the only way to love
Background – During the spring of 2020, the coronavirus cancelled a lot of things. One of those things was Garth’s senior prom. While that was definitely a disappointment for most of the kids involved, for Garth it was terrible. Life-changing terrible.
He was dating a girl named Ramona at the time and she had agreed to accompany him to prom. It was a major deal.
Unfortunately the months of not seeing each other in person due to the quarantine created a gulf between them and it was never quite the same. They both went off to college in the fall and he eventually lost touch with her.
Problem was he could never shake the feeling that she was the one. The one. The big relationship.
While thousands of people actually died in pandemic, Garth counted himself among the victims.
Fast-forward to March 2030.
Garth got the idea while watching an old movie about a high school athlete reliving his past. Going back and fixing things.
He contacted the committee that was putting together their first reunion and they loved the idea. “Finally having our prom! You’re a genius Garth” said Sara the committee head.
“I wouldn’t go that far…. but remember, people have to go with their old flames. No husbands. No new partners. Only the people that we were going to go with ten years ago.”
“How fun!” squealed Sara.
You see, Garth never got over Ramona and while this plan might not be considered diabolical, it was definitely on shaky moral ground. Garth was hoping that somehow he could recapture the magic that he and Ramona had once shared. He was going to pull out all the stops to see if he could rekindle things.
An email blast was sent out, inquiring if everybody was willing to give it a go. Garth held his breath for a week waiting to see if Ramona would respond.
She was in.
The prom was going to take place the first week of April and the decorating committee had strict instructions to make sure everything looked and sounded like it was 2020. Except for face masks. Masks would not be allowed. There would be bad crepe paper and colored lights, the theme was Under the Sea and the local country club that was hosting the proceedings was a bit rundown. Fish were to be hung from the ceiling.
Garth knew from the free internet background search that Ramona had been married briefly but was no longer attached to anyone. Her social media accounts concurred. He didn’t want to cross the line between interested and stalking but he could certainly see the line from where he was standing.
He rented a tux.
He did sit ups.
He rented a limo.
He bought breath mints.
He bought a corsage.
They exchanged texts so he knew her address and what time to pick her up.
Everything was set. He even convinced the prom committee to play Ramona’s favorite song in 2020 as the last slow dance; The Only Way to Love by Vanessa Carlton. It was going to be just like the movies.
He wondered if she was as nervous and excited as he was. Would she still be beautiful? Would she still be funny? He spent the next few days pacing like a crazy person and imaging every possible way the evening could turn out.
When the day finally arrived he woke up in a cold sweat. Not a momentary cold sweat but a clammy, burning up, “this is going to be awhile” type of cold sweat.
He had to cancel and spent the next two days in bed.
He later heard that Sara and her old boyfriend had hooked up and started dating again after a magical night together. Just like the movies… that he wasn’t in.
“Fucking coronavirus” was all Garth had to say.