Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'Forever and Always'

" and and 8." Anabel listened to Kerri, her dance instructor count aloud in an austere tone as she moved her body to each beat. A bead of sweat dripped down her forehead and didn't disappear until Anabel wiped her wrist through, stopping the sweat in its tracks.She moved her body as her head tried not to confound the steps she'd rehearsed many times before. Anabel had been dancing for as long as she could remember. Her mother said that since she could walk, Anabel had been twirling and tapping away. "OK girls, take five. Come back ready to prepare for the concert. We only have two months!" Kerri echoed through the mirror coated studio. Anabel walked over to her bag and took a long sip of refreshing, cool water. She checked her phone. Three missed calls and five texts, all of which were from Luke. Luke and Anabel had been dating since the beginning of Anabel's freshman year, and Luke's sophomore year. The two seemed perfect for each other. Anabel was a competitive dancer and Luke was a competitive athlete. All the messages were Luke complaining because he and Anabel only hang out in school, because their both so busy, especially Anabel. Anabel had been spending all of her spare time at the studio. This concert was really important for her. It could get her into the dance school shes been aiming to be at for years. Anabel decided she would call Luke back after dance, and jogged back to the mirrored room, ready to dance.

"Luke, I want to hang out with you as much as you want to hang out with me. It's just that dance is taking over my life right now, and this concert is extremely important to me. I wish you would understand." Luke and Anabel went on for hours. Luke didn't get that dance was as important to Anabel as football and lacrosse were to him, dance was just more time consuming. In the end of their conversation, they concurred that they would stay together, and spend as much time as possible with each other.

In the next few weeks, dance got even more time consuming for Anabel. Her life consisted of school, dance, and sleep. Occasionally she got a salutary dinner or lunch added into her schedule as well. Luke was just getting more and more frustrated and Anabel didn't understand why he didn't understand. One day as Anabel walked to her locker, Luke grabbed her arm and turned her to him. "Anabel, this isn't working for me. I never get to see you and I can't be in a relationship like this. We're over. I hope we can still be friends." That was it. The dreaded line, "I hope we can still be friends". No girl ever wants to hear that. Luke didn't even seem sad about it, the acrimony rolled out of his lips as if it had been rehearsed. She had never pictured Luke saying this to her, he was the most genial person Anabel knew. Anabel was laconic, she didn't know what to say. This was unusual because many people told Anabel that she was the most taciturn person they knew. Before she could speak, her body took action and ran as fast as it could until she relegated out of Luke's site. This didn't happen until she arrived at the park a mere three blocks away. She was panting when reality finally hit her, it was over. Her and Luke were done, and there was nothing she could do about it. She had never had her heart broken before. I mean, sure there were those boys she thought she loved who acted as though she didn't exist, but that was nothing. This was real. Anabel felt as if Luke ripped out her heart and threw it to the ground. She felt that he wasn't even kind enough to just step on it, but trample it. The tears streamed down her face. She couldn't stop herself. She snatched her i pod out of her pocket and began scrolling through the menu until she hit 'shuffle'. The music began to flow through her body and as much as her heart wanted to curl up in a ball and cry forever, her body wanted to dance. It's like a disease. Every time she hears music, Anabel can't hold her self back from the uniform pirouetting and swaying that she did daily to the beat. I must look like a fool, she thought to herself. Who dances in the park?

Finally, when Anabel had that familiar bead of sweat dripping down her forehead once again, she remembered she had class tonight. Kerri was going to kill her if she was late! She checked her phone which read 5:45. Anabel had to be at dance in 15 minutes and had no way of getting there, since she ran to the park from school, and left her car in the parking lot. All she could do was run. She ran and ran as fast as she could about four blocks to the dance studio. What a workout I'm getting tonight, she thought to herself.

Dance was miserable. Every song somehow made Anabel think of Luke, and all the good times they had together. She forced herself not to cry. What would the others have thought if she cried? She was supposed to be the paragon of dance at this studio. She couldn't break down. Not here, not now.

The next few weeks were all the same. Go to school, try not to stare at Luke, go to dance, sleep. Go to school, try not to think of Luke, go to dance, sleep. It was like a broken record. The one thing that kept Anabel going when she needed a break was North-East dance school. Every time her eyes began to water, she thought of the school, closed her eyes, and saw herself dancing through the hallways.

Finally, the day was near. It was Monday and the Concert was on Friday. Anabel knew this was going to the be hardest week of her life. It had been about two months since Luke and Anabel split, and even though it was still hard for Anabel, it was getting easier. The week went just as the past few had, except everyone at the studio seemed nervous. Finally on Thursday, they got a pep talk from Kerri. "OK girls, this is it. We've practiced all we can and now we need to put ourselves to the test. We've all performed before, so just think of this concert just as all the others. Get everything off your mind except dance. Just promise me you'll give it your all when your out there so none of us regret anything." An echo of 'I promise' twirled through the studio, just as the girls did every day. "I'll see you all tomorrow night ready to perform. Take care of yourselves!" Kerri finished. The girls all packed up their bags and exited the studio, something they could do with their eyes closed.

That day at school, Anabel couldn't concentrate no matter how hard she tried. Oddly, Luke couldn't either. He knew Anabel's concert was today, and how nervous she was about getting into North-East. She had been talking about it forever. He missed her. He couldn't go much longer without talking to her. Luke thought as though he didn't need her, but now he was realizing that even though they didn't see much of each other, he needed that time they did spend together. He was thinking about not talking her today, because he knew she had enough on her mind. The problem was that he couldn't wait any longer. He decided that right after school, he would go directly to parking spot 65, Anabel's spot.

As he leaned against her Black Camaro, he saw Anabel approaching through the two willow trees that separated the parking lot from the school. When she noticed him, she stopped dead in her tracks. When reality sank in, she continued to walk towards her car. Anabel and Luke stood looking at each other, both speechless. It was awkward, but in a good way. Before either could say a word, tears sped down Anabel's face as Luke reached out and Anabel jumped into his arms. It was good to be back there. She felt safe, and loved. Neither had to say a word to determine that they were back together. They both knew it. Luke, as much as he would deny it, even shed a tear. Finally, after several minutes, Anabel released herself from the embrace and tried to wipe the tears, mascara, and eyeliner off of her face, while actually just smudging it all together, in a twirl of happiness. "I have to go. I have my competition tonight." Anabel released through sniffles.

"I know, I'll be there cheering you on. I know you can do it. Don't let anything or anyone get in your way." Luke replied. They both smiled as Luke closed the door behind Anabel as she sat down into the drivers seat.

Three hours later, with her hair in a bun so tight that it gave her a headache, and enough make-up on to be in the circus, Anabel was ready. She was up next. This was it. It was her time. As she peeked out into the audience, there, she saw all of her family, and, of course, Luke. Anabel was elated to see him out there. She was beaming and ready to take the stage. Luke had been to Anabel's concerts before, and he was usually considered the zealot of the crowd. She was standing behind the curtain, trying to remain phlegmatic, even though her heart was ready to explode out of her chest. She listened as Kerri advocated her, knowing that the representatives for North-East were in the front row. "Up next, our very own shining star, Anabel!" A roar of applause filled the studio. Anabel took one last deep breath, plastered a smile onto her face, and appeared on the stage from behind the curtain. As the music started, Anabel flashed back to everyday in the studio and began counting in her head to the beat. ""