Even if it's been months, I'm still heartbroken over a man that I did not have an exclusive relationship with. It's really stupid, but he had found himself and wormed his way into my heart like some kind of virus into my blood stream and that's where he's been. I tried to avoid the inevitable, tried to move on, but you know. You can't avoid the truth forever: I feel something for him. Still.
When will I see you again?
You left with no goodbye, not a single word was said,
No final kiss to seal any seams,
I had no idea of the state we were in.
Don't You Remember, Adele
Okay, fine. I'll admit it. Even after all the times I've said that I don't like him (still) and that I don't see a future with him (ever) I still do feel something for him. It's not like I can just turn off my feelings, you know? It's not like I can just like him one day and not the next. I guess what's really confusing me— and the people around me— is that it's been months. We haven't held a real conversation in months. I haven't sat down in the same room with him for more than a few minutes in months. I haven't looked him in the eye in months.
I'm avoiding him, that's why. I can't stand to be around him. He makes me so angry, and so pissed off! He isn't right for me. He isn't my prince charming. He's just this douche bag that threw a couple cliche lines at me, kissed me more than a few times and hugged me when I needed a hug most. He was just always there for a whole summer, and then I was always there for the whole fall. And fall dissolved into winter and once Spring came around— BAM! Girlfriend, that wasn't me! I don't know how it happened. It was a slow happening, but I still don't know how it happened. One day we were "normal" and then two weeks go by without talking to each other and suddenly he's in love with this other girl and I'm standing at the doorway like an idiot.
I, sort of, haphazardly decided while I was standing in the doorway, staring at him cuddling with this new girl, that I was totally over him. I don't like him. What was there to like about him? He doesn't even have a cute face! Sure, I mean, he has an amazing body— but it's not like it's all I'm looking for. He reads really poorly written books you can buy at the drugstore and he hates school. Who hates school? I love school. I wish they paid me to go to school. I would be a millionaire instead of being in debt to the federal government. Do you know how much interest I have to pay back for my student loans?
I digress. I'll just get to the point— he's an asshole, through and through. There was no real reason for me to like him. So, I didn't. I just decided that I would pretend like nothing happened, and I guess he decided that too.
We went about our days like we didn't even know each other. It stumped all of our friends.
"I thought you guys were, like, in love," Tony said, scratching his head as he watched me angrily stomp across the dance floor. Yeah, dance floor, because that's where I met him. At a dance studio. For some stupid reason I decided that I wanted to learn how to dance. I was always pretty okay at dancing (if I do say so, myself) but I had never really pursued it. And I was feeling so bored after graduating from my bachelor's program. I had a whole summer to waste before starting grad school (it's a miracle I got in right after graduating). So, for some stupid and insane reason, I went to the dance studio and signed up. I breezed right through the introductory courses, and suddenly I was thrust into the world of intermediate and advanced dancers. I did not belong.
"I don't believe in love," I said, stopping in the middle of the dance floor. "I think I want to change my routine."
"WHAT!" Tony all but screeched at me, bringing his fingers to his face (a lame attempt at masking his horror). "You can't change your routine! The showcase is in four months! You can't, you can't, you can't! Do you know how long I took choreographing that routine for you? It took me six months to choreograph that! You have a solo! The first amateur dancer at this company to get a solo! And an amazing solo at that! One of the best solos this company has ever seen! One of the best this CITY HAS EVER SEEN!"
"I hate the song," I mumbled, pouting. Tony didn't fall for it. Tony never fell for any of my tricks. He was the only instructor at the studio that even thought about putting me in the showcase. He'd fought for my solo and worked both of us to the bone to perfect it. I knew I had been selfish to request a new routine, but I couldn't handle listening to the song. The song that the Asshole had picked out for me. The song that Asshole (as I'll refer to him endearingly) said was "the definition of our relationship!"
"Oh, honey," Tony sighed, stepping in front of me. "Turn around and look at yourself. You still have feelings for him, just admit it to yourself."
"I don't," I denied, turning to the mirror and staring at myself.
I couldn't grasp the reason for him suddenly having a girlfriend. What was wrong with me that I couldn't even keep him interested? I knew the reasonable reasons: he was too impatient. He wanted a real relationship— the casual fling we'd been having. He was intimidated by my academics. He was scared. But I couldn't believe any of them. None of them made sense. I wasn't pretty enough. I didn't have much a personality (still don't). I liked sad music. I had an insatiable appetite for anything edible. I wasn't good enough.
"You are one of the most beautiful young women I have ever had the honor to teach," Tony said, lifting my chin with his lithe fingers. "You're too good for him, anyways."
I threw myself into school and dance. My social life consisted of going to dinner with Tony after practice or going to breakfast with my roommate (whom I didn't and still don't really enjoy the company of). I was going through life like nothing had happened. Like my love (sex) life never existed. I was a dry barren— a dessert— for months!
And now, I've found myself this great guy. I have this amazing guy pining after me. He holds doors open for me and waits until I've sat down to sit. He finds it interesting that I'm going to school for writing. He is in awe of me, and I can't find myself to stop thinking about Asshole all of a sudden.
I went three and a half months without a single thought about him. Sure, I mean. I thought about him, but it wasn't frequent. It was always a fleeting thought I threw away, right over my shoulder. Like salt, for good luck. I didn't think about him, didn't want to think about him. And suddenly, when I've found Prince Charming, all I can think about is Asshole.
Maybe it's because Charming is the total opposite of Asshole. Maybe it's because while browsing my FaceBook, his newly single relationship status popped up on my screen. Maybe I got a little bit excited— why'd they break up? Was he unhappy? Did he cheat? Did she cheat? Did she insult his dancing (because God knows that he's one of the most amazing dancers at the studio— practically the entire city!). What happened? Would he talk to me again? Would we go back to being us, like nothing had happened?
Could we continue to pretend that nothing was wrong?
And that's where we are now. I, admittedly, can no longer pretend that I am not upset by this whole situation. It's probably not a situation, to him or anyone other than myself, but it is to me and that's all that matters. I had built up all of these feelings for Asshole, and I can't just throw them away. I can't just pretend they were never there because I did that and look where's it gotten me.
I'm between a rock and a hard place.
Asshole being the rock and Charming being the hard place.
I'm in the dance studio, but somehow instead of stretching Charming had me pressing him against the mirrors. I was doing the pressing— like a cat in heat! And we were making out— nipping and licking and kissing and practically eating each other— when I felt someone behind us. And yeah, not a total mystery, but it was Asshole, come to ruin a perfectly good make-out session.
When I turned to tell him off ("Fuck off, Asshole. I'm busy here," is what I would have liked to have said), my brain died and I started bombarding myself with stupid confessions. I still like him. I'm still enamored by him. The sight of him— his average face and tall build— took my breath away. Average face! Who was I kidding? His high cheek bones, the angled jaw. His intense gray eyes and those lips... He should have black tape censoring those lips!
"We're supposed to be practicing," he said in that deep, bone chilling voice he used for the younger students who annoyed him. Was I annoying him? Was I bothering him? Why was I worried about bothering or annoying him? URGH! He's annoying and bothering me now! "Studio time is not for fucking. If you're not going to practice, leave."
"First of all, I rented the space so I can do whatever I want in here," I said, poking his chest with my finger. It hurt me more than it hurt him. You know, muscles versus tiny bones. Not good. "Second of all, who are you to use that tone of voice with me? I am not one of your students, so why don't you fuck off? What are you doing here, anyways?"
"I need a partner for my set. You're doing it," he said simply before turning around and taking long strides to the sound system. "Stretch."
"Oh, fuck you.." I mumbled, turning back around to Charming. He gave me a reassuring smile before shrugging. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine," he said, sending me a knee weakening smile. He was so good looking— face and body. Inside and out. "I'll see you tomorrow morning for breakfast. Okay?"
"Okay," I smiled, standing on my toes to kiss him. He smiled into the kiss and for a moment I was happy and care-free. Until Asshole cleared his throat and I was thrust back into the reality that he was an asshole.
I rolled my eyes and walked Charming to the door. After watching him walk through the hallway filled with dancers, I sighed and turned back around. Asshole was stretching off in the far corner of the studio. His feet perfectly pointed as he stretched his hands to cover them.
When we had first met, I had been staring at him. The way he danced was awe-inspiring. His limbs flowed like water and he barely made any noise as he glided across the dance floor. Usually, I'd think any guy who danced that beautifully would be gay, but there was something about the way he danced that screamed masculinity. He made it a point, with every kick and movement, that he was a man and a straight man. He was a straight man, in a dance world dominated by skinny girls and stereotypes. I was instantly attracted to him— even with his average face.
"I hope you remember how to break dance," Asshole grunted at him, pulling me up from my stretching. I looked away from him and rolled my eyes again. "Get your sneakers. This is going to be more than just pirouettes and pointed toes."
I didn't bother to say a single word to him. I didn't bother to look at him as he instructed me on what to do. Six step. Sweep. Freeze. Zulu spin. I just did as I was instructed and he didn't protest one bit. There was so much negative energy in the room. I could feel it surround me as I glided across the studio floor, him following me in matching rhythm.
We were sychronized, step by step. Every step or movement I made, he followed in a similar or contrasting movement of his own. The piece was beautiful, I'd admit it, but it was hard and tiring. I pushed through the haze of weakness and continued. Repeating the steps I couldn't get naturally into my limbs. It was so hard. It was always so hard. No matter how many times people told me I was a natural, I would always be at a disadvantage- I have only been training for nine months. I was stiffer than the other women, still choppy in the more intricate steps.
"Stop," Asshole said, making me pause mid step. "Stop."
"What?" I spat, glaring at him. "I'm doing everything right."
"You're not putting anything into it," he said, trying to look me in the eyes. I refused, instead closing my eyes. I pretended to calm my anger, but in reality I was trying to calm my battering heart. I could feel him staring at me.
"Why do you think I'm sweating? I'm putting work in!" I screamed, knowing that wasn't what he was talking about.
"Emotion, Bryanna," he said my name with more conviction I'd ever heard anyone say it. "Put some emotion into your work."
"Okay," I said simply. I didn't know how to respond. What kind of emotion was I supposed to put in a piece that I didn't even want to be in? Anger was all I could think of.
Anger it was. "Okay."
We did it three times over, and each time my anger rose. I chased him across the stage, and he chased me. I punched the air with my fists, pretending it was him. I kicked and leaped into the air as if I was trying to fly away. I put every emotion I had denied myself for three and a half months, and I threw it all at him. I didn't hesitate to scream if I messed up or tripped. I didn't hesitate to keep going, even if exhaustion was pulling at me to quit. No. I wouldn't let him win. I wanted to be free of my chasing thoughts. I wanted to be free of him.
I was panting like a dog on the hottest summer day, falling to the floor when we finished the routine a third time. It had been flawless. There hadn't been a single missed step or beat. We had performed perfectly for an audience of ourselves, in the mirror.
"Bring that to the stage," Asshole said, sitting himself an arm's length away from me. I turned my head away from him, slowly getting up. My feet planted on the ground, then stretching my knees, dragging my hands over my legs. My shoulders followed, then my neck, and slowly my head. I barely avoided feeling light headed, getting up.
"I need to practice my solo," I said, kicking him lightly with my sneaker-covered foot. "Leave."
"Why do I have to leave?"
"Because I didn't pay for this studio time to learn your dance. And I didn't put my money down to have you as my audience. I need to do this alone." I watched him through the mirror as he got up, just as slowly as I had. He rolled his shoulders, then his neck.
He grabbed his things and threw them by the door, then he seated himself in the center of the mirror. With his hands clasped behind his head, he stared at me, catching my eyes.
"Adrian, leave," I said. His name rolled off of my tongue effortlessly, like I had been saying for months none stop. I hadn't said his name in months. The irony almost made me laugh. "Please."
"No," he said, "I'm not leaving. I've heard about your solo. I want to see it, just like everyone else. I have the right. You're using our song."
"It's not "our" song," I said, narrowing my eyes at him. Our eyes were connected instantly— his gray orbs clashing with my brown ones. The energy in the room transformed, from negative to simply electric. I could almost imagine lightening appearing around us, if it were possible.
I didn't want him in the room as I danced to the stupid song. I didn't want him to see me at my weakest— pouring myself over the stupid rifts and notes. Everything was just so stupid (you'd think being an English major, I'd find a better synonym for "stupid" right?)!
"Just do the dance, Bry," Adrian sighed, shaking his head. "I'm nothing but a fly on the wall."
"Yeah, a really big, really annoying, atrocious fly on the wall," I said, throwing my shoe at him. Then the other one. He grabbed each one easily, smirking at me. I rolled my eyes and turned around, attempting to pretend he wasn't there. I knew the day would come when he'd see it. I just didn't want to face the reality. I was hoping he'd be hiding backstage or in the crowd when he'd see this solo. I didn't want him to be able to pick through every move Tony made me do. I didn't want him to see my face as I did it. I wanted the glare of the stage light and the mask of make-up I'd be wearing. I didn't want him to see me bare myself.
I'd already done that, and look at where it got me. Afraid to enter a relationship with a beautiful man. Brokenhearted over his asshole self. Anger surged through me again.
"Would you stop being angry and dance already?"
"Would you stop acting like nothing has happened and leave already?" I screamed, grabbing my hair in fist fulls. "Would you please leave me alone? I'm not here for you to run back to whenever you have a little fit with your girlfriend. I'm not here to cuddle you or hold your hand while you cross the street! I know I was wasting your time, but that was four months ago. Would you just get out of my head, get out of my line of vision, and get out of my life?"
"Because seeing you with anyone else breaks my heart. And just seeing you makes me so angry. Why can't you see that I'm not happy here. I'm always angry when I dance. I used to be happy, but now I'm angry and it's all because of you! It's all because after months of saying I'm over it— over you— I'M NOT!"
I think I like it a lot. Hmm. Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think! xoxo, Lana