I woke up to the sun hitting my face. The curtains were slightly blowing from the morning breeze. I rubbed the sleepiness out of my eyes and turned around to face the other side of the bed. I see him laying there, under the mountain of blankets. I slowly pulled them away from his face to see him.
He wasn’t there, and I panic.
I wake up when I hear the alarm go off on my nightstand. I looked around my room frantically, not realizing that it was just me in my room. These fucking dreams again? I threw the covers off of my body and got it out of bed. I checked the time on my phone; it was 9AM. You definitely need coffee.
Before reaching for my glasses on my nightstand, I see the piece of paper that I left there last night. I can’t help but feel the last couple of months flash before my eyes. I never would’ve thought that the worries and life I had back in New York would carry here in Cali. It’s like the higher-ups in life just don’t want to give me a break.
My phone ringing is what got me out of my thoughts. I look down and see it was my mom.
“Hey mom,” I answered. I tried to kill, like, 5 birds with one stone by getting ready and still talking to my mother. What the hell is she even doing up? Isn’t it like 6AM in New York?
“Morning, Gracie,” she responded back. “I have that information you needed for the studio.” When I left New York, I told my mother that I wanted her to run the studio while I was gone. Let’s be honest: my mom was more passionate about the studio than I was. She practically grew up in that studio, and I could tell deep down that she really wanted to help run the business. I’m grateful for her passion for the craft; sometimes I feel like I have no passion for anything, not the way other people have it.
“Oh good, how’s everything going?” I asked as I hopped into my overall shorts.
“Things are going as planned; the recital for the end of school show is starting to look like a real dance,” Mom stated. “We will probably hold auditions after the 4th of July for incoming dancers for the Fall,” she continued. I’m listening as I brush out my very knotty hair. “How’s everything going with you? Your dad and I miss you.”
“I’m fine,” I responded quickly, not really wanting to get into this at this time. Or ever. “I’m getting ready for work, and then I have practice tonight.”
“Busy day ahead for you, huh?” my mom teased. I rolled my eyes as if she could see me do so. In some weird way, she knows when I do.
“I just try to stay as busy as possible,” I said as I slipped on my shoes while sitting on my bed.
“You and me both, kid,” my mom laughed. “Well, your father and I are going out for breakfast today, I’ll text you the practice video when I record it later.”
“Alright, have a good day. Tell dad I said hi.” I said.
“Will do; bye, sweetie!” The phone line went dead after we said our goodbyes. I look at myself in the mirror, trying to get myself together before I walk downstairs and see Skylar. Skylar was a handful, needless to say. My uncle, Mason, told me that Skylar lived here in the Bay Area of Cali a couple of months before I left New York. Uncle Mason was relieved knowing that someone would be watching over her, considering she was fresh out of college and on the “wild” side. Skylar, despite being in her “do whatever I want and can” phase, she’s been a pretty cool roommate. Since I was an only child growing up, Skylar was like a little sister to me, and no matter what, we always had each other’s backs.
I see the time on my phone and realize I’m running a little late. I grabbed my bag and exit my room, heading downstairs.
Skylar is sitting on the sofa, flipping through the channels on the TV, drinking the biggest cup of iced coffee I’ve possibly seen. She looks at me for a moment and then looks back towards the TV.
“You’re leaving already?” Skylar asked. I grab my dance bag from the floor next to the front door, getting ready to depart.
“Yep, today I have practice,” I began to say. “Please no strange boys in the house, Sky.” I looked back up to Skylar, who looks at me as if she is offended at what I said.
“I don’t bring strange boys home,” Skylar argued.
“My bad, I meant weirdos,” I continued. Skylar rolled her eyes and went back to doing what she was doing.
“Whatever, mom,” Skylar responded. Between the two of us, I am definitely the responsible one. Me? Responsible? I know, it shocks me too. “What time are you getting home?”
Before I open the door, I turn around one last time towards Skylar.
“Don’t know, so make your plans strategic this time around,” I smiled and left the condo. Another day, another dollar.
I grabbed my bike from the building’s parking lot and ride my way to work. Driving in Cali literally doesn’t exist. I thought driving in NYC was bad until I came to Cali. I invested in getting a bike because it saves me the little money I make, and gas prices are literally insane here. And I mean, the weather is always nice here, so why not just ride my bike? I get on my bike and begin to ride. The wind goes through my hair as I pedal; these rides to work in the morning are possibly the highlight of most of my days.
I lock up my bike on a pole in front of the studio before entering it. I walked to the front desk, in which Eduardo greets me.
“Hey, Miss Grace!” he smiles and says. I smile back, greeting him as well.
“Good Morning, Eduardo,” I politely answered back.
“Studio 25; correct?” Eduardo asks as he grabs the key for the studio. I take it from him and thank him once again before heading to the studio. The studio space is small, but I tend to make ends meet here. I open the storage closet and see my video setup for the choreography videos I record for the studio back home.
“Almost ready?” A man’s voice is heard next to the studio door. I look over at him, smiling and inviting him in.
“Ready as can be,” I said as he wrapped his arms around my body. I look back up at him, who is looking down at me with reassurance.
“You got this, jagiya,” Jamie softly said.
As I set up, I can’t help but think about last night at the cafe. A part of me still believes it was some sort of fever dream I was experiencing; maybe I didn’t drink enough water or something. Jamie just looked like a different man. When we first met back all those years ago, he looked smaller, younger; he kinda had this naive look in his face when he first came to New York. Now, he looks older, bigger; he still had some light behind his eyes, but he definitely looks like he has his guard up. He looked… sexy with his blue black hair and the little tan he has on his skin. It was a sight I didn’t think would look that good on someone like Jamie. Despite that, he just feels different… like he’s not the Jamie I once knew.
But, why am I surprised? Mad shit had happened between us since we first met, and I know it could take a roll on even the nicest person on the world. I could understand his hesistancy when he saw me. I definitely can.
I turned on the video camera in front of me and wait for the students to join into the video call. “Hey guys!” I greeted the students coming into the call. “Make sure to warm up for 10 minutes and we will get you guys started for this new choreo I got planned for you.”
I wanted to still teach those who come to the dance academy. I still wanted to create dances and still do my job in a sense, I just didn’t want to be in New York anymore.
I got to my job at the cafe around 7, and of course Sharon is already on her bullshit. I took this job because it was a simple one, plus it allowed me to do what I wanted to do during the day, and then make a little bit of money at night. I also just wanted an excuse to be on the boardwalk all the time, but shit, Sharon will suck the fun out of anything around her.
“Nice for you to come tonight, Grace,” Sharon said. I went to the back to drop off my things and get an apron on.
“It’s literally 7:03, I’m here,” I answered. I tried to walk past Sharon and begin my shift of the night, but Sharon stops me midway out to the cafe area.
“Grace, I wanted to talk to you about your shift last night. This is a classy cafe for people to come in and enjoy drinks and food…” I don’t understand what Sharon was saying, but then again; I don’t ever understand what the fuck Sharon is talking about half of the time. Sharon folded her arms and looked at me. “You’re not here to pick up numbers from tourists, you’re here to do your job.” Sharon walks away before I could even say anything back. It wasn’t even worth arguing with her… I mean, she just better not talk all crazy and fire me or some shit, because then she’s really going to get these hands.
I couldn’t help but worry that Jamie would come back to the cafe. Like, maybe I should just quit? Maybe it’s best if I just go somewhere else so that Jamie doesn’t keep coming back here. I mean, as much as I wanted that, I also found myself looking towards the cafe door whenever a customer entered. Maybe I was just overthinking this. Maybe Jamie moved on… he has every right to do so.
The thought instantly makes me focus on the cafe at the moment; it was just better to not think about things that will just hurt me in the end. This fucking blows.