The "Something" Series: Season 3

Getting Over Something to Get Under Something: A Grace Monologue.

The sun was setting on my first day here in Ulsan. I fell back onto the bed and exhaled loudly after taking out all of my belongings from my suitcases and putting them away. Even though this place was just temporary until we started the production next month, I knew that no matter where I stayed it was going to be permanent for the next year.

I sat up from my bed and looked around my room; the city at night surprisingly feels so similar to the city in America and it somewhat adds a level of comfort for me. Maybe I can never escape city life, no matter where I go. I looked at my phone for the time; I had about an hour to kill before I had to go to tonight’s rehearsal. It wasn’t until shortly after that I got a call on my phone; it was my mom. Isn’t it like 5 o’clock in the morning in New York?

“Hi, mom,” I answered the phone getting up from the bed to gather my stuff for rehearsal.

“Someone forgot to call when they landed,” my mom pointed out. I couldn’t help but smile at her response; sometimes I forget that she has motherly tendencies with me.

“Sorry,” I began to say. “Check-in was crazy and I just wanted to relax before rehearsal tonight.”

“They have you guys going to rehearsal already?” my mom asked, shocked. “They gave us at least 24 hours when I was a part of the production.”

“Yeah, well that was back in the old days,” I teased. “When was that; in 2023?”

“I was 15 in 2023, smartass,” she corrected me. I couldn’t help but laugh; it was nice to finally feel like I can talk to my mother and joke around with her. Maybe it was because she’s the only one that understands the position I’m currently in. “How are you adjusting to everything though? They don’t have you living in a shoe box?”

“No, mom,” I answered. “They have us at this hotel before we move into our apartments,” I placed my phone on the table and put my mother on speaker as I got ready.

“Did you eat anything yet?” my mom asked. I rolled my eyes at her question; I already know where this was going.

“I’m going to get something after rehearsal,” I answered, looking at myself in the wall mirror. “I had a couple of snacks on the plane.”

“Grace,” my mom simply said. Here goes the “mom scolding” thing she likes to do nowadays. “You’re going to rehearsal on an empty stomach. You need to eat something.” I know that my mom worries the most about my eating habits; it was something she also struggled with when she was a dancer in her younger days. Ever since Skylar told my mom about me not eating for the first couple of weeks during my time in California, she’s been on my case about eating. When I was in New York for the short time, I stayed with my parents and my mom made it apparent that she was going to make me eat like a regular person. I’m trying, I really am, but this is just a habit that doesn’t go away overnight, especially when I’m rehearsing for one of the biggest productions of my dance career.

“I will, mom, ” I said, trying to change the subject of this conversation. I suddenly hear a knock on my door. I walk towards it, still talking to my mom on the phone. “Plus, I hear that Korean food is like some of the best food to have.” I open the door and see Aimee standing there. I invite her into my room, walking back to where my cell phone is.

“Well you better eat something before your damn rehearsal, Grace,” my mom sternly says. “I’m not there to make you eat when you need to eat!” I look at Aimee, who looks at me with her arms crossed along her chest. Oh boy.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Ashmore,” Aimee begins to say. “Maurice and I will make sure she eats.” I can feel my face get hot. If there’s one thing that I wish never happened, it would be the moment that I brought Maurice and Aimee over for dinner after a rehearsal one night and noticed that I barely didn’t have anything on my plate. Of course, my mother had to bring it up in front of them.

“Hi, Aimee,” my mom’s tone completely shifts. “Thank you for looking after Grace!” I sighed loudly, I walked away from my phone and continued to get ready for rehearsal. 30 years old, and yet I’m still being treated like a child in one way or another.

“Okay mom, I gotta get going; I’ll talk to you later if I’m up,” I said, trying to end the conversation right then and there. I take my mom off of speaker and placed the phone near my ear. “Yes mom, I love you too. Have a good day,” I said and quickly hung up. I looked at Aimee, who then started laughing. “What?”

“Your mom will be a mom no matter where you are in the world,” Aimee stated, as she walked toward the small table in the room and takes a seat. “But speaking of eating; how about you obey mother’s commands and go and eat with Sahim after rehearsal?”

“Why are you on this agenda to get me to go out with him?” I asked, a little annoyed. “I thought you would be more understanding than Maurice about this.”

“The only thing I understand is that Sahim is a great catch and you’re letting a good opportunity go to waste,” Aimee emphasized.

“Then you go out with him,” I said, wanting to just end this conversation and get ready for rehearsal.

“Oh you know I wouldn’t pass on a free dinner,” Aimee laughed. “But sadly, all that Sahim wants to eat is you.” I looked at Aimee, a little disgusted. “Sorry, I meant ‘eat with’.”

“You’ve been hanging out with Maurice for too long, ” I mentioned. Aimee gets up from the seat and grabs me by the shoulders to grab my attention.

“Girl,” Aimee said in a more serious tone. “I don’t know what’s holding you back from just having dinner with this man, but whatever it is, you gotta stop letting it control your life.” She walks me in front of the wall mirror and turns me around to face myself. “You deserve to have fun and to make experiences in your time here. Whoever, or whatever, is holding you back from doing so isn’t deserving of you.” I look at myself in the mirror in my sweatpants, sneakers, and over-sized sweater. My hair is in a messy bun and if there’s any sort of makeup on my face, it’s been on my face for longer than it should’ve been. I turned around to look at Aimee. Having Aimee as a friend was different than any other friend I had. She was never pushy, and she understood a lot of the anxiety I had regarding the production as a dancer. If anyone knew how hard it was to balance a social life with this career choice, it would be her. Aimee was only ever “pushy” when she felt strongly about something. I trusted Aimee, yet she doesn’t know anything about my past before this production; all she knew was that I had a daughter and a mother who was well-known in the dance community.

“Look, I think Sahim is a great guy,” I began to say. I wasn’t lying; I enjoyed hanging out with Sahim with the little time we both had. It made the time pass in a way that I haven’t felt in a really long time, and that’s what scares me the most. What if I actually like Sahim more than I’m leading onto? What if I’m giving Sahim the wrong impression? What if Sahim actually likes me? “But it’s more complicated than what it really is.”

“So there’s an ex I have to fight, or?” Aimee said, balling up her fists together. I chuckled, appreciating Aimee not making this conversation too sappy.

“No, no, nothing like that,” I answered. “I’m just afraid of ruining a perfectly good friendship.” I was hoping Aimee would buy what I was saying. I wasn’t to admit that there was an ex that is holding me back from going through this whole mess again, but more so I was afraid of allowing another man that close to me again. What are the odds I mess up a perfectly good man again? Sahim is better off with someone else that wasn’t me.

Aimee cocks an eyebrow; she doesn’t believe a word I’m saying, but she doesn’t push me any further. She grabs her rehearsal bag from the small table, getting ready for us to leave.

“Whatever the real answer is, Grace, you deserve to move on with your life,” Aimee stated. “You said it yourself that Sahim is a great guy, which tells me that you’ve thought of him as more than ‘just friends.'” Aimee turns around and waits for me to grab my bag from the bed. Before we both walk out of my room, Aimee looks at me. “The only thing holding you back from moving on is yourself.” Aimee turns around and starts to walk down the hotel hallway. I sighed, locking the door behind me.

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