Today will be the last Daily Dose for the time being. I know, you’re all relieved! It was an experiment after all, and sometimes experiments work, and sometimes, they don’t. Life lesson, folks. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
My next two classes, directing and lighting, pass in a daze, which is extremely frustrating. Normally these would be classes that I would be excited about, but all I can think about is that stupid girl. It’s not like me to think about girls like this, period. Thinking about her, or any other girl in any way other than a platonic relationship, will only lead to my heart getting trampled on.
But I can’t help myself! Her face is there, burned into my retinas, every time I close my eyes. My stomach is twisting itself into knots just thinking about her. By the time I meet with Elizabeth Campbell, the director I’m working with for the fall show, I am a wreck.
“Yikes. What train just hit you?” she asks, pulling her purple glasses off, resting them on her head.
I flop down into the chair in front of her desk, tossing my bag hard onto the other one.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I hiss at her with more venom than she is owed. She looks at me wide-eyed, then purses her thin lips into a hard line.
“Fine. I didn’t want to hear it anyway,” she replies quickly retrieving her glasses again. I can tell she has been stung.
I’m a prick.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now.”
She smiles at me, letting me off the hook. She’s cool like that.
“Well, you’re about to have a lot more on your mind” She slides over a flier with the audition notice. The words ‘come prepared to move’ are highlighted in yellow.
“You sure you still want to do this show without words?” I ask, shaking my head at her and her crazy ideas. “It’s not too late, you know.”
She glares at me and grabs the flier out of my hands.
“Yes, I’m sure. With our combined dance skills, this show is going to blow people’s minds.” She sits back in her over sized office chair that practically swallows her small frame and smiles. “That’s why I hand-picked you to be my Assistant Director, you know? You really are an amazing dancer.”
“And here I thought it was because of my boyish good looks,” I snort.
She leans across her desk, all traces of amusement disappearing from her face.
“Why aren’t you a dance major?” she asks. “Not that you aren’t going to be a wonderful director, you are. But dancing is where your heart is. Even an old lady like me can see that.”
Such a stupid question. I turn the left side of my face to her and point. “This is why I’m not a dancer,” I hiss.
She starts blathering something about how I’m always hiding behind my scar. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before from too many people. I’m not about to take it from her too.
Frustrated, I lie and say I’m late for my shift at the bookstore. I leave before I have to see the pity seep into her eyes.
Back at my apartment I pull a veggie burrito out of the freezer, toss it in the microwave, grab a water from the fridge and flop down on the couch, trying my best not to think. I take my time eating, concentrating very deliberately on each bite, ignoring the fact that Naya’s face keeps popping into my head every time I close my eyes.
I take my time washing my one cup from this morning, spending a good five minutes filling the sink and squirting on the liquid until it forms a foamy hill. After it’s been thoroughly dried and put away, I look around my empty apartment and feel absolutely alone.
Needing a distraction, I take out my script and start pouring over the pages of notes Elizabeth and I have worked on during the summer.
She got her insane idea for the show last year when she flew to Chicago to visit her sister. At a little no-name theatre there she saw a production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull done without words, just music and movement–and she was sold. All thoughts of doing the fall show straight were abandoned from that point on. She called me the second she got back into town and asked me to be her assistant director.
Elizabeth is one of a handful of people who know that I can dance. For obvious reasons, I dance only in private. For most of my freshman year I had managed to go unnoticed; until last spring. It was semester break and the campus was deserted, so it should have been a safe time to dance, but Elizabeth had had the same idea, bursting into the same studio I was in. She apologized for intruding, but asked if we might share the space. I was about to politely decline when she put on some Celtic music I’d never heard before. The tracks were so haunting and full of sorrow and loss that I couldn’t stop myself. For some reason I was comfortable with Elizabeth. She never once diverted her eyes when looking at me. It was surprisingly refreshing.
From then on, we would meet during semester breaks to dance, each bringing in music the other had never heard. As a result of those times, we became close. In fact, this summer, she even invited me to dinner with her and her husband, a jazz musician, at their beach house.
It was the type of house I would love to have. Although it was small, just one bedroom, it was perfect. The best part about it were the walls. Every square inch was covered with family photos in mismatched frames. Snapshots of weddings, reunions, smiling little children and couples who looked too perfect to be real. I remembered thinking that the pictures were a testament to the idealistic life they had led. And I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy.
“Your family must love coming here to spend time with the two of you,” I had said, looking at one frame with a small child and a dog running in the sand.
She smiled a sad smile and took a small sip of her wine.
“They would. If I had any.”
“Oh, but I thought…well, all the pictures on the wall…”
Elizabeth sighed. “They came with the frames. The house felt empty before I put them up.” She got up and slipped outside and stood with her feet buried in the sand.
We never spoke of that moment again, but I understood then that we had a common hurt. Each of us longing for something we could never have.
That’s all folks! To read from the beginning start here