The "Something" Series: Season 2

Step On Up For Something: A Grace Monologue.

I laughed as I stood in a small circle around my friends at the surprise birthday party they threw for my 30th birthday. Cami had immediately put a “Birthday Girl” sash over my body once we entered the venue. Emerson had a drink ready for me, which I kindly dumped out when he wasn’t looking.

“You’re about to be lit for your dirty 30’s girl,” Cami shouted over the loud music as we all spoke. I smiled and was so thankful that even with the mess everything is in my life, there were some core things in it that remained the same.

I met Emerson when I came to New York for the first time with my dad when I was 17. We were in the same elective class, and we just so happened to talk to each other and become friends in the short amount of time we knew each other. As I got older, I learned that Emerson is my Aunt Jennifer’s grandson, so technically we are related in some way or another. I look over at Emerson, who has his arm around Cami as they talk to the other people at the party. I just hope they get married one day; they were meant for each other.

I feel someone tap my shoulder. I turned around to see it was Scott. I smiled and gave him a hug to greet him.

“Scott! Hey!” I greeted him as I broke the hug. He smiled as he approached me; I was happy to have him here tonight.

“Hey, Grace,” Scott said back. “Happy Birthday! Were you surprised?”

“Oh yeah,” I answered. “Cami had this huge lie planned out that she was secretly hanging out with you and Em didn’t know.” Scott’s eyes widen; clearly, he wasn’t in on the scheme.

“Emerson was in on it? Because if he wasn’t–“

“Oh no, he was,” I reassured Scott. “You and I both know that he loves that girl to death.” It was nice to see someone in my life actually happy with someone they loved. I look at Scott and smile as he speaks. I’m constantly reminded that this man was my high school sweetheart, and here we are now as adults genuinely happy for the paths that we are on.

“So, have you heard back from that company after your audition?” Scott asked. I shook my head no.

“It’s been a couple of weeks as well, so I doubt that I made it in,” I answered. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing nothing but look down at my phone everytime it rang or vibrated in my hand. The wait was making me anxious. I was worried that maybe my time was truly up; I’m literally standing in a venue celebrating my 30th birthday; what would anyone want from a dancer that is way past their prime in thier career? Maybe I should just stay in New York and go back running the academy. Maybe I was just meant to teach dance or manage a business related to dance, but I know a part of me knows that’s still not enough. But, as the weeks pass, the more I accept that maybe this is the end for me as a performer. That’s depressing to think on the day that you enter a new decade of your life.

“Let me buy you a drink,” Scott insisted. I didn’t say anything, and I don’t know why I haven’t said anything to anyone about my sobriety. We are literally in a venue with a bar; I guess it would’ve been weird to tell my friends “yeah, I don’t drink, but it’s cool that you chose a venue with a bar to celebrate my birthday in!” Scott walks to the bar and orders two drinks. I get nervous, trying to think of ways I can take the drink and dump it without anyone seeing me. It was exhausting to have to accept drinks with people thinking you are drinking them and having a good time. I wouldn’t risk my recovery though; not after almost losing everything dear to me–

Well, after losing something dear to me. I refused to allow anything else i loved slip through my fingers because of my alcohol problem.

Scott came back and handed me the drink. The alcohol smell nearly made me nauseous. I smiled through it, trying to hide my anxiety from Scott. He raises his glass, ready to give a toast of some sort.

“To wherever like takes you in your 30’s,” Scott said out loud. I raised my glass and cheered with him. He began to sip on his drink, looking at me as if he was waiting for me to do so. Fuck, Grace; how the fuck are you gonna get out of this one?

All of a sudden, my cellphone rings in my small purse. I look down and reached for it to look at the screen.

“Fuck, sorry I gotta take this; it’s my cousin,” I said. Scott shook his head and smiled.

“I’ll see you around, Grace,” Scott said as he walked away from me. I run towards the front of the venue so that i can actually hear and talk to Skylar on the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Happy birthday, bitch!” Skylar happily said over the phone. I smiled; it was refreshing to hear that Skylar’s been in a good place after everything that happened in the summer.

“Thanks, Sky,” I responded. “How are you holding up? Everything’s going good over there?” Skylar laughs before she says anything back.

“Oh like you don’t know,” Skylar said slyly. I scrunched my eyebrows together and placed the drink on the bench next to me.

“What?” I asked, not understanding where Skylar was taking this conversation.

“I just wanted to call you to wish you a happy birthday, but I definitely don’t want to take away your time with you-know-who,” Skylar went on to explain. I was now confused; Skylar was not making any sense to me.

“Sky, what are you talking about?” The line went silent. I think Skylar finally realized I didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Did he not get to you or something?” Sky asked. I was losing patience for Skylar’s cryptic language. I didn’t say anything until she continued. “I thought… I thought he went to you.”


“Jamie,” Skylar finally admitted. I haven’t heard that name or had anyone around me say his name in the time I was in New York. I didn’t expect Skylar of all people to mention his name after everything that happened in California.

“Why would he be in New York?” I asked, anxiously waiting for her answer. I heard Skylar sigh into the phone. “Sky?”

“I’m sorry, I thought when Shawn came to California, Jamie would’ve went to New York–“

“Wait, hold on,” I interrupted Skylar, trying to understanding what was even happening. “Shawn?”

“Yeah, I thought you knew that already. Shawn came to California a couple of weeks ago. He’s staying. He’s looking to get all the paperwork done and stuff to live in America. We’re… working things out,” Skylar confessed. My mind did not process everything that was being said to me. I didn’t know Shawn was coming back for good, and I know Skylar’s the reason he came back. It hasn’t even been three months since they left to go back home, yet Shawn didn’t even hesitate to come back to America. Shawn came back for Skylar because he loves her. I squeezed my eyes shut, wanting nothing but to disappear and never have to have this conversation again. “I’m sorry, I… really thought Jamie was going to New York when Shawn came to California.”

“Listen, Sky; I’m actually out with my friends for my birthday, so I’ll talk to you when I get the chance,” I simply responded. I didn’t want to get into it any further with Skylar and quite frankly, I didn’t want to hear how happy Skylar was. She sounded like she had the whole world in her hands; she technically did if that world was Shawn back in America. How easy was it for him to make the decision to come back to America to be with the woman he loves? Did he go back to Korea and immediately knew he wanted to be with her? Is that what a man does for a woman when he loves her and wants to be with her? Was I just not able to be loved the way that Shawn loves Skylar? I felt sick to my stomach.

I grew angrier the more I thought about it. I was jealous of Skylar. She had her heart broken for 2 months before he went back for her and told her he was now staying for her. She sat with her broken heart and got it out back together, and here I was; traumatized at anyone leaving my life because the person I loved,; the person I thought loved me back, kept leaving for months, even years on end. A man will go after what he loves if he really loved it to begin with.

I looked at the drink next to me, still there just waiting for me to drink it. What’s the fucking point? My life was never meant to be stable; it never was stable to begin with, so why keep trying to make it stable. I grabbed the drink from the bench and swirled it around. You’ll forget tonight even happened, Grace. You’ll forget that you know that Jamie never loved you enough to come back for you, even after he knew it destroyed you.

Before I’m able to taste the alcohol hit my lips, my phone rings again. I stop, looking down at my phone to a phone call from Morgan, my dance instructor from California.

“Hello?” I answered the phone.

“Grace!” Morgan called out. “I apologize if I’m calling you at the wrong time, but I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to let you know this.” I waited for Morgan to tell me whatever she needed to tell me so that I can spend the rest of my night breaking my sobriety; one that only Jamie really knows about. It kills me he’s the only one that knows just how important my sobriety has been to me. Fuck it.

“You got picked for the production,” Morgan spat out. “You’re going to be a part of the biggest dance production in the world, Grace!”

I dumped the drink into the bush behind the bench.

End of Season 2 —

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Worthy of 30: A Grace Monologue.

When I turned 20, I decided to leave Julliard to pursue law. I went to my classes every single day and felt like I didn’t belong. There were better dancers than me, and there were dancers that wanted it more than me. In a way, I felt like I was taking a spot away from another dancer that lives and breathes that shit. My father, who was now living in New York after transferring from his job, was excited about my career change. He questioned where this interest for the justice system came from, but nevertheless, he was happy that his only child would follow the path he took. My mother; not so much.

My mother was disappointed. She didn’t voice out that she was disappointed, but she definitely felt different when I came home from my classes and told her that I have to study judicial cases and not new ballet positions. She only warmed up to be becoming a lawyer when I was working on my first intern case, where I met Max. I wonder if she only warmed up to it because I was happy for that period of time. Maybe she thought that I had gotten my life together and if it would be different for me.

Instead, I am sitting in Max’s house, about to be 30, and sitting directly from his soon-to-be wife as my daughter runs from upstairs with Max, happy to see me after a long time.

“Mommy!” Willow happily calls out as she runs towards me. I put on the biggest smile and give her a hug.

“Willie!” I called out in response. Maybe it was because Willow was still a young child, but she hands down gives the best hugs I ever had gotten. They make me feel the warmest, and for a split second all of my doubts and worries vanish. Willow steps back from the hug and reveals what she was hiding behind her back.

“I made this for you, Mommy,” Willow said as she held out a piece of paper folded in half, resembling a birthday card. I take the card and look at it; it was a “Happy Birthday” card that she had made out of construction paper and tons of glitter. I smile, looking at the stick figures on the page. Willow points at them, naming who is who. “That’s Daddy, Mariam, me, and you!” I look up at Max and Mariam and smile. Max smiles back, but Mariam begins to speak.

“I told her she didn’t need to put me on there–“

“It’s fine,” I cut off Mariam. “You are a part of her family.” Mariam smiles, and for once I smile back at Mariam. She’s been amazing with Willow, and I’m thankful that she still feels the need to include me in holiday gatherings with her, Max, and Willow. I think Max truly found his soulmate with Mariam. She balances him out perfectly, and that’s what Max always wanted; was to have balance.

“Do you have any plans for your birthday tomorrow?” Max asked.

“Emerson and Cami invited me over for a game night,” I answered.

“That should be fun,” Mariam chimed in. “It would be fun to go out with your friends and have a couple of drinks!” I looked at her, now uncomfortable with the conversation. I don’t know why I expect everyone to know that I’m sober. No one knows besides Skylar. And Jamie.

Skylar took my sobriety seriously until it began to hinder her young and carefree lifestyle. I still remember having arguments with her about it; she wanted to have alcohol in the house for the people she would bring over. She swore she was aware of my feelings and my struggles with alcohol, yet she would always include me in things that contradicted all of that, like that one night at The Voyage.

Once I told Jamie, it was like it was embedded in his memory that I was now sober. He made sure that anything he took me out to did not have alcohol involved. He always voiced out that we didn’t need any alcohol, especially in places where it was only appropriate to drink alcohol with your meals, like those fancy restaurants. I get sad thinking about Jamie, so I looked back at Mariam and smiled back.

“Yeah,” I simply answered.

“Emerson and his last-minute requests,” Cami said to herself, annoyed. “Like I told him to get the fucking cake after work yesterday, and what does he do? Fucking forget.”

“This is your sign that you should marry him,” I playfully say. Cami rolls her eyes as we walk down a block in Brooklyn. “I mean, you guys are already raising a tiny human together.”

“That is becoming like his dad every single day,” Cami emphasized. “But tonight’s not about me and Em’s fear of marriage; this is about your 30th birthday!” I scoffed and shook my head. Here I was in high heels, a dress, and my hair straightened by Cami since it’s her biggest wish to see me with straight hair… Cami was eccentric, to say it nicely.

We stop at this random place, not really knowing where we were. Cami turns around and looks at me.

“Okay, so Em doesn’t know this, but I typically stop here to… y’know,” Cami said in a cryptic way. My eyes widen, a little worried in what she will say next. “I figured we can have some drinks with my friend before we go to our place.”

“What the fuck?” I spat out, grabbing Cami’s shoulder. “Cami, are you cheating on Emerson?” Cami rolled her eyes at me, which only got me angrier.

“Girl, he’s a friend–“

“He?!” I emphasized. “This friend is a dude?”

“Grace, relax! For God’s sake, I’m allowed to have guy friends and be in a relationship,” Cami explained. “Scott’s been a cool friend to me–“

“Scott?!” I said even louder. If it is who she’s talking about, it’s Scott Campbell; longtime friend of Emerson’s and my ex-boyfriend from high school. “How fucking stupid do you gotta be to secretly see one of Emerson’s friends?!”

Cami knocks on the random door, in which I immediately panic.

“Cami! What the–“

The door opens and a crowd of people jumped out from various places in the room, yelling out surprise. I look around and see almost everyone I know here in New York; Emerson laughs and stands in one corner, a couple of our mutual friends from over the years cheer with excitement, and even Scott is on one side of the room, smiling and clapping his hands as his girlfriend stands next to him.

Emerson comes running in my direction and wraps his arm around Cami.

“Yo, Cami is a fucking actress,” I said and laughed. “I really was about to slap the shit out of you!”

“Funny thing is that it was Em’s idea,” Cami said as she looked up at Emerson. “He really knows how to grind your gears.” I punched Emerson on his arm, in which he winced in pain.

“What was that for?” Emerson genuinely asked.

“For literally being the best asshole of a friend,” I teased as more of our friends began to come up to me to wish me a happy birthday.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Similar to Mom: A Grace Monologue.

When my parents married again, I was just about to graduate college. I remember going to my last semester class, and then immediately rushing across the city to meet my mother at the bridal shop. It was weird to be a part of this experience, considering the first time they got married, I wasn’t even born yet. My dad would tell me stories about how my mom was so upset the dress she wanted to wear didn’t fit her because she was pregnant with me. I can only assume he reassured her and called her beautiful; I mean, she was, now looking at those pictures displayed in my parent’s house. My mother was definitely nervous about getting married that year. I would spend my nights studying for my exams and hear her talk on the phone, expressing her worries to her friends. Thinking back now, I can understand her nervousness having been in her place once before. But, my mother was lucky; she had my dad be the man she was going to marry and if I knew anything about my dad, it’s that he never stopped loving my mom, even after the first divorce. If only I can be so lucky to find a man that would never stop loving me, no matter the fuck-ups I make in life.

I look at all of the pictures on the wall my mom has traveled to in her younger years; Paris, Italy, Switzerland, and other places I couldn’t even recognize. My mom displays her most prestigious awards in a glass cabinet in the living room where all of these pictures are in. They look expensive, and they look heavy. Any awards I had when I was a teenager are now sitting in a box in storage, in my parent’s basement. Maybe when I settle into a new place in the future, I’ll be like my mom and display those awards.

My mom walks into the living room with some coffee for the both of us. I walk over to the sofa and sit next to her, sipping the coffee she had made.

“It’s definitely getting colder these days,” mom said. I looked at her, not saying anything back. My mom had a way of trying to fill in the silence with things that didn’t really matter, like the weather. I knew she wanted me to talk about what happened, or the audition; whichever one I decide to talk about first.

“Yeah, it is,” I said and placed the mug back on the coffee table. “Thank you for letting me say here with your and dad while I’m in New York.” My mom flashed a tight smile, looking at me with the look that she needed me to speak more.

“You know you are always welcomed here,” mom started to say before immediately getting straight to the point. “I can’t say for other people in your life.” It made me laugh; I seriously picked up my sass from this woman.

“Yeah, I never thought Ari would be one of those that didn’t,” I said, a little sad at the fact. “Like, it sucks when your best friend really isn’t your best friend, y’know? I thought Ari knew me.”

“She did know you. Ari came around during the time when you were a lawyer, dating Max, and pregnant with Willow. She knew who you were; it doesn’t sound like she knew who you are now and some people can’t take that.” mom said as she adjusted on the sofa. I wasn’t convinced.

“But Ari was in my life when everything changed, mom.”

“But from my understanding, that’s when you and Ari began to have issues in your friendship,” mom pointed out. “I had a friend like Ari once. Her name was Ronnie; we knew each other since middle school and we were inseparable for most of high school as well. When I started dating your dad during college, she just had problems with every little thing I did, especially when it came to my dance career. She pretty much told me I was a shitty person for putting my dreams before my relationship with your dad. Once I had you, she was literally the worst; called me a shitty mother during a fight we had before I left New York. Told me I shouldn’t have had kids if I was just going to up and leave anyway,” my mom paused before she continued. I could tell that even after all these years, that friendship hurt her the most. I worry my friendship with Ari will hurt me just as much as hers did when I get older.

“That’s what Ari said,” I admitted. “Ari called me a shitty mother for leaving Willow behind if I went for this audition.” None of us said anything after that, but something was eating me inside and I needed to know. “Do you also think I’m a shitty mom for leaving Willow?”

My mom look perplexed, if anything. I was nervous thinking that maybe Ari was right. My mom took a deep breath before answering.

“I can’t judge anyone on how they raise their children because I couldn’t raise my own,” mom admitted. “I can only judge the way I did things and at 30, I wasn’t thinking about me as a mom. I blocked that from my mind as hard as I could. I did block it from my mind.” My mom was an honest woman, even when she said things that would hurt. I know it was in the past, but sometimes my mother seems to forget that her leaving when I was baby still fucks with my head, yet she talks about it as if everything is healed because things are good with our family. I appreciated her honesty, but I sometimes wish she was more cautious on the things that were sensitive. She looked at me to see if I was still listening to her speak. I was, so she continued to say what was on her mind. “You are doing more than I ever did, and that counts for something.”

“Why does it never feel like that though?” I asked. “Why does it feel like I’m a shitty mother, and why does it feel like a fucking chore to be a mother when it’s time to be a mother? I love Willow with every piece of me, but–“

“Then that’s it,” mom interrupted. “You still show up and be her mom because you love her. That doesn’t make you a shitty mom and surely a woman who doesn’t have kids of her own can say anything about anyone else’s children.” I looked at my mom, who I used to call by her first name up until I was 22, when my parents got married. I wonder if she loved me when I was younger and if she did, would it mean that she would’ve stayed? I love Willow, but I didn’t stay.

I took a deep breath and decided to change the subject. “I’m just glad the audition finally happened. I swear I couldn’t even sleep well the nights leading up to it.” My mom smiled, which was a relief to finally get out of sensitive territory.

“How was it though?” mom asked as she sipped her coffee.

“It was intense, to say the least,” I answered. My mom laughed before she responded.

“Well, these are dancers that were scouted for this audition. They are the nest of the best. I was also really nervous when I went for the audition when I was younger. You come across the best of the best in these auditions.” My mom adjusted her body more towards me on the sofa; I can tell she really was interested in what I had to say about the audition. “When do you find out if you got out through or not?”

“I think they said two weeks,” I answered. leaning back on the sofa.

“Oh wow, just in time for your birthday, huh?” my mom teased. I rolled my eyes at her as she laughed. These were the moments that I enjoyed having with my mother. “I think you’re going to get it if Morgan’s right about your dancing.” I nodded, thinking back at my time in Morgan’s dance studio. I was definitely in my element every time I would clock out of work and head straight to the studio. I remember the feeling back when I was younger, just dancing in the studio after school without a care in the world, and when my only concern is what outfit I want to wear to what competition. Dancing again has reminded me just how much it’s become somewhat like therapy for me.

“We’ll see. It’ll be nice though.” I answered. My mom smiled at me and continued to sip her coffee. Simplicity in complicated creatures, just like my mom and I.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!, The "Something" Series: Season 2

Always Questioning Something: A Grace Monologue.

When I was in New York for the first time back when I was 17, I thought it was crazy to see snowfall before Christmas. That year, it snowed just a few days before Thanksgiving; I remember because it was before the audition for that year’s competition, and the first prize was a full scholarship to Julliard. I remember that was all that mattered to me at that moment. I remember I took the subway by myself for the first time since being in New York; my father had forbidden me from auditioning for the competition. I called Emerson to see if he can come with me, but he was too busy with his parents. I was nervous to call Scott, but I sucked it up and asked if he wanted to come with me. To my surprise, he said yes.

We both sat on the C train going Uptown, just passing Fulton Street. We sat in silence for what felt like hours when really, it was only 3 stops. Being 29, I know now that the A train makes the express stops in the city.

“So,” Scott began to say. I looked at him, nervous to talk to him. I don’t know why I was; we literally spoke every day in school with Emerson, but something about speaking to Scott Campbell on my own felt… scary. “What are you all dressed up for?” he finally asked.

“Oh, uhm,” I started as I looked down at my outfit. It was a sparkly dance ensemble with a flowy skirt; also sparkly. “It’s for an audition.”

“For like, a Broadway show?” Scott genuinely asked. I giggled, thinking that it was really cute of him to think that I was even a good enough dancer for Broadway.

“No, no… for a competition,” I corrected. I looked at Scott, thinking he was going to ask a million questions, because– well, let’s face it; I asked someone that I never hung out with outside of school to accompany me across the fucking borough because I didn’t know how to take the subway. “It’s for a scholarship to Julliard, and it’s–“

“For dance,” Scott finished. I looked at him, a little shocked that he knew. Did Emerson tell him? How did he know? “I, uhm… saw you practice after-school with Ms. Castro a couple of times,” I saw him swallow hard as his eyes widen. “I- I didn’t mean to watch or, like, knew you were always practicing, but…” I could tell Scott was nervous, but I couldn’t help but giggle.

“You would watch me dance?” I asked. Scott took a deep breath before finally answering.

“Yeah. You are hands down the best dancer in the school, and you’ve only been here for a couple of months,” he stated.

“You flatter me, but I am not that good of a dancer; not New York City good,” I responded back. He’s just being nice to you.

“Dude, I thought you were going to audition for a damn Broadway show!” Scott emphasized, and it made me laugh. It definitely took a lot of the edge I was feeling off. I was grateful Scott accompanied me to my audition that day.

I look down at my phone; I have exactly one hour before the audition begins in Uptown. I brush down my attire to make myself look clean and neat; two things I fail to be as a dancer, and in more of a literal sense: as a person. I took a deep breath before opening my eyes and finally seeing myself in the mirror. My hair is tied in a bun, my body shimmers in the sunlight from the glitter on my outfit, and my dirty sneakers to take to the audition, where I will take them off to put on my ballet shoes. Are we really doing this, Grace?

“Hey, girl,” I hear at the doorway of the room. I turn around and Ari’s there. She smiles and walks into the room to sit on the edge of the bed. “You look pretty.”

“Thanks, I feel like shit,” I responded. Ari scoffs as she adjusts herself in her seat. “Why did I think this was a good idea?” I questioned every little thing since the moment I got back to New York about two months ago. I questioned if I deserved to watch my daughter walk to her teacher for the first day of school. I questioned if those in my life; my parents, Max, Willow, Emerson, and even Ari should be mad at me for just disappearing and leaving New York for half a year. Why aren’t they mad at me? I would be pissed the fuck off if someone I cared about would just up and leave–

“Bitch, you deserve this,” Ari stated. “I mean, I’ve never seen you dance, but the way that your mom was so excited that you were doing this; like you must be a bomb ass dancer and you deserve to do what makes you happy. Plus, you’re back in New York, which means you get to spend some time with Willow–“

“You do know that if I get this gig, I’ll be practically spending a year overseas, right?” I asked. Ari’s expression completely changed. She didn’t know what was truly this audition.

“Well, where would you be going? Italy? London? Paris? Girl, imagining performing for Paris Fashion Week–“

“Ulsan.” I interrupted. Ari coked her eyebrow up; she clearly did not know where I was going.

“Bitch, where?” Ari asked.

“Ulsan, as in South Korea,” I finally answered. “The production is going to be in–“

“Grace,” Ari simply said. I looked at her, nervous about where this was going. Ari was visibly angry at me. Finally, someone is fucking angry at me. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No.” I simply said, back to Ari. Ari walked towards the door and closed it before saying anything else to me. She walked up to me, practically in my face. She was more than angry at me; she was livid.

“You’re trying to tell me that you left New York after getting your fucking heart broken by a man, who so happens to live in South Korea, go to California as some type of escape from reality, to then come back to New York with the sole purpose of coming back is to audition for a production that is going to be a year-long in Soth Korea; aka where the man that broke your fucking heart lives?” Ari was practically yelling at this point.

“For fuck’s sake, Ari; Jamie doesn’t own the entire fucking country,” I answered, annoyed at Ari’s lack of support. “I haven’t even seen him since I left New York,” I lied. Ari doesn’t know that for practically the entire summer, I spent it with Jamie in California. Ari doesn’t know that in some twisted way, I allowed Jamie back into my life for a whole summer, not realizing that with Jamie, it didn’t take long for me to remember why I loved him in the first place. Ari doesn’t know that, and it was pointless to bring it up now; I was never seeing Jamie again.

“You going there ups the chances of you rekindling something that is stale and burnt out,” Ari argued. It stung a bit when she called what I had with Jamie “burnt out”. I thought that was just something only Jamie and I felt. Why did it hurt hearing it come out from someone else? “Seriously Grace, I think this is a bad fucking idea.”

“Oh, so now it’s a bad idea when just minutes ago it was something I deserved,” I spat back at Ari. I hated when Ari did this; be a supportive friend, and then make me feel like an idiot when things don’t go the way she wants them to go.

“It was, but now you’re literally telling me you’re leaving New York, again, to go across the fucking world to dance in the country where your stupid fucking ex lives?! Seriously Grace, where the fuck are your priorities?!” I didn’t say anything; I just watched Ari pace back and forth in the room we were in. She finally stops and looks at me. “You’re being a shitty fuckin’ mother to Willow by doing this, Grace.”

I looked at Ari, remembering all of the times we’d had similar conversations in this apartment in the past. I remember Ari trying to convince me to work things out with Max right after I had Willow. We fought until she realized I was going to do what I wanted to do, and slowly we were able to work out our friendship again. The same exact thing happened when I quit the firm. The same thing happened when Jamie and I decided to work things out the last time he was in New York. The same thing happened when I didn’t tell Jamie about the abortion. Every decision I ever made in the time I’ve known Ari was questioned by her, and I fucking hated it. I always thought she did it because she truly had her best interest in my well-being. She was sometimes right in her concerns, but most of the time, she would just make me feel like absolute shit about anything that I did.

The one thing she never brought up was Willow. Sure, I had my moments when I could’ve been a better mother. I could’ve made my decisions with Willow in mind. I could’ve just been this stay-at-home mom and watched her grow into the little girl she is now. I could’ve done a lot of things in my differently, and Ari made me know that fact. But, she would never say anything about me as a mother and how I should be raising my daughter. I took a deep breath, thinking about my words.

“I’m… going to be late for my audition,” I began. I grabbed my bag, throwing it on my shoulder. “And when I’m done with that, I will come back and pack my things.” I looked at Ari, trying hard to not let my emotions read all over my face. Ari scrunched her eyebrows together, looking genuinely confused.

“Are you serious?” Ari asked.

“Yeah, Ari. I’m serious,” I sternly said. “I’m going to stay with my parents while I’m here in New York.” Ari’s response was a condescending laugh. Maybe I was too young and blindsided to see this in the past, but I see it clearly now: Ari is nothing but a mean girl.

“Here you go again, running away from the truth,” Ari got up from her seat. “Seriously, girl, aren’t you tired of running? Like you’re about to be 30 years old, Grace. Grow the fuck up and deal with your shit head-on like a real adult.”

“I’m not getting in this with you,” I said, calmly. I realized that whenever I would react to Ari’s “tough love”, it would feed into this cynical side of her that felt like she was staying the truth. “So, I’m leaving for the audition, and then I’m leaving your apartment, and I’m leaving this friendship.” I passed Ari as I walked out the door. Before I walked out the apartment, she came out of the room we were in and in typical Ari fashion, began shouting.

“This is your problem, Grace! You can’t keep anyone or anything in your life because you think life fucking owes you an apology for your shitty life up until now,” I turned around to look at Ari. In the corner of my eye, I saw Dean take the headphones off his head from the living room to see what was going on. “You need someone to constantly tell you that your decisions are shitty and that you aren’t capable of keeping anything good in your life because you always go and fuck it up!”

“Is that what you really think of me, Ari?” I spat back. “You think being a shitty friend to me is actually something I need?”

“If you think I’m being a shitty friend–“

“You are a shitty friend,” I interrupted. Ari began to walk in my direction, and Dean finally got up from the sofa to calm Ari down.

“Fuck you, Grace! This is the thanks I get for helping you out all these times you literally had no one in your life because you fucked them over?!” Ari was yelling over Dean. I tried so hard to not let her words hurt me. I blinked before exhaling.

“Bye, Ari. I’m sorry, Dean,” I said before turning around and opening the front door to her apartment. I walked out and closed the door behind me; closing the door on yet another chapter of my life. I’m always questioning if I’m doing the right thing.

The "Something" Series: Season 2, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2022

Something I Couldn’t Do: A Jamie Monologue.

The rain has gotten heavier these past couple of days since the seasons are changing. The leaves that fall from the trees have been drenched in rain; stuck on the streets, not getting a chance to dry up and blow away in the wind.

When I first arrived back in Korea, I couldn’t sleep for three days straight. My sisters kept questioning me by constantly calling my cell phone to check on me. After the first 10 calls, I forwarded them all to voicemail. Shawn went back to his apartment in Incheon; Kevin went to Seoul to be with JooAh at her apartment. They haven’t spoken to each other since leaving America, which worries me. They had arguments in the past, but they were always close enough friends to work things out. It makes me worried for Shawn; this wasn’t like him to keep a grudge or be so serious about something like this. It proves my point that he was truly in love with Skylar. Is.

On this particular night, I keep tossing and turning in my bed; uncomfortable. After a couple of failed attempts, I throw the sheets off my body and look at the window, watching the rain hit the glass and drip down.

It was only when I heard a knock on my front door that made me turn my head away from it.

I slowly get out of bed and grabbed my robe from behind my bedroom door. The knocks get louder as I walk closer to it. I opened the door, expecting it to be the landlord or a neighbor of some sort. Instead, it was Shawn. He stood in the hallway with an umbrella in one hand, dripping on the carpet in the hallway. His raincoat is soaked with rain; the hood is over his head.

“Shawn,” I huffed. I turned my head around to see the clock on the wall; it reads 3:45 in the morning. “It’s the middle of the night; what are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t sleep,” he simply answered. I sighed and opened the door for him to walk in. At the door, I take his rainwear and put them in the bathroom to let them dry off. When I got back to the living room, Shawn stood in the middle of it. Again, this wasn’t like Shawn to act this way. He turned around the look at me. I simply pointed my hand towards the couch.

“You could sleep on the couch,” I said as I slowly dragged my feet away from the living room, walking towards the bedroom.

“Hyung,” Shawn called out. I turned around and raised my eyebrows to answer him. Shawn picked at his hands; he was clearly nervous about something.

“What is it, Shawn?” I answered, coming off a little too harsh. This wasn’t the first time Shawn has come to my apartment unannounced in the middle of the night. Normally, he would quietly lay on the couch, and then he was gone before I woke up the next morning. I understand; maybe seeing Kevin’s stuff still in their apartment was making him even more angry or upset at the situation, but Shawn needs to learn how to pick his life back up and do what he was doing before going to California. I need Shawn to just makeup with Kevin, be his spontaneous self, and let the world feel right again for once.

“I’m not happy being back in Korea,” Shawn said. “I feel more of a foreigner here than I did in America. Why is that?” Because you found a home in a person. I walk back toward the couch and sit next to Shawn. He hasn’t moved or even looked anywhere else but forward; it was like he was trying to figure out the math behind this whole situation.

“It’s been a while since you’ve been here,” I lied. I didn’t want to get deep into the real reason, because I have no idea if Shawn has been drinking tonight or where his mind is. I didn’t want to add any more stress or pressure to what he was already going through.

“I didn’t feel this way when we were in New York,” Shawn emphasized and looked at me, clearly annoyed at my response. “I went to New York twice, and I was able to come back home and be a normal man living this normal life. I haven’t done that since coming back from California. But I don’t live in America. My English is subpar at best, and I was only there for 2 months. So, why is it that I feel like I’m not home anymore?”

“I think you already know the answer,” I said with honesty. I knew the feeling Shawn was talking about because I experienced it myself. The man that was in New York the first time was left in New York. He never came back, and it pains me to see that Shawn will never be back to what he was.

“Does it get any easier, hyung?” Shawn finally looked at me with soft, gentle yet tiring eyes. I don’t answer right away because the answer is no. It doesn’t. We know that there’s nothing for us to do to make this easier or better unless we leave our entire lives behind. It’s so easy to want to fight for something and say you will do whatever it takes to keep it, but what happens when the things that are keeping you stuck are things like your job and your family? What do you do when you feel like a leaf that is on the ground, stuck due to the heavy amounts of rainfall?

I simply shook my head, truly at a loss for words. Shawn looked down at his palms before speaking again.

“Kevin came by today,” Shawn started to say. “He was beginning to gather the last of his things in the apartment.”

“Shawn, you know he’s not leaving because of you,” I tried to reassure Shawn before any intrusive thoughts began to seep into his mind. “He’s going to be a father. He needs to be with JooAh during this time.”

“Kevin’s probably the only one out of the three of us actually sleeping at night these days,” Shawn mocked. “He’s happy he’s back home with the girl he loves…”

“You can’t be mad at Kevin for stepping up and coming back,” I said, trying to be stern with Shawn. I need him to understand that Kevin is literally doing the one thing I couldn’t do when I was back in America, and that was to be there for Grace when she needed me the most. “He got his girlfriend pregnant, and now he is owning up to his responsibility. You can’t be mad at him forever for doing just that. I mean, what would have you done if you found out that Skylar–” I immediately stopped talking. This had to have been the first time since coming back that anyone has ever said her name out loud. I wish I didn’t; but I did, and the wrath that is Shawn slowly pours out.

“I wouldn’t be as careless to get a woman in another country pregnant without marrying her,” Shawn spat out. I knew it was supposeto be an insult to me, but I won’t give Shawn the satisfaction knowing his insults affect me. Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing Shawn complain about al of this without actually doing something about it. Was this what Shawn and Kevin had to deal with whenever I had to come back from New York?

“My point being is that you would do whatever you need to do to be with Skylar because you love her,” I continued to say. “I hope you would understand at least that; as a man that loves someone, you would understand Kevin putting JooAh above all else.”

“I don’t love Skylar,” Shawn snapped back. “How can I love someone that I fucking can’t be with?”

“Shawn, please,” I said as I grew more frustrated at the situation. “You’re obviously still in love with Skylar and you can’t come to forgive Kevin because he was the one that shortened our trip, that shortened your time with the woman you love; but, has it occur to you that even if Kevin didn’t have to come back to Korea, you would still have to leave Skylar behind because you were meant to come back.” Shawn stood up to be face-to-face with me, clearly angry at where this conversation was going.

“Then why fall in love with Grace if you knew that was always the result?” Shawn asked. I didn’t budge. I didn’t want Shawn to know that his words are getting to me because I didn’t owe anything to Shawn. I can always kick him out of the apartment and tell him to deal with his broken heart on his own. But I don’t. Maybe I don’t because I need to hear this. Maybe I don’t because I want to tell Shawn all of the things I wished someone told me when there was still time to amend things. Maybe I don’t because I know Shawn is capable of doing the things I couldn’t do. Shawn scoffs before he speaks again. “I don’t know, maybe you never loved grace if you were able to leave her all those times.”

“If you are claiming to love Skylar, then why not do something about it?” I said, angry now at this conversation. “Seriously though. Why not get your visa, go back to America, get your woman, and then live there to be with her since you clearly love Skylar more than I ever loved Grace.” I get up from the couch, ready to leave Shawn to dwell in his thoughts.

“Would she forgive me if I do?” Shawn said, almost inaudible. I looked at him to see his face completely turn soft. Worrisome. Debatable. I sit back down on the couch and didn’t say anything.

“If you do what?” I asked, even though I know exactly what he was talking about. I just didn’t want to believe it right away that he was serious in what he was thinking about doing. Shawn-ah…? Shawn sighs and answers to the air.

“If I go back to America for her,” he answered. I thought the insomnia was just talking but this was the most coherant I’ve seen Shawn be in the last month since being back in Korea. He was serious. I know he was serious, because I use to have these thoughts all the time every time I came back from America. But, I never had someone to actually talk it out with. Maybe that’s what makes Shawn and I different; he was able to voice out the things he was planning to do or wanted to do. Maybe tonight, he just wanted to tell me that he was thinking about going back and just needed someone that was once in this situation tell him if it was worth it or not. Shawn knows my answer. He knows what I’m about to say, and I don’t know if what I’m about to say would even matter to Shawn. I know he’s made his mind up already about this.

“What about your life here?” I asked. “I mean, you’re leaving your whole life behind to be with a woman you spent two months with–“

“Don’t give me that shit, hyung!” Shawn yelled. “You fell in love with Grace as soon as you started to spend all your time with her! You spent all hours of the day and night with Grace in New York! You spent your last hours in New York with her! You were amess every time you had to come back here! For fuck’s sake, you had it all with her and yet you fucking left her again for this?!”

“I had to think about what made sense instead of my emotions, Shawn,” I spat back. “My career is here, my family is here; apartment, friends, and everything else that I built here! This is my home, and I couldn’t leave that behind. We are not the same, Shawn–“

“We aren’t,” Shawn snapped back. “I don’t have a family with this huge hold on me to literally stay in a place where you don’t fucking feel like you belong anymore because the happiest version of yourself is in another country,” he stated. Shawn’s family consist of his parents and younger sister, and even then their family dynamic is different than the one I had with mine. Maybe Shawn is able to leave his life behind in Korea for Skylar. What is here that is truly holding him back? Me? Kevin? I know Shawn doesn’t care about that. I know he would take the next flight out to America tonight if it meant he would be with Skylar.

The first time I came back to Korea after meeting Grace, I thought about going back to New York at least 3 times a day. I eventually wanted to leave my life behind for Grace, so why didn’t I stay when I went back for her? Why did I get the one-year work visa and didn’t marry Grace and be with her? Would have she wanted that? Would she think I was only marrying her to stay in the country? Would she even care if that was the main reason why I wanted to marry her, aside from being completely in love with her? Why the fuck didn’t you stay, Jaemin-ah?

“Then go,” I said, defeated. “Go after Skylar, Shawn. If you love her, you have to show her that you do. Be her girlfriend; show her that you are serious about her, because we all know you are. And the language? You’ll pick it up quick. You might have to take some English language classes to speak English better. I know you would, because I know you. I know you would do anything for Skylar, and at least showing her that you want to be with her and make a life for yourself in America.” Shawn just looked at me, not really saying anything every time I gave him a chance to say something. Maybe he was just exhausted. Maybe he really is considering everything I’m saying. I don’t know anymore, because this Shawn is a Shawn that is a product of what he left behind in Californina, and at this point I just want my friends to be happy in their lives, even if that meant that it was too late for me to fix what makes me happy.

“I want to go back to California to Skylar,” Shawn finally admitted. “I want to be with her.” I smiled at Shawn’s decision. This was the most mature thing Shawn has done at least in the years I’ve known him. I was happy to see him make a decision for himself. I was happy to see Shawn do what I couldn’t do, and I can only hope that Shawn is serious enough to not hurt Skylar again.

“Then go be with her,” I said. “You both deserve to be happy.”

The "Something" Series: Season 2, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2022

Somewhere, Someday, Something: A Grace Monologue.

“Momma will see you tomorrow night, sweetie,” I talk into my phone with it on my shoulder as I go back and forth from my closet to the suitcases spread out on the floor. I finally put the phone on speaker and place it on the floor as I kneel in front of one of the suitcases, organizing everything in it.

“I can’t wait to see you, mommy!” Willow’s voice says through the phone. I smile big.

“Me too, baby,” I said to Willow, looking at the phone. “I love you; put papa back on the phone.” A couple of moments later, I hear the phone being picked up and hear Max’s voice.

“What time is your flight landing tomorrow?” Max asked.

“I’m taking a Red Eye flight tonight, so I should be landing around 5:30,” I answered as I continued to pack. “Ari is picking me up from the airport.”

“Ari?” Max asked and then laughed. “Are you sure she’ll be up that early?” I smiled at Max’s reaction.

“Listen, Ari is a different woman now,” I said. “She’s an almost-married woman.” Max laughs loudly over the phone.

“If Ari actually picks you up on time, tell her I owe her $20,” Max said. I shook my head and chuckled. Max and Ari were always teasing each other; of course, whenever Max and I were on good terms. It’s been a long time since Max and I were on good terms like this. It truly only happens when there’s a distance between us.

“You guys are too much,” I responded. “I should be situated at my parent’s place by the time I should be headed to you guys, but let me know when you’re ready; it’s no rush.”

“Please,” Max scoffed. “Willow will make sure we are ready for you when you come over. Mariam is cooking dinner, so don’t feel like you have to bring anything unless you want to.” I hear a knock on my bedroom door; the door slowly opens and Skylar stands there.

“Alright, I’m going to finish packing, tell Willow I love her,” I said before hanging up the phone. I looked up at Skylar. I feel bad for leaving her in California after everything that happened. I feel guilty even; she’s going to be by herself after having her heart broken by a person I was affiliated with by association.

“Hey, Sky,” I said. Skylar walked into my room and sat at the edge of my bed.

“Hey,” she finally said after looking down at the clothes on the floor. She kneeled down next to me and started to fold the pile of clothes I previously threw on the ground. “You shouldn’t leave this unfolded; it’ll get wrinkled.” I watched Skylar fold the piece of clothing she was talking about. When she was done, she looked at me.

“Are you gonna be okay when I leave?” I asked. Skylar scuffed and began to fold the rest of the clothes.

“Skylar Ashmore is an independent woman,” she started. “I’ll be just fine on my own. I always have.”

“Sky,” I started to say. “It’s okay to still feel sad about Shawn.” Skylar and I haven’t spoken about Shawn or Jamie since the night I saw Jamie at the pier. In a sense, it became taboo to mention those two in this house. But I was leaving in a few hours, and I didn’t want Skylar to have all of this bottled inside her. She deserved to let go. To breathe. To ease her mind.

“I’m fine,” Skylar stated. I rolled my eyes at her. I swear the Ashmore women suck at lying.

“I know you’re not,” I began. “Because I told myself the same thing the first time. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to you, Sky.” I was being honest and protective more than comforting and supportive. I know how reckless Skylar can be, and I was afraid that once I left, she’d go party and drink herself into oblivion. Skylar looked annoyed with me.

“I’m not you, Grace,” Skylar spat back at me.

“You don’t have to be like me to be heartbroken because you were in love,” I said bluntly. Skylar didn’t respond; she sat there still folding clothes, most likely deep in her thoughts. “I loved Jamie. The first time he left, I didn’t know how or what to feel. I was just angry and sad and confused. I did stupid shit because I was in love, Sky, and I really look back at that time and really wish I did things differently.”

“Like what?” Skylar asked. Like what? What would I have done differently? I say this about almost everything in my life. I wish I did my childhood differently. I wish I did my high-school years differently. I wish I did college and my career differently. I wish I did things differently with Max and Willow. I wish I did things differently with my life all the time.

“I wish I was able to tell myself that it wasn’t worth it,” I finally said. “I wasted so much time being sad and heartbroken over someone that had no choice but to go back to his home country, but–“

“Then why take him back in the first place?” Skylar asked. I looked at her, not understanding her motive behind this conversation. What was she trying to prove?

“I was in love with him, Sky,” I emphasized. “When he came back, all that hurt that he caused just… went away. I was so in love with him that I subconsciously forgave him for leaving me in the first place.” Skylar got up from the ground and walked out of the bedroom. She left the door open, in which I looked out from where I was sitting to see where she went. She immediately comes back into the room and throws something at me. I looked down at my lap and saw it was a little black box. I looked back up to Skylar.

“What is this?” I asked.

“Open it,” she demanded. I slowly opened the box and saw a bracelet with a charm on it; specifically a charm of a key. I couldn’t process what was going on. “I don’t know if you ever noticed,” Skylar began. I turned the lid of the box around to see a folded piece of paper. I unfold it as Skylar continued to speak.

“It was in the mailbox. Y’know, Jamie wore that bracelet every single time I saw him in person,” Skylar pointed out. I finally unravel the note, in which it simply said, I’m sorry. I know this bracelet was Jamie’s. I know he never took this bracelet off. I noticed it on him the first time I saw him here in California. He said the love of his life gave it to him. I still remember the night I gifted him this bracelet. I felt sick to my stomach. All I could do is look at Skylar, who continues to talk. “And I know you gave him that bracelet because you asked me to get it handcrafted for you and ship it to you when you were in New York.” I couldn’t say anything back. It was like the words were trapped in my throat because if I were to say something, nothing but tears and possibly vomit would come out.

Skylar crossed her arms across her chest and looked directly at me, without any sort of emotion on her face. “If he was able to go back to Korea all of those times without batting an eyelash, then giving back the one thing he held closest to him, the one thing that he had connected to you? It wasn’t hard for him to do. He never truly loved you if he was able to do all of that.”

Was that true? Did Jamie never love me in the first place? That can’t be true. But then what explains this? He had this bracelet for years now. Why give it back? Why give it back if it wasn’t because he didn’t love me?

All I could hear is the white noise from the light on in my bedroom, followed by a sigh from Skylar. Her voice was soft now when she spoke.

“That is why I choose to be fine about Shawn leaving me,” Skylar admitted. “Because he was able to break my heart without even hesitating. Because he always knew he had to go back home when he allowed me to fall in love with him.” Skylar finally left my room and closed the door behind her. The tears couldn’t help but fall down my face. I look at the bracelet in the box. The tears kept falling into the box and on the metal of the bracelet. I couldn’t bare to look at the bracelet anymore. I chucked it on the bed, hoping that I threw it hard enough for it to disappear so I wouldn’t know where it went.

Everything made sense at that moment. It was so easy for Jamie to pack his life up and let me go countlessly in the process. It was so easy for him to let go of the things that he told me all those years ago he would never let go. He let me go time and time again and then got mad t me for trying to let him go for good. Maybe Jamie used me all this time. Maybe he said those things to me because he saw I was broken or some shit. Maybe he saw me at the cafe that day for the first time and took pity on me. Maybe he took everything we had and saw it as temporary and useless to hinder on. Maybe he didn’t see me the way I saw him. I truly did love him, but maybe he truly never loved me.

And maybe it’s that belief that I have to tell myself in order to let go. It’s about time I let him go, because holding on is hurting me more when I know the release will feel like a weight off of my shoulders, and I need that. I need to feel free again. I need to feel something else but emptiness again.

I need to feel like I have a purpose again.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Coincidental: A Jamie Monologue.

Grace surrounds herself with people similar to her, or maybe she just gravitates towards people she sees herself in.

Meeting her best friend Ari for the first time when I was first in New York was interesting. They had met through the law firm Grace used to work at, so when I came to pick Grace up from the firm one night, Ari made it apparent that she carried strong opinions. Even though there were times Ari would say something that made Grace instantly react in a bad way, Ari would always have her back, just like a best friend would. Ari saw Grace the way I see Shawn and Kevin: they are my closest friends through thick and thin.

So, when Ari told me it was best if I let Grace go after she left New York in January, I thought that would be the worst feeling I would ever experience. I was wrong.

“What are you doing here?” Skylar quickly walked toward me and said in a hushed tone.

“I’m sorry if Shawn hurt you in any way, Skylar,” I immediately started to try to defend my friend; the one whose heart is back home in pieces because he had to break up with someone he truly loved. I understand. “It’s not his fault that things had to be this way.”

“I don’t give a shit about that,” Skylar said bluntly. It took me by surprise. “What are you even doing here?” I was confused as in why all of a sudden, Skylar was mad at me or concerned I was even there in the first place. What did Grace tell her? What happened when Grace went home the last time we spoke?

“I made a commitment to Grace,” I finally answered her question. “I told her I was going to be here for her showcase–“

“You know, you being here will just be triggering to her,” Skylar interrupted me to say. I scrunched my eyebrows together; what the hell is that suppose to mean? “And the last thing she needs is to have her night ruined because of you.”

“I don’t know what Grace told you,” I began, but I immediately stopped. What point was I trying to make this time? What could I have possibly done to make Grace tell Skylar I was the bad guy? Why do I even care; she’s not mine to care about.

“It’s not about what Grace has told me,” Skylar cut me off before I could even start up my sentence again. “It’s about everything that has happened that has affected her. She literally left New York to get away from you, yet here you are now bringing all that old energy shit back into her life.” I didn’t understand where this was coming from at this point. It was only just a month and a half ago when she called the number I left for Grace. She was dating one of my best friends. What changed? What made Skylar say these things all of a sudden?

“If you cared about her, you would let her go,” Ari told me that night in her apartment, moments after I found out that Grace left New York. When I was walking out, that’s when Ari finally spoke again. “Grace was happy with you, Jamie.”

I turned around to look at Ari one last time before I left the apartment.

“But it’s the things that make her happy that are her biggest downfall,” she continued.

“Grace was amazing,” I randomly said. Skylar didn’t say anything in response. “She was definitely born to dance.”

I walked out of the ballroom hallway and didn’t turn back. I was mentally exhausted. I was tired of thinking and worrying about Grace. I’ve done nothing but do just that for the last couple of years. Maybe Ari was right about Grace and me when Grace left New York. Maybe this thing between us; whatever this was between us, was dying out. Maybe I was holding onto something that was just hurting us even more in the end. Maybe the pressure to hold on was what was causing the pain. Maybe releasing it all, to finally let it all go, is the only way we can both heal. I have to let Grace go for good.

It scares me that this time, it doesn’t hurt when I say that. It actually feels relieving. Because it’s something coincidental; two people in Grace’s life that probably never even met each other before share the same idea about Grace and me. We are not good for each other. Maybe I should’ve listened to Ari. To Kevin. To Shawn. I shouldn’t have listened to myself.

I entered the front door of the place I was staying at. I saw luggage bags already sitting near the door; they looked like Kevin’s. I shut my eyes tight. I couldn’t believe that we were leaving to go back to Korea in less than 48 hours. Every time I had to go back, it felt like I was leaving a part of me back here. I was tired of feeling that way.

I walked up the stairs and entered my bedroom. I looked around the room that I stayed in fro the last month and a half. The room I would come in after being out at the pier with Shawn and Kevin. The room that the guys would barge in to wake me up on mornings that I left my alarm going off. The room where I would pick up Grace’s calls, and go through the closet where my clothes were trying to find something appropriate to wear. The room I fell asleep in whenever I texted Grace “good night” when she would stop responding. It felt surreal to know that all those memories will be left behind in this room.

Everything about Grace will be left behind here.

I look at my wrist and see the bracelet that Grace gifted me.

“I know I didn’t need to give you anything for Christmas, but I wanted to,” Grace said as she handed me a small, wrapped box with a bow on top. I look at Grace before accepting the gift.

“Where did you find the time to even get a present?” I asked, smiling down at the gift. “You know, you are working nonstop on a case.” Grace laughed and clapped her hands together. Her laugh was warm on this cold, winter day.

“I wanted to get you a little something because you said this was the first holiday you were away from home,” Grace explained. “So, I figured I could still bring some holiday joy and cheer to you.” I looked at Grace, being in awe. Christmas wasn’t for another two weeks, yet she felt the need to get me a present and bring some of the holiday spirit in my rented apartment, in the middle of a foreign city thousands of miles away from home. I felt warm. Cozy. Cared about; just how a home should feel like.

I opened the small box and saw what was inside. “Grace,” I began to say. I lifted the dainty, silver bracelet from the box with my hand. It was simple; nothing too flashy. It had one small charm on the end of it; a key.

I lifted the dainty, silver bracelet on my wrist. The key dangled as I lifted my wrist up in the air. I slip the bracelt off of my wrist and put it in the draw of the night stand. Out of sight. Out of mind. Out of my life.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something that Move Mountains: A Jamie Monologue.

The house has felt empty since that night Kevin told us he was going back to Korea. None of us spent time together after that. The living room was empty, the kitchen was empty, and for most of the remaining week we had left in California, none of us truly sat down to have a conversation. Kevin spent most of his time on the phone with JooAh; I feel like that was the only time I see him smile these days. It instantly fades when he hangs up the phone.

Shawn has been in his room for most of the days left here in California; heartbroken and crushed. I know that feeling all too well, and I feel so bad for Shawn. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought him with me to the Voyage that night. Maybe then he wouldn’t have met Skylar. Maybe then he wouldn’t have fallen in love with a woman that he can’t be with.

I look in the mirror and fix the collar of my button-down shirt. I brush the fabric of my slacks and look at the white sneakers I pair the outfit with. I slick my hair back, even though I want nothing more than to hide my face. I wear her bracelet even though I shouldn’t. I can’t help it; it’s truly become a part of me, just how Grace is. Was.

Kevin walks past my bedroom and stops to look inside. I turn around, not knowing what Kevin wants.

“You’re going out?” Kevin asked.

“Yeah. I made a commitment,” I answered, tidying up my room before I head out for the night. Kevin doesn’t move from the doorframe, so I stand in the middle of the room and just look at him. “Is everything fine?”

“I truly messed up, didn’t I?” Kevin confessed. I sympathized with Kevin; I know this was most likely because Kevin and Shawn were not speaking to each other. Shawn and Kevin used to be inseparable; I actually met Kevin through Shawn back in law school; I never understood how someone as introverted as Kevin became friends with someone as loud and energetic as Shawn. Their friendship worked, needless to say.

“You’re doing what’s right for you and JooAh, Kevin,” I answered. “I don’t think Shawn is mad at you for having to go back to her. He’s just–“

“He’s just in love with an American woman; I know,” Kevin finished my sentence. “But he’s acting like it’s my fault that they broke up, and it makes me feel like shit.”

“Shawn will eventually feel better; when he does, then you two need to have this conversation,” I told Kevin. It took Kevin and I months to put everything that happened in New York behind us. I know Kevin was just looking out for his friend when Grace and I weren’t on speaking terms. If he wasn’t so caught up in his own issues, he would’ve been the same way, knowing grace and I have spent time together here in California.

I pick up my crossbody bag and placed it on my shoulder. I turned around to exit the room.

“Have fun at your commitment tonight,” Kevin said. Heh, if only.

The first time I ever saw Grace was an accident. We had plans for dinner that night, and when I didn’t hear from her all day, I was worried. I watched her through the window of the studio, and if I didn’t know Grace’s presence as well as I do, I wouldn’t have thought the woman dancing was her. I still wonder what made her go into law instead of dance. Sure, she told me that she grew up watching her father working for the law and she was an amazing lawyer when she was one, but watching her dance was completely different. Grace felt like she was being her true self when she danced; the vulnerable, messy, loving woman she is. I already had fallen in love with Grace by that point, but I think I knew I loved her at that moment.

I arrived at the venue where Grace’s showcase was being held out. It was interesting to see so many important people sitting i ne room, watching young dancers showcase their talent.

“It’s in the Vermont Palace downtown,” Grace said as I wrote the address down on my phone. The sun was setting, and Grace was gathering her things to head to practice after having dinner. “It’ll be nice to have a familiar face in the audience.”

“Is Skylar not going to be there?” I asked. Grace shrugged her shoulder.

“Who knows,” she answered. “She’s busy with Shawn these days. I’m not mad at her or anything, but when she’s in this deep, she doesn’t remember anything she has to do or what others need from her.” I laughed, getting up from the table with her.

“Come on,” I looked at Grace. “I’ll drive you to your practice.”

I take a seat towards the back of the venue. The stage is lit with bright lights while the rest of the room is dark. A woman walks out and introduces herself as the co-founder of the academy, Morgan Kelly.

“Welcome to this season’s showcase, everyone. Our dancers have worked endlessly these last couple of months, and with their talents and determination, you are all are in for an amazing show. Whether you are friends or family of the dancers, or people within the business, we are happy to have you here tonight,” she greeted. Everyone clapped, and she spoke once the applause died out.

The dancers were amazing, to say the least. They all were so passionate and elegant about it. You can tell these dancers dance because this is who they are as people, just how I can tell I am a lawyer; it’s who I am. I think I always meant to be one, and I don’t regret anything that I’ve done that got me to this place.

Grace, on the other hand, was meant to do more than settle. She is a dancer.

“Our next dancer is fairly new to our academy, but her passion and talent truly speaks for itself. Originally from New York, she co-runs her family-own academy, teaching the next generation of dancers to come and change the game forever,” Morgan said. “Please give a round of applause to our next dancer, Grace Ashmore.”

Grace comes out in a flowy red dress. Red was always the best color on her. She stands in front of everyone, bows, and then looks toward the ground. The song begins to play and she immediately starts to dance. Watching Grace dance sometimes feels intrusive, like no one should be watching her be so vulnerable on stage. So expressive. So free.

I think about the stories she told me as a kid in her hometown and how she did nothing but dance. She didn’t have many friends because she was so busy being a tiny dancer. She always knew her mother was a world-renowned dancer; I wonder how hard that was for her growing up. To follow in someone’s footsteps that you never got to know until later in life, when it was too late… Grace dances for her younger self. She does it to connect with her; the one who knew nothing but dance, and that was all there was to life. When Grace’s life was simple. That’s why it feels so wrong to watch her dance, but it’s too mesmerizing to not want to watch her be… her.

The song is a simple guitar playing in the background and a man’s voice singing softly. Her body moves to every syllable of that damn song. How does she make something so simple look absolutely beautiful?

Sometimes it hurts like growing pains, at times it makes me cry like the rain, But I’d cross the ocean if I have to; I’d run through the storm to get to you right now…

It’s so natural to love you.

It’s so fucking natural to love Grace.

Grace spins and her dress moves across her body. Maybe I’m biased, but Grace has been the best dancer to perform tonight. She’s more than just this dancer that wants to dance for fun. She’s not meant to keep her talent hidden like this. She deserves the world to see her dance. Grace Ashmore deserves the fucking world, even if she doesn’t believe she does.

The song stops and Grace finishes her performance. The audience gives her a standing ovation, including me. She bows and smiles out towards us. She’s the happiest when she dances.

Shortly after, Morgan comes back onto stage and lets everyone know that there is a reception in the other room next door. As friends and family gather their things and head to the reception, I gather my things to exit the venue. I don’t want Grace to know I’m here, not after what happened at the pier last weekend. It’s best if she didn’t know. Tonight was her night, and I don’t need it to be ruined because I’m here.

As I enter the main lobby of the venue I look up from my phone and towards the front door. Even with the crowd of people standing and hanging out in the lobby, my heart nearly stops to my stomach.

I see Skylar, and Skylar sees me.

Misc., The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Like What We Used to Be: A Monologue.

When I first moved in with my mother my freshman year of college, I didn’t know how well we would get along. My dad was still in Virginia, and he had no idea that I wasn’t actually living in the dorms. I lied to both my parents just so I could get the opportunity to live with my mother after not knowing her for the first 17 years of my life.

It was a hot afternoon in New York, and my mom came back from the pizzeria to get us some Italian Ices. I was convinced maybe we just shared the same taste in foods, but her coming back with a Rainbow-flavored Ice shocked me. It was my absolute favorite flavor of Ice.

We sat across the small table in the living room/kitchen area of my mother’s apartment. I looked at her as she scraped the surface of her Ice, scrolling through her cell phone.

“Mollie?” I called out for my mom. I was still uncomfortable calling her mom; I was thankful she didn’t force me to call her mom right away. She looked up from her Ice at me. I didn’t know how to phrase this right, but it was something I’ve wanted to know ever since I met my mom for the first time, back in her dance class at Waverly High.

“When did you know that you were in love with dad?” I asked. It took her a while to answer. She was deep in thought like she was going through all the years over in her head that she knew my dad. My mom, no doubt was my dad’s soulmate. He never had a girlfriend while I was growing up; it’s like he couldn’t love anyone else besides her, and from the looks of my mom’s apartment, it seems like the same goes for her.

“The moment I knew I was in love with your father was the night we slept together, back in high school,” she recalled. “Not because of, you know,” She was getting flustered and even though I felt some vomit rise up behind my throat, I knew what she meant by that. “The moment I knew I loved your father was seeing how happy he was when I told him I was pregnant with you.”

“You have some nerve coming here,” I said as I watched Jamie walk towards the cafe.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you,” Jamie stated. I look at the time on my phone and sighed.

“Well, it’s bad timing. My break is ending and I get out in about an hour,” I said. Jamie nodded his head and looked at me. I felt uneasy whenever he looked directly at me; he was the only person that ever looked at me like that.

“I can wait,” he said. Jamie was always a patient man, and I never understood how or why he was with me. He has no reason to sit around and wait to talk to me, yet he does. Throughout the rest of my shift, he sits on the boardwalk bench looking out towards the water. It wasn’t long until I clocked out for the day and left the cafe.

I slowly walk towards him at the end of the pier, sitting next to him. He looks up at me and scoots over to give me some room on the bench to sit next to him.

“Well, you sure stick to your word,” I say to break the silence. I don’t look at him, but I can feel him looking at me. I always knew when he was even when I wasn’t looking at him. It’s like my body can sense it, because every time he did, my body got warm.

“I’m assuming you know about what happened between Shawn and Skylar,” he began.

“You think? You know, that was really shitty of him to just break up with her without a real reason,” I began to vent. I wasn’t angry at anyone else besides myself. I feel solely responsible for Skylar falling in love with Shawn and getting her heart broken in the process. I shouldn’t have left Jamie’s number on my nightstand; I should’ve known better and threw it out as soon as I got it that day. Maybe then she wouldn’t have called Jamie. Maybe Jamie wouldn’t have felt like he needed to bring Shawn along with him to the Voyage that night. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t have met Shawn. Maybe Skylar wouldn’t be absolutely crushed if I never moved into her condo when I got to California.

“That’s why I came here to talk to you,” he simply said. “Shawn… has his reasons in why he did that,” I couldn’t help but scoff.

“Why am I not surprised that you were taking his side? I mean, I get it; you’re his best friend. You have to,” I shook my head and looked out towards the ocean.

“Shawn is on a group visa,” Jamie said.

“What the fuck does that have to do with Shawn being an asshole to Skylar?” I kept interrupting Jamie. I just didn’t want to hear the excuses.

“Aigoo, Grace can you just let me talk?” Jamie demanded. I looked at Jamie, not saying a word. “Kevin’s girlfriend in Korea, JooAh; she’s pregnant. He has to go back to Korea to be with her. Shawn, Kevin, and I are on a group visa. If one of us leaves, we all have to go too.”

My stomach knots itself up when I hear Jamie speak. All I can remember is Skylar asking me how was I able to go through this with Jamie throughout the years I’ve known him. “Love him, and then watch him leave over and over again.” I’ve watched Jamie leave more times than anyone else in my life. The first time it nearly destroyed me; it was like I was experiencing what it must’ve felt like for my dad when my mom left him when I was a baby. It was like I was experiencing how it must’ve felt for Max when I left him with our baby. I thought I deserved it, like this was life’s way of telling me that I needed to know what it was like to have someone you love just up and leave your life out of the blue. Needless to say, the first time was the toughest. The second time stung a little. The third, time I became numb to it. The fourth time I left, hoping it was the last time I saw him.

I scrunched my eyebrows, getting angry as Jamie spoke, excusing Shawn and what he did to Skylar. She didn’t deserve that. She didn’t know the consequences that came with dating and falling in love with a man that literally could leave at any given moment. I should have warned her. I should have told her soulmates, or whatever the fuck Skylar called Shawn, weren’t real.

“Funny how it’s not the first time hearing you say this,” I spat back. Jamie looked at me, annoyed with my response.

“That was really uncalled for, Grace,” Jamie responded. “I just wanted to tell you that I was leaving to go back to Korea, and why Shawn had to do what he did.”

“Why even tell me you were leaving? You’ve done it in the past,” I began to talk just to talk. I felt like I never explained to Jamie why it was always so hard to trust him after the first time he left. He would come back, and I would fall into him deeper and deeper each time we saw each other, and then he would leave again. It was our tradition; for him to make my life feel like rainbows and butterflies, until he took that shit back with him on a 14-hour flight to South Korea.

“I can’t say the same for you,” Jamie snapped back.

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” I asked viciously. This was the first time Jamie was facing me, but not looking at me. He was angry, and he had some shit to vent out before he left again for good. What the fuck was the point of him even ever agreeing to hang out with me whenever I called him? Was he just trying to see if he still had that hold on me, wrapped around his finger, just living his American dream until he left it behind to go back home for months on end? What the fuck did Jamie want from me?

“You literally left New York without telling me, Grace!” Jamie finally admitted. I still remember the day I left New York almost 7 months ago. Ari told me to tell Jamie I was leaving and to have one last conversation to end this chapter of our lives for good.

“You need to have this conversation with him, girl,” Ari said as she poured hot water into the kettle and threw a couple of tea bags into the hot water. “He deserves to know why you went and did what you did.”

“What is the point?” I said, watching Ari set the coffee table up in the living room. “He’s gonna leave New York anyway.”

“Yeah, but that was his child too,” Ari said, annoyed. “Just because you don’t live with Willow, you still are allowed to know about her whereabouts and shit because she is your child. How would you feel if Max made decisions about WIllow without consulting with you just because you don’t live with her?”

“Max and I live in the same fucking state, Ari; it’s different,” I spat back.

“Yeah well, you’re both here in New York and are eventually leaving it so, how much of a difference is it really?” Ari questioned.

“I didn’t have to tell you anything! We weren’t together!” I emphasized to Jamie.

“You had admitted just weeks prior to you leaving that you had an abortion, Grace! How the fuck was I suppose to feel not ever having that conversation with you?” Jamie raised his voice. His voice always echoed when he was angry; probably because it didn’t happen that often. But when it did, it was more than just anger. It’s bottled-up shit that he hasn’t expressed or spoken to anyone about because he always tried to deal with it on his own. I didn’t say anything back, not because I didn’t have anything to say but because I wasn’t expecting Jamie to bring this situation up. Not now, not ever.

“You left me in your apartment and had Ari get me the next morning like I was some fucking garbage that needed to be gone!” I was angry. I remember being so fucking angry and heartbroken not seeing him in his apartment the morning after I told him about the abortion. “Jamie, you are so fucking good at leaving; did it ever occur to you that maybe every single time you did that shit, it affected me?”

“So you go ahead and get rid of our baby without ever fucking telling me it existed?!” Jamie screamed as the veins on his neck began to pop out. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

I began to feel the tears run down my face. I wasn’t sad but frustrated. Defeated. Exhausted. There’s simply no more fight left in my voice, and no expression left to express on my face.

“Would it have really mattered if I did?” I said softly as my voice became hoarse from yelling before. “You were in Korea at that point. I didn’t know when you were going to be back or if you were ever coming back…”

“I would’ve come back, Grace,” Jamie said, more regretful than confident.

“Yeah, and then what? Watch you be the man I always hoped you’ll be for me and then see you leave me alone in New York again; this time with a child?” At this point, this was the most honest I’ve been with Jamie since being in New York. Maybe I should’ve reached out to have this conversation sooner; maybe then all the time we spent together here wouldn’t have felt the way that it did. Maybe our motives would’ve felt more pure and real.

“People like us are not meant to stay together. We are not meant to carry lifelong commitments and bring them into this world just because one of us wanted to. I always thought I could change that and make people want to stay with me. But in the end, I was always left fucking alone; my mom left me alone, Max left me alone, and you left me here alone. And I refuse to let a child come into this world feeling alone, Jamie. I refuse to lie to myself and say this time would be different; that I would be the mother I always wanted to be for a child. But I’m not. I left my child the same way my mom left me, and I’m still trying to make it up to Willow before she learns to resent me for not being there for her. I refuse to be like my mother. I refuse to bring a child into this world just because the person I am in love with wants me to have the baby.” At that point, I couldn’t look at Jamie, and I couldn’t feel if he was looking at me back. It’s like I pulled all the power out of us and it’s not a blackout. We are both just searching for some light in the darkness, not realizing that everything around us is also surrounded by darkness.

Jamie didn’t say anything and I didn’t expect him to. So I sighed, and shifted my body on the ground of the pier; closing off Jamie for good.

“Not that it matters but I’m also leaving California. I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I admitted. “Because I owe her that at least, as her biological mother.” I began to get up from the ground of the pier; Jamie still sat there. It was like he was frozen in place. I know it took a lot to take it, but I know Jamie Kim. Jamie always deserved to know the truth, because he strived in knowing the truth in everything in his life.

“Have a safe flight back to Korea, Jamie,” I said half-heartedly, not wanting to continue this conversation. I felt naked, and I felt exposed. I felt like I just confessed my biggest secret out into the world, but I still don’t feel free. I begin to walk away from the pier, fro Jamie, and from this life that I so desperately wish I could have, but know I won’t ever get.

Because people like Jamie and I don’t stay together. Soulmates aren’t fucking real because they are so impossible to obtain or grasp. It’s like a piece of fiction.

The love I have for Jamie just feels like fiction; not real.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something For Me, Myself, & I: A Monologue.

Skylar went to the Bay Area to stay with my uncle Mason for a bit. I told her it was best to be around her family during this time, in which she reminded me that I was also family. A part of me felt really guilty though. Skylar only knew Shawn because of Jamie, and Jamie only came out that night because of me. In a way, I feel responsible for Skylar’s broken heart. I didn’t deserve to comfort her. Skylar was perfectly fine living on her own and living the life that was best for her. She had her heart guarded, and as soon as I move in and introduce her to a man affiliated with someone in my past, she got her heart broken. I broke my little cousin, and I feel absolutely shitty for it.

I left to go to the studio earlier than usual this morning. Eduardo of course mentioned it to me, and I tried my hardest to not show him that I was dealing with a lot on my plate. I guess he bought it and was able to get into the studio for the time being. It wasn’t until shortly after the studio door opened again; this time it was Morgan.

“Grace?” Morgan asked. She looked confused, looking at the schedule posted on the wall. “There’s no practice today; what are you doing here?” I turned around and stopped what I was doing. I turn the music off on my phone and take a break.

“Hey, Morgan,” I greeted.

“What are you doing here on a Sunday morning?” she asked again. I’ve known Morgan through my mother. My mom told me that she knew someone in California that ran an academy if I still wanted to dance while I was here. Once I came into the studio that first time, Morgan immediately said I was literally a copy of my mother. Sometimes that bothers me, considering sometimes I feel like the decisions I make are very similar to the ones she made when she was my age.

And this time was no different.

“I was looking for the application for that audition in New York,” I stated. Morgan cocked up her eyebrows as if she was shocked that I was asking about something I was strongly against doing about just a couple of weeks ago. “Are they still holding auditions for the team?”

“They are,” Morgan finally answered. “They start at the end of August.” She shakes her head in confusion. “Why the change of heart?”

“I’m going back to New York to see my daughter,” I began. “Might as well kill two birds with one stone and just audition for the thing.”

“You do know that even auditioning is a high commitment?” Morgan crossed her arms along her chest. “You get invited to audition because it’s most likely they can choose you.”

“And if they do, it’s still my decision whether or not I want to do it,” I answered back. Morgan looked unsure, which isn’t like Morgan at all. She was always coming back with things to say, and I can honestly say this is the first time I ever saw her speechless. I sighed to ease up the tension. “Morgan, I… I really want to try it out. I gotta do something for myself, y’know?”

“I know,” Morgan quickly answered. “But make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons; not because you’re trying to escape something you can’t currently handle.” She walks toward her office and comes back with the paperwork in her hands. She hands it up to me, which I take.

“Good luck, Grace,” Morgan simply said. I nodded as I placed the paperwork near my gym bag and continued to practice in the studio on my own.

“Yeah, mommy’s going to be in New York for a few,” I said on the phone as I sat outside of the cafe on my lunch break. The weather wasn’t too hot today; there was actually a nice breeze coming from the ocean currents that cooled things down.

“Can we go to the park and see the flower garden?” Willow asked. I couldn’t help but smile. I’m making plans to finally see my daughter after 6 months of video chats.

“Of course, we can, sweetie,” I said. “Put your papa on the phone for me. I love you,” I said to Willow.

“I love you too, mommy!” Willow happily said. It’s like a wind of warm air hit my face hearing her say it so confidently. A couple of minutes later, Max speaks on the phone.

“She’s excited you’re coming back,” Max started out. “Are you staying with your parents while you find a place to live when you get back?” The thought didn’t even cross my mind. He thinks I’m going back for good.

“I’m staying with Ari until the audition is over,” I corrected him.

“Audition?” Max seemed completely confused. This was the hardest part about going back to New York: having everyone think you’re coming back for good. I can’t go back for good.

“I’m coming back to New York for this dance audition,” I started to say. “Once that audition is over, I’m coming back to California.”

“But there’s no one in California, Grace,” Max stated.

“My cousin Skylar? Sheesh Max, where do you think I’ve been living for the last 6 months?” I was growing annoyed with him.

“Skylar is an adult, she was fine living on her own before you went there,” Max was trying to fight me on this like he always had. “You really should be here in New York for your daughter,”

“My daughter is completely fine with or without me being in New York; clearly,” I spat.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Max asked, now mad. Max always got mad at me for the littlest things. When we were together, he could never understand why I did the things I did because he couldn’t imagine himself making those decisions for himself. He quit the law firm once Willow was born; I decided to stay. He put his dreams and himself second once Willow was born; I didn’t. Despite him leaving England and staying in New York for the sake of his daughter, here I was; traveling across the country to California just because New York was too much for me.

“It means she’s doing fine with you and Miriam playing house,” I answered. I was angry at this point. I was coming to New York for this audition and to see my daughter. It shouldn’t matter to Max what the fuck I decide to do with my life; as long as I was still a mother to our daughter, that’s all he should care about.

“You’re her mother for God’s sake,” Max responded. “Do you know how heartbroken she’s going to be when you have to go back? She starts Kindergarten in September–“

“I know she is, Max!” I yelled back. “You don’t think I know that?”

“This is her first time she will be in school for a full day, Grace,” Max emphasized. “She’s going to want the comfort of her mother there when she’s crying and wanting to go home!”

“I’ll be there for when she starts school, Max. The audition doesn’t start until the end of August anyway,” I explained to Max. That was one thing I wasn’t going to allow Max to do: make me feel bad for parenting in a way I feel is best for Willow. I look at the time on my phone before pressing it against my ear again. “Look Max, I have to go; my lunch break is ending soon. I’ll talk to you later; tell Willow I love her.” I look at the boardwalk to see a familiar person walking toward the direction of the cafe. I immediately hung up the phone and kept looking at the person. They stopped once they saw me watching them walk close toward the cafe.

“You have a lot of nerve coming here, Jamie,” I said, not impressed with Jamie’s appearance here at the boardwalk. He sighed, which wasn’t uncommon for him to do, but he also didn’t look like himself. Is this what he sees whenever I’m not feeling myself? To be quite honest, it’s crazy just how much Jamie and I know each other.

“Can we talk? It’s important that I talk to you, “Jamie said.