventeen

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S E V E N T E E N

I could still remember it, no matter how much time passed by or how much happened between now and then. It was the night of the junior prom and we were standing outside of Issa's house with our umbrellas out because the rain was too heavy and we didn't want Issa or her date to get wet because she was the only one out of the four of us who actually had one. Becca, Veronica, and I. We were all alone but it was okay because we were young and we had each other - especially when we thought we had Issa still.

I lifted my umbrella a bit higher, turning to look at my friends with a grin on my face. "Aren't you guys so excited? I can't believe we're taking Issa to prom. This is so exciting!"

"Alright," Becca said, holding up a hand. "How about you calm down a bit. What's even more exciting is that we look so good in these dresses. I heard that the single guys are always a bit drunk and a bit down to dance with any single girl they can find. It's not Issa and David, but that's unlikely for us anyway. Not everything can happen at once."

There was a part of me deep down that wished that it could. That we could be here in the rain with our umbrellas up as well as dancing under the lights with the music in the background, all of it at once because even though this was only the junior prom, everything from the wait to the moment was magical and special. I could almost taste it, me with all of my friends having the time of our lives and looking absolutely gorgeous. Becca had a cousin who did beauty work in Los Angeles and she came all the way up to Chicago just to make sure that we looked good for our first ever prom, especially since Issa actually had an official date who was taking us with them.

He was a popular boy who had started to notice her after she spent the summer working off all of that weight she used to have. It was a whole year ago when she did it but I was still so happy for her because she used to beat herself up over it all the time. Now this boy - whose name was apparently yet to be revealed - approached her after fifth period with a sign behind his back and the rest is history. When we saw her earlier, she looked happy, amazing, better than ever. I couldn't blame her either. She had turned around her fate because it was headed in a direction she didn't plan on going down and she did it without a fight. Everything had worked out for her in the best of ways. This was the time of night on a Saturday evening towards the end of the school year where we would be on a group call talking about boys and making weekend plans together. But she was inside of the house and getting help to put on her dress by her mother while we were waiting out in the rain for her mysterious date to arrive so he could whisk us away to James Madison in the Mercedes that his parents had bought him.

"Becca's right," Veronica said with a dreamy sigh. "Right now, we're the little mice in Cinderella who help her prepare for the ball. We have to think about ourselves as well tonight, Venia. It's a good thing that we at least look pretty tonight."

I nodded to myself, unable to think about anything or anyone else but Issa and my overflowing joy that I felt for her. The rainfall wasn't too heavy, but we were still getting wet the longer we stood out here, raindrops collecting on our legs and shoes. It was cold outside too, especially for late May, but night had fallen so our shivering bodies were only to blame on Issa's date living in a neighborhood that was so far from her house and the untimely coincidence that was the weather. She had asked us to stand out in front of the house instead of on the porch so that we could assist them both in getting into the car without getting wet. It was a bit self-centered of her to request, but I let it pass because this was her special night.

"Come on, I'm hungry," Veronica whined. "Venia, you're the closest to the door. Can you run in there and get me something to eat? I don't think her dad will care if you're outside, considering the fact that he thought it was lame idea for us to be out here too."

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