There's always a line for the photographer's stage, on these things. Proms, Bar Mitzvahs, cotillions — the one thing he knows is that the girls always want to have their picture taken, and the boys almost always comply, in the hopes for some sloppy kissing and groping in the hallway, later. It's how it works, and it's never bothered him until now. There's a blonde and a pimple-faced kid, standing awkwardly in front of the red backdrop, but his eyes are drawn to the girl at the end of the line.
It takes him a few minutes to get through everyone and when the girl approaches him, he notices for the first time that she's the Prom Queen. A plastic tiara was placed lopsidedly on her hair and the mascara that once made her eyes open up with flair is now running down her cheeks. Her lipstick is smudged, but the most obvious sign of her decay is still the lack of a date by her side. She's the first girl he's photographing alone, this evening.
She's not hiding. There's no embarrassment in her stride as she motions to stand in front of the red curtain, no shame. She holds her head high and the Photographer is able to notice that her eyes are dry. Whatever she had to cry about, she's done with it, it's a thing of the past. He marvels at the feeling she emanates; it's something he's never seen before — the feeling of a clean slate, of the newness and the opportunity that comes after you graduate. She's not just crying, she's shedding her skin like a snake, growing newer and more beautiful scales. She's transforming. And as she brings a hand up to wipe some lipstick off of her face, his mind forces him to press down on the shutter button, and a click is heard.
Her eyes shoot up to meet his, and when they do, she smiles. Her part is done, and so is his.
Whoever gets the TV reference in the title (no googling!) wins a prize. An air kiss from me. Yes, that.
Don't forget to check out my 100 Days of Summer project! Oh, and the texture belongs to the lovely pareeeerica.