It was the middle of November already, and I was already done physically and emotionally with the year. What a year it had been. There were still a few more exam papers to write and then it would be time to say adios to my secondary/high school years and close the curtain on what had undoubtedly been an adventurous journey for me.
I was relieved to have some of the pressure taken off my back, with most of the exams already completed. There was one event I was looking forward to, our Form 5 Formal Dinner (Prom Night). This dinner was a big deal; there was a planning committee; there were decorations and entertainment to be considered. Of course, as Ladies, we thought about our dress, shoes, makeup and hair.
During my trip to the United States in August, while visiting family friends in Santa Rosa, California, I mentioned that I had the dinner coming up. My Auntie S decided to take me shopping for fabrics, yes she was going to sew my dress. Her Mum, who I called Grandma J and my Mama came along for the ride. First, we looked through a book to decide what dress I wanted, and then off we went to the store.
I had never been to a fabric store before. There was so much colour, textures to take in, it was hard to focus. But I found what I wanted, of course, my dress was going to be purple. Once the selection had been made, Grandma J paid for the material, and we returned to Auntie S’s home, where she immediately started work on my dress.
After a few hours, I got to try it on and show my dad, who was in another room. I felt like a princess as I twirled around showing him the dress. I saw pride in his eyes as he looked at me, I could feel the love, and I felt even more beautiful.
The plan was that my dress would be sent by September to Denver Colorado to the Head Office and then it would be sent over with anyone going to the meeting in Namibia which My Dad would attend in October. So it was during my Midterm in October that I finally got to see my completed dress and I was so pleased with it. I had bought my shoes while we were in Denver. My mum took me shopping in Ndola, Zambia to find my jewellery and I also purchased a Dark and Lovely relaxer kit to use on my hair.
The day of the Formal dinner arrived, I believe it was a Friday. We spent the whole day getting ready. I had a friend to help me do my hair. Then another friend helped put my makeup on. It was my first time, and I found it fascinating.
When we were all ready, we all walked out of the hostel like beauty queens in our beautiful gowns. Outside the crowd had gathered, students from the other classes interested in seeing the fashion of the day. Then the picture taking began. I seriously don’t know how Hollywood Celebrities do it.
While we waited for the bus to pick us, we hung out at the turning circle a central spot on campus. I remember talking to my sister and my friends as we waited. It seemed everyone was out and my friends and I were the celebrities. Finally, the bus arrived, and we were ready to get the party started.
When we arrived at the venue, we spent a few minutes admiring the decorations. It was beautiful. Our theme was the Ice Age, so there were blue, white and gold balloons, on the ceilings. The dinner table was already set. The organisers had gone all out in their preparation.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly, after all the stress of the past few months. It was time to let our hair down and have fun with our friends. The food was terrific, but what I enjoyed the most was hanging out with my friends. There were the jokes, the special dance a few of the girls had put together to entertain us. But what everyone was waiting for was the dance floor to be opened.
Now up until that dinner, I was the girl who never danced in public. I remember hearing my mother once saying that it wasn’t a good idea to dance in public, and the sentiment had gotten stuck in my head. But I decided this was an occasion where I needed to express myself, and so I danced the night away. By this time we had changed out of our dresses and Tuxedos into plain Tees and jeans.
After the Formal dinner, I only had two exams left. English Literature was one of them. I was so nervous about the exam because you had to know the books and poems in great details. I had studied Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare so thoroughly that I knew the essential scenes by heart.
Then just like that December 2nd came around and it marked my last day as a Secondary student. It was the prize giving day, parents and guardians and students gathered in the dining hall for the ceremony. As the graduating students, we sat in the front and listened as the teachers and Headmaster gave us farewell speeches admonishing us to take what we had learnt and succeed.
Thus, it was that my last year of secondary school had come to an end. I bade my friends and teachers goodbye and then entered the van with my family and rode off into the sunset.