I wrote this for another who should have.
|Just when you begin to think you’ve formulated an understanding or theory to life, Providence teaches you yet another lesson. In my case it was a dance lesson, taught by one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and displacing everything I had come to accept about relationships, dating, and love.
After years of rigorous studying, earning the top marks, and even teaching some of my teachers, I classified myself as a relatively clever adolescent. Unfortunately, the unspoken destiny of the intelligent asserts he must also face isolation in his genius. Had I tried? Of course, I had and I failed. Dating became an enigma. This was one skill which could not be mastered through books and research. Attraction could not be earned like a letter grade. One’s true personality is either attractive or not. It cannot be altered to be so or it becomes artificial. So, I reluctantly but finally accepted my lack of proficiency in relationships, submissively casting the effort aside and assuming that this was evidently not for me. I intended to simply sail through the scraps of high school, submerging myself soundly into my work and activities, and attempt a relationship afterwards. My closest friends wanted to beat me for my detachment and indifference towards “love.” I scoffed at those who dealt with the gossip and drama associated with the cycle of dating: the anxiety period, the jovial phase, then evaporation of initial “twitterpation,” the distorted rumors, lies, fighting, and lastly the deterioration or “messy break up.” I examined as Joe went out with Jane, who just broke up with John, almost dated James, and then dumped him for Jack. I observed them argue, break up, and then make up. I saw friends endeavor to maintain relationships just to see them vanish after the initial excitement of superficial attraction had faded and it boiled down to just monotonous habit of dependence for attention. I witnessed friends devastated as partners discovered more attractive possibilities, which eventually subsided. Thus, the latter becomes involved in a relationship with no guarantees of success and the former is left with the feeling of inadequacy for nothing. After careful analysis and several case studies, I had postulated that high school relationships are trite and meaningless. Still a good scientist must always test his theories for himself.
Now don’t allow me to mislead you. Naturally, I was drawn by physical attraction. After all, it was high school and I am human. I just did not believe that much could exist past that at our age and maturity, yet I’ve always felt that impulse to “tempt fate” if I may use the cliché. So then there was Lia. Providence decided to toy with my emotion a little: his devious way of reminding me of my humanity. It all started out well enough. She actually liked me. Deciding not to be ungrateful, I took the chance and ruined the career of solitude, which I had formed of the last seventeen years of my life. This incited an admiration for those who tolerated the chores of relationships. We attended separate schools, so I didn’t see her often. That didn’t please her too much, so calling became a must. Unfortunately, my telecommunication skills never fully developed and phone conversations never captivated my attention. I felt obligated to call her, and eventually it became habit. Then, when time permitted we could actually see each other, anxiety assailed my mind. What should I say? What should I do? Should I put my arm around her? Can I kiss her goodnight? Is it too early? How far, how fast? Questions bombarded my thoughts. I can’t say it was all bad. The experience was nerve-wrecking, yet exciting to a degree. Then, the premature exhilaration faded and I discovered two people who had little to hold an intellectual relationship. Different schools meant different friends, teachers, classes, environments, and little to share. Topics of conversation became exhausted. My only window into her personality was our conversation. Again, I found little to speak of and she found one-dimensional subjects: mutual friends, band, school, etc. Timing wasn’t ideal either. It was nearing the end of my junior year and the struggle to uphold my work ethic and cramming for exams amplified my stress level. Dealing with my increasingly prosaic dating situation failed. As if the expanse across town didn’t distance us enough, word reached me that Lia was moving. Any attempts to improve the matter now were pointless, so that just dwindled and we came to an understanding that it was over before she left. This experiment proved my conjectures.
However, as senior year began, fate dealt me a wild card. Jana had been a classmate of mine for the past several years, but a quick introduction was the extent of our communication. At the end of the previous school year and my first relationship, she captured my attention. An end of year dance was thrown, and my friends dragged me to it on the pretense that I needed some “fun” to end the year on a good note. The dance was horrible and played ghastly music, so a group, including the two of us, decided to hang out on the town. I sat next to her in the car and found her surprisingly friendly and even intriguingly flirtatious. Not knowing her very well, dragging out of a spoiled relationship, and lacking much care about anything except for my summer trip at the time, I dismissed that night. When we returned to school and had our traditional Welcome Back Dance, I attended with lack of a better plan. Jana is a dancer. She dances each chance she gets and school dances were no exception, as I discovered. Unfortunately, my overly Caucasian body barred any chance I had at fancy footwork. But, Jana held firm to her convictions. She once told me, “Everyone can dance, even if only in your heart.” Her determination impressed me. To this day, I question if she had ulterior motives. This girl showed guts. She attempted to see past my image and treated me as any other friend. My cynicism and reputation failed to intimidate her. She patiently dealt with my awkwardness and didn’t injure my pride. Her greatest trait and one especially rare at our age: she didn’t care about the scrutiny of others. Jana threw herself out on the dance floor and had a marvelous time doing it. Her lessons fairly succeeded and by the end of the night I suppose my movement slightly resembled dancing. I enjoyed the schooling process and trusted she did as well. Presuming my feelings were reciprocated, I asked her on a date the following weekend. Initially, the anxiety returned. However as our date progressed, my hypothesis proved to be erred. Conversation went smoothly. I picked up the signs well enough. Jana appreciated mild display of affection and fit comfortably next to me. She actually kissed me first, again girl with guts. The awkwardness quickly subsided.
After I learned more about her and confirmed my feelings, Jana became my girlfriend. Three wonderful months passed and Christmas rolled around. The night we celebrated I felt elated just being able to hold her in my arms. Unfortunately though, I was sick the rest of break and we didn’t see each other. As school started back up my schedule became crazy. Once again the second semester took its toll upon my motivation. School began to bog me down and my mood soured. I had several weekends booked in a row and all of it just seemed exhausting. To top it off the reality of how quickly the end of our high school careers was approaching hit me hard. I was even in danger of losing my class rank. However, in all of my ignorant self-pitying, I failed to realize I was losing Jana. Now that I look back, I could have kicked myself. Had I have been her just trying to cheer me up and be there for me while I bitched over my inane upper-class white boy oppression and continually brushed her off, I’d have left me. I realize now that she had bad days too, yet when I saw her she attempted to shrug it off. She tried to let me know that she cared and I would just walk away. Back then it didn’t occur to me that I injured her feelings. All I cared about was that my day had been bad, I had hours of work ahead of me, and that the next day I would repeat the same monotony all over again. I had no idea that all those times I left without giving her a hug, or at least a smile, she just went home hurt and I was slowly but surely pushing her over the edge. Then finally, she unloaded on me. I didn’t even recognize this person yelling and overwhelming me with all of her emotions. I never even saw it coming. She never even told me she was upset, yet with my awful disposition I can now understand why she avoided confronting me. Jana had always tried to show me her pleasant side. This time she told me everything. The conversation still rings in my ears.
“I’m tired of being ignored. I’m sorry that you have problems, but wake up! Everyone does! I tried to be there for you, and give you time and space to sort things out, but I can’t anymore. I don’t understand when your feelings for me changed, but the least you could have done was inform me that you’ve lost interest. You told me at the beginning that though you had many priorities, I could trust that I was one of them. I wanted to believe that you were telling the truth. I trusted my feelings to you and you brushed them aside. You should know by now that I have never asked to be spoiled or fawned over. All I ever wanted was someone to enjoy my time with and know that they valued me as highly. Was five minutes of your day for just a phone call to let me know you thought of me too much to ask? Or even worse, do you not think of me at all? Am I not worth impressing anymore? If you thought a relationship is having someone you could use when it was convenient and drop while you’re busy, then I was truly a fool. I’ve always been afraid of damaging your pride because I know that you can’t tolerate that, but I’ve had enough. You were wonderful when you tried, but you stopped trying. I just sat there hoping that you would change and I would become important to you again. It’s hard being brushed off, but it’s even harder watching your sister, who doesn’t try near as hard to understand her boyfriend, be pampered and loved; then, watching a best friend just starting a relationship, wishing that you were that attentive to me still. All those times I would walk in on her talking on the phone with her boy for the third or fourth time that day and wonder why you didn’t even think of me once, I felt like firing off at you. But, I held all of it in, knowing that you were just going through a hard time and needed my support. I’m sorry, but I can’t just be there for you anymore. I really loved being together with you, but you kept getting busy or getting sick. I guess I wasn’t worth it to you to just to fight a cold for, or drop by for an hour and see me dance when you couldn’t take me out during the weekend, or call once in awhile and actually have a sweet conversation. Even in spite of being hurt when you didn’t call, I would still call you because I wanted to hear your voice. But maybe you just have too much on your platter, so I’m going to help you out. Here is one thing that you don’t have to worry about anymore. Good luck with the rest of it.” By that point she was in tears and I could barely make out her words. All I could do was stare at her dumbfounded. She was right; I really had been too pathetic to notice.
After I somewhat collected myself, anger overcame me. She didn’t even warn me. How dare she scream at me like that? How could I have messed up so much all of the sudden, me, the one who always had all the answers? Initially, my pride blinded me to how much she had cared. She had been so hurt because she truly cared for me. I realized this after my childish resentment subsided. I had been wrong. The impact of that truth is crushing. It confronted me with such a power that I was taken as someone suddenly disillusioned to the worst image of oneself. How could I have lost someone who had trusted her feelings with me? She cared so much as to be delicate with my pride. She never had anything, but a smile for me. Even if she had other problems, she never let me feel that I had let her down. Now, I know that I did. The side of her that I knew was great. She had an odd passion for optimism and life. Jana always looked at the positive side even sarcastically sometime. She even worked hard. I thought my plate with school, band, family, and college was so taxing. She might have had an easier school schedule, but she put so much effort into the classes she enjoyed. She had the creativity for journalism and the dedication for calculus. Even after classes at school she went to hours of dance classes, college courses, or work. She did homework until late and then got up for school. Granted her school day started later, but her day continued past school. She doesn’t have a mother on her case that drags her out of bed, yet she never missed a class. As our relationship neared its end it became more and more difficult for her to maintain her stress with competition season around the corner. Late night practices and weekend competitions loomed ahead of her as well as college acceptance. Getting into college was even a greater worry for her being that she didn’t have my credentials. I can't believe how unsupportive I was after she had put up with me through marching season and even managed to come to every football game to cheer me on. To top that off, her family seemed crazier than my own. I only have to deal with my mother on my case all of the time. Her mother is hard on both of the girls. I couldn’t imagine how awful she felt seeing her sister, who never showed the same respect for the opposite sex, being spoiled and indulged. How dare I complain and be so pessimistic, when she could be so optimistic? She wasn’t the fool, I was. I realize now how much she needed my support and how I foolishly just added to her problems and distress. I missed out on a great girl who would have danced the night away with me or merely hold me close and make me feel like all my problems melted away. In spite of my pride’s attempts to make me hate her for humiliating me, I still was fascinated by the amazing woman I never truly saw. If I could do it all over, I would try to recognize her brilliance and pay her the attention she deserves. Now, all I could do is apologize. I didn’t expect her to trust me again, I would have been so lucky if she even spoke to me again, but I still wished I could have made it up to her. I only hope that I didn’t ruin that wonderful young woman who loved so freely and her amazing gift to see the good in life. Luckily, Jana is a better and stronger person than I. Despite my cold disposition her warmth still kindled though somewhat smothered. After a few persistent attempts I managed to get her to hear out my explanation. I didn’t expect her to forgive me in the least, but at least to understand that I didn’t mean to hurt her. I tried to show her I understood that she deserved more and would try to provide that for her. By some great miracle, she accepted my apology and though she probably won’t ever be able to fully forgive me, she’s willing to give me a second chance. It’s hard admitting failure, but being endangered of losing her affirmed how much she meant to me. Please for all of the other ones out there who haven’t really looked to see how much you have, don’t take them for granted. Providence taught me humility and appreciation through one amazing young lady and these lessons have pricked deep enough to leave a lasting impression.
Now there is not an obligation but rather an inclination to call her, speak to her, or just to hear her voice. Jana’s animated attitude, devotion, intelligence, and other qualities truly distinguish her from others. Truly, it isn't the need for attention or just a physical attraction. I am addicted to her personality. She is beautiful from the inside out. So thanks Jana. This is for teaching me not to take the good in others for granted or suppress the good in myself. I hope you know that you are the reason my heart dances.