Some things Never Change
Loud sirens and speeding cars met my ears as I stepped from a crowded bus onto the curb of a busy city street. Tired from the night's work, I shoved my short wheat blond hair out of my face as I took in my surroundings. Only a few business people, returning to their homes. Nobody to worry about. Abruptly, I hitched my black dance bag further up on my shoulder and started down the street at a brisk pace.
The city wasn't necessarily the ideal place to live, but it was the only place with a college close to home. Plus, living in the city allowed me to do what I really wanted to do. Dance. As I walked, memories of my past swept back to me. Remembering the joy of my old life, I began to weigh the pros and cons of my current one.
I had always wanted to be a dancer. As I grew up, I'd taken all the dance classes I could, from tap to contemporary and from ballet to pole dancing. I'd even convinced Aiden to take some with me. In school, however, I'd been considered weird and a freak. These stupid stereotypes prevented me from joining the dance team. All because of who I hung out with. Aiden.
Despite the fact that I had been practically an outcast, the high school years had been some of the best times of my life, though I'd never admit that to anyone. Four years of laughter and fun with the people that cared about me. And I threw it all away…
Every weekend would be a new adventure with my high school friends. Aiden could make the plainest, most boring event seem like free admittance to six flags. Together, Aiden and I had been unstoppable. No matter what came our way, we'd always helped each other through it. Both of us would dye our hair wildly extreme colors, just because we could.
Everything had been perfect or as close to it as I could get until I woke up one day to find a large portion of my dyed lavender hair still on my pillow. Embarrassed and upset, I refused to tell anyone, not even Aiden. I began to wear my short hair in pigtails to hide the fact that a lot of it was missing. Whenever I could, I would wear a hat snugly over my head.
Despite all my attempts to hide the missing hair, people around school seemed to notice. They'd thrown jokes at me like I was a big red target. The harsh words still taunted me in my dreams.
What happen to your head?
Fry your hair to death?
Is it a new freak fad to rip your hair from your head or do you just like to have choppy hair?
The only person that didn't seem to notice my hair loss was Aiden, so naturally, I clung to him like my life depended on it.
It had been a cold day in December, halfway through my junior year. For some reason the taunting words had been thrown at me with more force and frequency that day, causing me to become beyond upset.
While hanging out with Chase and Aiden—still upset—I'd turned on Aiden, calling him things that I never would have any other time. From that day on I had barely been in the same room as Aiden, let alone talk to him. I had only seen him three times in the last two years, totally by accident.
Silently I scolded myself for never apologizing to Aiden. For never telling him why I had said what I'd said. But I couldn't. I could never tell anyone what had happened to cause me to get so angry. The only other person that knew was Cassie and that was only because a large chunk of my hair had come out in a brush while Cassie was over. At the time, Cassie had been so upset over her dying boyfriend that I'd felt the need to tell her what was going on.
Stepping onto campus, I treaded carefully on the icy path. Winter was coming and I didn't want to slip. If I got hurt in anyway then I wouldn't be able to pay rent, which would mean that my oh-so-friendly roommates would kick me out. The three girls that I shared an apartment with were always looking for a reason to get rid of me.
Turning a corner, I hauled a glass door open and stepping into the lobby of an apartment complex. Speedily I removed the scarf from around my neck as I crossed the empty space to the stairs, shaking the snow out of the woolen fabric. The apartment complex had elevators. Taking the stairs is just another one of my strange quirks, inherited from Aiden and my high school days. Aiden had always been looking for ways to go against the norm.
Reaching the third floor, I pulled my keys from my coat pocket, shivering when my bare fingers came in contact with the cold metal. Moving down the hall toward my apartment, I jingled the keys in my hand, stressed. I still had a paper I had to finish for my last class of the quarter and it was already late.
Coming up to the apartment door, I shuffled through my keys looking for the one that would open the door. Inserting the key into the lock, I jiggled the key as it stuck in the lock. After a minute, the key finally turned in the lock and the door opened.
With a sigh, I stepped into the apartment, heading straight to my room, not even glancing at her roommate in the kitchen.
"Hey Chase, someone called for you earlier. The number is on the fridge," the short, slightly chubby girl called from where she stood behind the island.
"Thanks Leanne," I answered, exhausted, as I passed through the small family room.
Upon entering my bright room, I dropped my bag by the dresser and swiftly changed into a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. Pulling my shirt over my head, my green eyes surveyed the contents of the room. With satisfaction, I took in the band posters that covered the walls, all of the bands barely known by anyone. All the posters came from my high school years. They were just too hard to give up. On almost every flat surface sat a picture of my family and friends from high school. Most of the pictures included a tall, lean, blond, Asian looking boy with a large goofy grin plastered on his perfect face.
I paused for a minute to take in a picture taken the thanksgiving of her junior year of high school. The picture was the last one taken of me and Aiden before our falling out. Subconsciously, I wrapped my arms tightly around myself, remembering his big energetic bear hugs.
In a rush, memories of all our stupid fights and arguments came back to me. So many of them were ten times worse then what we'd split over, so why couldn't I bring myself to say I was sorry? I couldn't even remember why myself. It was so long ago. The Reasons I came up with all seemed so petty and stupid.
Shaking my head, I dismissed it all as the past, something I could not change, no matter how much I wished I could. Turning away from my room, I stepped back out into the hall and made my way toward the kitchen.
Halfway down the hall, the phone on the kitchen counter began to ring again. Speeding up my pace, I moved into the eerily white kitchen and picked up the phone.
"Chase, you really need to stop working so late. I can never get a hold of you," the soprano voice on the other line greeted.
"Hey Cassie. What's up?" I questioned casually as I moved over to the fridge, the phone held between, my shoulder and ear. As Cassie continued to talk on the phone, I read the familiar number scrawled on the postit stuck to the fridge.
"I just wanted to invite you to come celebrate Christmas with us this year. I mean, I know your dad is out of town on work, and I don't want you to be alone for the holidays." Cassie spoke swiftly, as if she needed to get it all out in one breath.
Cassie asked the same thing every year. Hating myself for what I was about to say, I sighed on the other line. "Cass, I'd love to, but I don't have a car. Remember? How am I supposed to get down there?" An excuse. I knew I could take the bus back for nearly nothing.
"My cousin Julio lives up there. He's coming down and has plenty of room in his car," Cassie was quick to suggest. "Julio would have no problem giving you a ride."
"I don't know," I didn't like to depend on people. Depending on people meant needing to pay them back, something I didn't have the means to do.
"He's part Puerto Rican. He speaks Spanish and listens to Latin music," Cassie tempted. Her smile was evident in her voice.
"Cassie, you know I want to. I just..."
"Then come," Cassie said.
"Please!" The soprano voice pleaded. Once more I sighed.
"Promise that Aiden won't be there. The last time was too awkward," The last time I went to Cassie and Nate's for Christmas, two years ago, Aiden had done nothing but stare. I ended up staying in a hotel 'cause I couldn't take seeing the pain and accusation in his eyes every day.
"He hasn't been invited," Cassie informed. From her tone, I knew Cassie was hiding something, but chose to ignore it.
"Okay, I'll come. So when is Julio supposed to pick me up?"
"Two days. Ten in the morning. He likes to leave early to beat traffic," Cassie explained, quickly. The eagerness could be heard in her voice.
"Alright. See ya in two days then."
"Tootles!" And Cassie was gone. Sighing, I hung up the phone. As I left the kitchen, I pulled the postit off the fridge and threw it way. With tired steps, I made my way toward my room, ready to work on that infernal essay.
Hunched over, I sat over my keyboard, one hand playing out some melody while another scribbled notes on a manuscript. In the confined space I called a room, cloths decorated the floor, some clean, some dirty. Who cares what's clean anymore? Empty energy drink cans littered all the flat surfaces as well as filled the trashcan in the corner. The white walls were bare except for a single picture of a purple haired girl, placed on the wall in front of the keyboard.
My long slim finger, continued to slide across the keys, producing a slow, lonely sound. Intent dark eyes stared at the manuscript, my mind whirling as I tried to write the remainder of the final verse. For barely a second, my eyes darted toward the picture on the wall. Seeing her vibrant face, my furrowed brow relaxed visibly as I took in the girl's rejuvenating features.
Despite all the pain the girl had caused, I couldn't forget about her. The girl had practically betrayed me, leaving me to deal with a whole year and a half of ridicule all on my own. Sure Cassie had been there, and Nate too when he could be, but they didn't understand like Chase did. Chase had lived it. She knew how it felt and she left me all alone.
A couple more notes were scribble down before I turned back to the picture. The worst part about the whole issue was that I didn't know why she'd gotten so mad. Whenever I tried to talk to her, she'd just disappear, like she was trying to run from the past.
Several more notes were written down, seconds before a phone rang somewhere in the apartment. Knowing one of my roommates would answer it, I continued to pluck out melodies, searching for the right combination of notes to finish the song.
The phone continued to ring. Irritated, my brow twitched. I set the pencil down and was about to get up and answer the damn phone when the incessant ringing stopped, leaving beautiful silence to be filled with the notes of my new melody. With a relieved sigh, I picked up the pencil and continued to play.
Loud hammering came at the closed door, once again disturbing my concentration. Eyebrow twitching, I put down the pencil, rather roughly before turning toward the door.
"What?" I barked gruffly, glaring over my shoulder. Slowly, tentatively, the door opened.
"Aiden, dude, the phone is for you," the voice of my curly headed roommate explained, as said head came into view.
"Can't you take a message, Reese?" I sighed, rolling my eyes. I hated Reese—couldn't stand to be around him for ten minutes. "Who is it?" Curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask.
"Some chick named Cassie. You might want to take this. She sounds hot," Reese said, leaning against the door frame.
"Does she sound taken too?" I inquired, trying to keep my voice level but glaring at him all the same.
"Why, she yours?"
"No, dumb ass. She's Julio's cousin. Not to mention engaged," I growled, getting up to grab the phone.
"Oh," Reese stayed in his place, looking deep in thought as he lounged languidly against the frame of the door. Sending my roommate a venomous glare, I snatched the phone.
"Out," I ordered, still glaring. It took several seconds for the command to register in Reese's clouded mind, but when it did, he pushed himself off the wall and exited the messy room.
Once I'd closed the door, I lifted the phone to my ear. "Hey Cassie, what's cooking?" For some reason, my mood almost did a total flip when I addressed my old high school friend.
"Not much. Just thought I'd see if you wanted to come for Christmas this year," the soprano on the other line said. In the background, Nate and Trevor could be heard, probably in the middle of one of their indoor soccer games.
"Don't I always come? Why wouldn't I this year?" I questioned, a grin spreading across my lips. It had been so long since I'd smiled, but just the thought of being around friends brought one to my lips.
"I don't know, I just wanted to make sure, I guess," Cassie said quickly before moving away from the subject. "Julio's coming this year, ya know. And Eva, so you won't have to drive."
"Great," I rubbed my tired eyes before glancing at the clock to see that it was eight in the morning. I'd been up all night writing. How'd I lose track of that much time?
"Julio and Eva are leaving tomorrow," Cassie informed
"Awesome," I yawned. "I'll just sleep till then."
"Were you up all night again?" Cassie accused, a disapproving note to her voice.
"Aiden, that's not good for you!"
"It's not my fault I can never sleep!"
"Really? Then whose is it?"
"It's..." Chasina's! It's all that infernal hellcat's fault! "Never mind. I'll see ya tomorrow."
"Kay," Cassie's voice softened. She always seemed to be concerned about me. Got annoying real quick. "Get some sleep."
"Ay, Ay Capitan." I attempted to lighten Cassie's mood.
"Bye, Aiden," Cassie laughed.
The call over, I tossed the phone onto my bed before sitting down at the keyboard again. Six more measures. That's all I needed. Slowly, my eyes drifted back to the picture of the purple haired girl. I'd missed her so much. Every time I saw her around campus I wished that she'd allow me to get close enough to actually speak with her. She never did.