You Learn

This story is based on a 18 year old girl Evelyn and her view on the world. It takes place in her last year of high school and the experiences and truths she learns a long the way.


2. Come On Eileen

I was sitting in the meeting room, my leg jittering. My hands clammy. The student council meeting goes for an hour, and I had been nervously waiting for Donna to get to talking about the upcoming school dance. I had everything planned out, but I wasn’t exactly confident about it. I wanted it, badly, but I wasn’t so sure everyone else would feel the same. I attended every meeting, sat there for the hour without ever saying a word. All my ideas, thoughts and opinions seemed to come after the meeting when the only person left in the room was Donna. Today though I had to brave enough to speak my mind. I had to put my plan forward if I was going to have any hope of getting enough votes to go ahead with it.
“Alright, on to our next order of business, the upcoming school dance. We really need to find our theme, so does anyone have any ideas to put to the table?” Donna asked. I took a look around the room and with a deep breath I raised my hand.
“Oh, okay, um, Evelyn, what were you thinking?” see what I mean? Completely surprised.
“What about an eighties themed dance? Think Whitney Houston ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ music video. Think Michael Jackson’s thriller…Leg warmers, fluro colours, scrunchies, it could be really fun. We would definitely be remembered for it” I said.

I can clearly pinpoint the moment that introduced me to my obsession with everything eighties. It all began when I couldn’t have been more than seven years old. It was late at night, too late for me to be up, but I was drawn by the music downstairs and had to have a look. I sat on the top of the stairs as I watched my aunt in the lounge room all alone. Dexy Midnight Runners song ‘Come on Eileen’ started to play. Of course at that point I didn’t even know how to pronounce the band’s name, let alone have any knowledge about the decade in which it was released. That was beside the point. I remember watching my aunt begin to dance around the room. She danced like no one was watching, she just let everything out. I got caught up in the whole moment. I closed my eyes, listening to the lyrics and quickly found myself moving to the beat. I couldn’t help it. It’s just one of those songs. My aunt eventually noticed me dancing it out on the staircase, and dragged me into the living room. In that moment, just going wild to that song, I felt such a connection and I felt completely free. After that night, my aunt started giving me all sorts of great albums to try. Then of course music lead me to the movies. Breakfast Club in particular became my favourite film ever. Molly Ringwald is totally my soul sister.

“Awesome idea, Evie, I love it” Donna said as we walked out into the corridor together.
“Well, I’m glad the others agreed with you. I’m really excited about it” I said.
“As you are the one who came up with the idea, I guess, you have the best picture in your mind about what it needs to make it the best night ever, So I think you should try and take more leadership with this one, with the organising of it” Donna said.
“But, Donna…” I said.
“Come on, Evelyn Mae” Donna said.
I sighed “you should know that that middle naming me doesn’t work on. Look…I will work out everything that we’ll need and I can help with flyers and stuff, but I’m not so good with the talking in front of everyone, you know that. So maybe you can be like the face of my theme but I will the mastermind behind it all. Please, Donna, your Student Council President, isn’t it like you’re job to like serve our student body?” I said.
“Yeah, I guess. Okay, I’ll do it” Donna said.
“Thanks” I said.
“Are you free Monday afternoon? We should really go over a budget and all that stuff so we can get stared with our pitch to Mrs Walters” Donna said.
“Sure, sounds fine by me” I said.
“Great. See you then” Donna said.
“Bye, Donna” I said and we headed in opposite directions.

My mind was racing with thoughts and ideas. I was strutting down that corridor with absolute confidence. It may have helped that it was after school so virtually no one was around, but mostly it was the confident boost that I got from people accepting my idea. I noticed Harriet stumble out of the girl’s bathroom. She looked up and realised I was standing there. I got the sense that I had just caught her doing something she was embarrassed about me. She just stood there, frozen, like she had to think about her next move. I realised maybe I was the one who had to step in first.
“Harriet, hey. I just had student council meeting and guess what? We’re having an eighties themed dance. It was all my idea. It is going to be so awesome” I said trying to put in an effort to be bubbly.
“Oh, uh…that’s, um…that’s great, Evelyn” Harriet said.
“Is something wrong? Is something going on?” I asked.
“No, nothing. My brother is picking me up today, he called me and told me he got caught up at band practice so he’s going to be late, that’s all” Harriet replied.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yep” Harriet replied as she pasted a fake smile on her face.
“Alright” I said. I knew I should have pushed her more, but I didn’t want to push her too far. I didn’t want her to feel pressured about it, she obviously didn’t feel comfortable talking to me. I just hoped that she was talking to someone about whatever it was. 

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