Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Joey and I pushed some newcomers out of our usual spot in the studio. When it came time for the Latin half our lessons, Joey and I always took the spot right in front of Steve and Susan, and we weren't treating our summer lessons any different. We did our warm-up rumba, but it felt weird to do it next to people from all of the other teams, not just b-team like usual. It also felt weird to be so obviously outshining the people all around us. With the occasional glances in the mirror, it just seemed like we were putting in so much more energy than everyone around us: our smiles were brighter, our legs were more precise, our arm styling was bigger. It was the first time Joey and I had danced together all week owing to Joey's trip to Bonnoroo and it felt great to get back to it. After the warm-up dance, we started working on the rumba basic. Summer lessons were all about technique, which was awesome, but Joey and I couldn't remember the last time we did the rumba basic, our routines had become more complex over the past year. Armed with new information pertaining to a step we hadn't done in ages, Steve and Susan put on the music and let us give it a try. 

When the song ended and two minutes of doing a rotating basic were over, Steve and Susan stopped in front of us. 

Steve put his arm around Susan, "Kaitlyn, we think you need to get a masters. That was fantastic, you can't just graduate on us now," Steve and Susan were both beaming. 

I blushed under the weight of such a compliment, "It might be too late to apply for a masters, but if you can pull some strings," I winked. 

"Seriously, stay around longer. That was really good," Susan said. 

To get any sort of compliment from Steve and Susan was rare, and to me that, that compliment in particular, meant so much. For a coach to say that they want to keep making you better was such high praise. From someone raised in a competitive arena, this meant a lot.

Joey and I were the last to leave lesson, we ended up talking to Steve and Susan after before heading back to campus in my car. As Joey and I listed off everything we had learned and what we still needed to work on, I found myself glad I was driving because it physically prevented me from reaching for my cell phone. All I wanted to do was text CJ about Steve and Susan's compliment; he was the only one who would truly appreciate what they had said, especially that they had said it about my latin (the style I was notoriously bad at).

Getting pizza with Joey, Alex, and Cassie post-lesson was the perfect distraction to keep me laughing and remind me that despite the hellish past couple weeks I had had, I still had good people by my side.

A half hour later, my wedges clattered on the damp pavement as I power-walked the three blocks to Walgreens in a drizzly rain. I snagged a box of "warm light brown" hair dye without a second thought  and raced back to the car. I threw the box on the passenger seat with unnecessary force, and then I started to cry.

Joey had made two comments today that began along the lines of "If you lived here," insensitively referencing the fact that I didn't belong in Ann Arbor anymore. It had been the city I once ruled, it fit every Gossip Girl-esq fantasy I'd had since I began reading the books in seventh grade. But it wasn't mine any longer, and I couldn't shake this feeling that I didn't belong anymore. My own roommate, who was once my very best friend, had driven me out of my own house and turned my group of friends against me with lies. Joey had just gotten back from a week at a music festival, and was getting ready to leave the next day for another. And then he was here for a week before I went home for a week's vacation, and the day I got back he was leaving for Texas forever. My only other ally, Alex, was currently sleeping/spending all of his time with Cassie, which meant I couldn't hang out with him as often as before. Joey had a girlfriend, this sophomore Amelia who's kind of a slut, which naturally left me as the odd man out.

I read a quote once that said that the smarter you are, the harder it is to find friends because you expect as much from them as you're willing to give yourself. That is the sad truth. I am lonely. There are small moments where I don't feel alone, and I love them, but then everyone moves on. My three closest friends lived far away. Joey would always rather hang out with some girl who would potentially suck his dick than hang out with me. Alex was well, Alex.

And then there was CJ. He was that rare person that I just connected with. It had been sudden and spontaneous and great, then he dropped me on my ass. And then we reconnected, and he did it again. He was that person that when Joey was ditching me for some girl who would suck his dick, I would text or hang out with and I wouldn't feel as lonely anymore. But now I was actually alone.

I reached my Uncle Rick's house, where I was currently living and I swiped the tears out of my eyes so my ten year old cousin wouldn't ask why I was crying. I made myself a cup of chamomile tea and slathered dye on my chopped locks. A double chocolate cookie, a half hour of letting my hair marinate, and a shower later, I blew out my newly lightened long bob and admired my summer hair color.

After staring at myself in the mirror during our latin half of the lesson, my hair just felt so dark, which normally didn't bother me, but it just didn't look right. My shorter hair cut meant my hair was now more on my face, as opposed to pulled back behind an ear or with bobby pins like it normally was when it was long. I think it was the dark hair next to my full dark brows, dark eyes, and the vampy lipstick I had on with an all-black dance look that set me off.

Sometimes you just need a change. Everything had changed in the past month, hair included. But I had to believe that change wasn't all bad. I went to bed without even opening CJ's text message thread. To not share the general ups and downs of life with CJ Anslow was a change, and even though it didn't feel like a good change, I knew the good would reveal itself in time. Sometimes you meet someone, and its so immediately clear that the two of you, on some level, belong together. Whether it's as lovers, or friends, as family, or something completely unique; you just click and can be unconditionally yourself. You meet these people thought your life, completely unexpectedly, and they help you make your life better. I don't know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer dumb luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something. And I believe that one day, I'll connect with someone like I connected with CJ, but that person will be in my life to stay.

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