Finding Her

December 7, 2011
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Sweaty bodies bumped into me and shouted slurred words; however, the party had just began and I had hours more of this to endure. Irritated, I stood in a cramped corner of the room. I had no intention to stay and so I surveyed the room for the nearest exit where I would make my escape. When the chance came and I saw that Syd, my best friend, wasn’t looking, I raced for the door, through the crowd, and to the place where sanity resided. All at once, as if an invisible wall blocked me, I came to a sudden stop. She walked in, wearing a white dress that was tight in all the right places. It flowed down to about mid-calf on the sides, making her stride even more graceful. It stopped slightly past the knees in the front, showing her very plump, curvy legs. Her shoes were simple silver flats but she made them look elegant. A diamond necklace was nestled gently against her soft skin. Instantly, all the complaints I had about being at the party vanished. couldn't’t… didn’t have any words for how breathtaking she was.

“Well, she looks nice!” Syd said into my ear, scaring me half to death. Her compliments were never meant to be taken lightly. She was a harsh critic, but luckily for me, I got to bypass her judgmental looks. I then realized I was still staring as Syd tried to get my attention. I attempted to play it off before she noticed and connected the dots, but it was too late. I immediately thanked my ethnicity because I was blushing like a madman. I was grateful brown skin that hid so well. Syd looked me up and down and said, “I saw the way you were looking at her.”

“At who,” I asked, trying to sound innocent.

She gave me a cold stare, obviously angered at my reluctance to admit it. “Later.”

“Yes, later.” Granted she didn’t ask, I still felt the need to confirm it. I needed to say something semi-sane, because to be honest, my mind was racing. The dreaded, “what-ifs,” swam in my head. What if I’m gay? I’ve already had a couple of run-ins with girls in my past, not going to get into detail. But, with her it was like love at first sight, which I find to be disgusting. What if she possibly could like me too? No, that is impossible. What if… My attraction to her was too much to bear. No matter how hard I tried, couldn't’t help but stare in her direction. So in the end, I simply gave up trying.

The rest of the night I danced, half-heartedly talked to the few people I knew, ate, and watched her. Syd dragged me there just so she wouldn’t be alone while she had some fun flirting with this boy she liked all night. I was there as back up in case anything went wrong. Right now, I was dying to get to know one person the way she was getting to know that boy. I hoped that no one noticed how distracted I was but I knew that Syd did because nothing ever got past her. As I wasted time cute guy began making his way towards me, breaking away from his group of friends. He was tall, and had a really charming smile and seemed nice. “Hey,” he said. A deep voice, I liked it, although not as much as I imagined her voice to sound. “My name is Brandon. Sorry if I’m too forward or anything, but I’ve been watching you all night and I would really like to get to know you.” It was a common line guys would give to sound; unfortunately, it was very unoriginal. I figured if I talked to him and gave him a chance it would make Syd happy.
In my sultry voice, just for the fun of it I said, “I’m Ebony. You can call me Eb.” I watched as his eyes roamed all over my body. I could only imagine the things he was thinking. Such a perv. If I let it go any further I knew that things would happen, even if it was only dancing. However, I hadn’t decided if I wanted them to or not.
I was wearing a really tight, black, mini-dress, the typical girl’s party outfit. I had on grande sized, gold hoop earrings and my hair was all natural (big and curly). My figure was okay. I had small curves, noticeable though, and a flat stomach. My butt was pretty big I guess; guys seemed to be most attracted to it, and I had a really nice smile too. So, in response to his roaming eyes, naturally, I flirted a bit.

“Well you look very nice Eb. Very, very nice.” We stood there awkwardly, and then I saw the girl looking at us. My first reaction was to try and make her jealous.

“You want to dance?” I knew what he thought dancing was; me grinding my butt against his privates, giving him a good time while I do all the work. Regardless, it usually made others who were watching want me, and I wanted her to want me. So, we “danced.” At first I had my doubts that she was actually looking, but I soon realized that she was watching us very intently, jealousy plastered on her face. Because of that I wanted to do it even more and make her more jealous. To my surprise, when I looked back over, she had left. “I’m going to go get some air, I had a nice time though,” I smiled and walked away towards Syd. He stopped me before I was able to leave in order to exchange numbers. “Call me,” he said.
Being completely honest, I replied, “Maybe, maybe not,” then I laughed a little and walked away. When I finally reached Syd, I had to shout over the loud music. “Let’s get out of here.” Syd surveyed the room before making her decision. She’s too smart for my own good. Immediately, she noticed that the girl from earlier was gone.
Then she gave me a look and said, “kay.” I didn’t see why she was so upset.

“We’re just going to make a quick stop.” Syd always has to make a “quick” stop. But couldn't’t complain. She was driving and I didn’t want to. Plus I was the one spending the night over at her house. I wondered why we were stopping, but I didn’t have to duel on it for long. “I didn’t eat. Everyone with their stank breath was breathing all over the food. I wouldn’t have dared touch that stuff!” I didn’t have anything to say since I had eaten a ton there. For me, it didn’t really matter that she was stopping; however, it was just that at the moment, I wanted to relax, close my eyes, and dream about her. I always forcefully dreamed about stuff to keep away the other dreams. Tonight, for a change, I would have her on my mind.
We stopped at a shady looking gas station. Syd told me to get the gas while she went and piled up on food, which is how it always happens. It’s funny because she always loads up on candy and never actually got food. She still acts like a little kid when she gets sweets: really crazy, speaking gibberish, never settling down. It works out fine though, because when I get really tired, which happens often if I’m hanging with her I usually get the same way and we both wind up acting crazy. It was going to be a long night.
I stood there freezing to death, and watched as cars pulled up one by one. A red mini-van drove into the spot behind me. Slowly, the door opened and she got out. couldn't’t breathe. My eyes started tearing, I was so happy. Fate! A second chance! I wonder if she saw how hard it was to keep my smile from spreading across my face as she walked over. The way I felt was peculiar. I loved it, but I hated it. She had my heart and I knew that this had to be a dream (why I would dream of meeting my dream girl at a gas station though was beyond me).
“Hi, I’m Kate.” The name fit her so well. I tried my best at looking very uninterested but then she said, “I saw you at the party, you’re a good dancer.” Without a doubt, all of my attention was then clearly turned to her. She went on talking, “I usually have a good intuition about people, and try to make friends with them as soon as they catch my eye, that way I’ll be surrounded by good people. But, I had to leave so I never got a chance to introduce myself. Am I talking too much? I’m sorry I tend to do that in… certain situations.” I was happy she was talking so much; she seemed so enthusiastic about talking to me. She had done the impossible and captured my attention even more.
Too keep her talking, I said, “No you’re fine, I was bored out here, and I noticed you too. I like your dress. Sorry for asking, but what do you mean by certain situations?”
“Well…” She stood there and looked down at the oil-made rainbow that swirled around our feet. “Sometimes… when a person really catches my interest… I tend to lose my people skills… and…it just…gets really hard to talk.” She said it slowly, never looking up. I desperately wanted to look into her eyes, but we hadn’t made eye contact since she started talking to me and I didn’t think it was going to happen any time soon. I watched as she nervously twisted a silver ring placed on her index finger. Her nails were painted pink, very girly. Her dress harbored a grease stain from leaning against the wall. Time was ticking, and we just continued to stand there awkwardly. Then she said, “Look it’s just that I-” Syd appeared by my side and Kate stopped talking. She always has the worst timing.
“Hey! I remember your face from the party,” she said, offering a big smile, being super nice, way more than usual. “Eb here was transfixed by your dress. She was just about drooling all over it! Come to think of it… you’re a pretty girl… maybe… she was drooling over you!” As soon as she said that, I really hated her. I thanked my brown skin for Kate had started turning red.
“Well thanks, maybe I’ll see you around. If you want, there’s another party tomorrow night.” No details whatsoever were given. I hate that. I think it’s really weird when people invite you to a party with no details. Clearly they don’t want you to come; nevertheless, she seemed genuine. Before she left she shook our hands, being very polite, saying the usual “nice meeting you” and inconspicuously, she handed me a slip of paper. I quickly slipped it in my back pocket. (I had changed when I got into the car; a sweat shirt and some jeans were much more comfortable than the dress I had on earlier.) “Bye!” She turned and walked away, a slight glance in my direction, our eyes still not meeting. The note felt like it was burning a hole in my jeans. My mind began to go crazy, but I forced the thoughts away. New, stupid thoughts, replaced them. The stars are out. It is really dark. I need to cut my nails. Those kinds of things.
Interrupting my stupid thoughts, Syd said, “Eb. So… what’d she say to you?”
I knew where she was getting at, but I just couldn’t think straight enough and didn’t want to have to think about it. So I gave an answer that she always hates. “Nothing, really…” She stared at me, clearly wanting more details. “She just came over and said she saw me at the party. I think she was going to ask me for gas money.”
“Does she have a name?”
I hesitated on telling her. “Yeah…”
Getting irritated, she replied, “And it is…?”

I gave in. “Kate.” We pulled up to the house. I used the spare key she gave me as a present on my birthday to unlock the door. I planned on making my way up to take a shower, to clear my head, but before I could, Syd blocked the staircase and said, “We need to talk.” Looking straight at her, I dropped my bag on the floor, crossed my arms, and waited. “I know you like her. It’s fine for now, it’s just a little girl crush, a phase right?” She took a deep breath. “Well… it better be because it’s a phase that you need to get over fast.”

Her words sent a chill down my spine and gave me a pain in my heart. “What are you saying?” I didn’t want to know the answer. I feared that it wouldn’t be good, and that it might very well mark this as a turning point in our friendship. We had never dealt with anything dramatic before. I wanted to take it back.

“I’m saying that for as long as I’ve known you, it never seemed like you were normal. You never really had any crushes on any guys. Yeah, you thought they were cute. But you thought they were cute like I think a girl wearing a cute outfit is…no emotion attached. I always hoped you would eventually change… I mean you did try having boyfriends, but the relationships always ended quickly. The longest one you had was with that guy, Derrick Johnson, and it only lasted like two months. You seemed miserable every time he kissed you.” She looked me dead in the eyes before she said the next part. “I can’t be friends with a gay person, a lesbian, whatever they call themselves. So please, let’s just hope to God, that nothing happens between you and this girl!”

Hot tears poured down my cheeks. My throat burned as I choked on my words. I was going to lose my best friend of all these years. “Syd! What is wrong with you! You never reacted this way when I was with those other girls! You can’t just drop me like this… as if I was never anything to you!”

She stared, her eyes were red, but she didn’t cry. She never cried. For as long as I can remember, Syd always stood by what she had to say without an ounce of regret. “You never liked those girls Ebony. It was just experimentation for you. Nothing else. But I’m afraid that with this girl, Kate, you may be in love with her. You’ve never been in love Ebony. I don’t think I can handle being friends with a gay person. It’s not normal.” I looked incredulously at her, not believing my own ears. “What if people started to talk about me? I don’t care if everyone else in the world is gay, but you… you just can’t be.” She stood there for a second. couldn't’t read her face. Then she turned around and walked away from me to the kitchen. I sat on the stairs, unable to move. As she pressed the microwave buttons to heat up her food, I stayed motionless and just listened. She called to me, her voice barely audible and cracking; “We still have to watch our scary movie together Syd.” She mumbled something else. It sounded like, “it may be the last time.” I hoped it wasn’t. Strenuously, I walked up the stairs, half way dragging my body, half way walking.
I turned the shower handle all of the way to the left, making sure it was as hot as possible. With the radio turned up loud, to drown out the waterfall that was soon going to make its way out of my eyes, I started stripping out of my clothes. The song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” by Bob Marley played. As I struggled to get my jeans off, the slip of paper from Kate fell to the floor. I had forgotten all about it. Anxiously I opened the now damp note. It said:

Dear Mystery Girl,
I know you are probably wondering when I had the time to write this whole letter out to you. I wrote it as soon as I saw you today at the party. You were standing talking to this group of people and I went straight to the bathroom stall and began this. Sorry if this is weird and sorry if this got to you late, but you should understand that this is the biggest thing I have ever done and I’m really nervous about giving this to you. There is a party tomorrow night. (1761 Truman St.). At midnight, please come meet me by the oak tree surrounded by stones, located in the back of the house. I’ve never ever been this forward in my life, but I also have never felt this way before. I feel like you will soon become the most important in my person life though and it’s something I have to do. It’s hard to describe, but I’m hoping that you too feel the same way.

Peace in the Middle East,
P.S. seriously. Come. Please. It will be fun.
I’d just officially lost my best friend. But hopefully, I would be gaining a new love by tomorrow night.

I headed down stairs and saw Syd crying. This was bad. But I didn’t do anything, and there was nothing I could do to help. It was her fault she reacted that way. I made sure I walked on the creaky parts of the stairs so she could hear me coming. “Hey,” I said. She wiped her eyes first, then turned around, got up and gave me this really big hug. The tears came again from the both of us then without words we sat miserably throughout “Love and Basketball.” Plain torture. Oddly enough, I wasn’t sad anymore. Instead, I was trying to figure out what I was going to wear to the party tomorrow. I’d have to get Syd to give me a ride home. My car was at home, and so were the other half of my clothes. I guess I’d have to “move out” since we weren’t friends anymore and take my half of clothes I kept at her house.

It was six in the morning, and I hadn’t gotten an ounce of sleep. I decided I’d ask Syd to take me home now. “Syd?” She turned over; her head that was previously being smothered by a big, orange, pillow was now peeking out. Sleep encrusted her eyes and with a thick, groggy voice she mumbled something inaudible. “Syd. Can you take me home? I’ll drive.” She stretched, and then wiped her eyes, picking out all of the crusties.

“Um… yeah.” She got up and went to the bathroom. I assumed she was brushing her teeth. I went to the kitchen and grabbed some cookie dough pop tarts, the only kind she had, and waited. When she finally came down stairs, she was all dressed up.

“You ready? Where are you going?” I asked. She had on her favorite pair of jeans, which fit her very nicely, and a black loose shirt that fell off her shoulders. Her first date outfit.

“I’m going out. What’s it to you?” She tossed the keys to me and we were off. When we arrived, without looking at me, or even waving, she said “Bye,” almost as if she were talking to herself. Then she walked around to the driver’s seat, got in, and left. Ouch. I never thought we’d be here. couldn't’t believe the way she was acting. The ending of our friendship had finally hit me. I ran to the door, fumbling with the keys and let myself in. An earthquake of sobs took over my body and brought me down to the floor. When I awakened, it was dark out. Cr**, the party. First I walked up stairs, not sure if I really wanted to go, then I ran to my room and tore through my closet, trying to find the perfect outfit. No dresses. I didn’t know what kind of party this was but I didn’t want to seem too girly. I had left my favorite jeans at Syd’s house so I went with second favorite, holey, denim jeans, which fit me perfectly. Then I threw on an oversized, white, t-shirt. I realized I was dressed just like my ex best friend. This was my first date.

At a quarter to midnight I arrived at 1761 Truman Street. I waited, trying my best to ease my nerves. I was really doing this. I was really about to take a chance with this girl. I folded, and refolded the paper she had given me in my hands. I checked my watch as a clock somewhere in the distance struck twelve. So many people were here… it would be a very nice environment considering the sound the freshness of the air, and the ample amount of beautiful trees that surrounded the house. But, I was nervous and it was hard to admire everything entirely. As soon as I made it around back I saw the tree. It was beautiful. Then I saw her. She was… breathtaking. I froze, and just watched as she looked around, constantly checking her watch. She was about to leave and I struggled to get her attention so I wouldn’t disappoint her. “Kate!” She didn’t hear me. I walked fast to catch up to her, not running so I wouldn’t attract more attention then I already had. “Kate!” She turned around, but as she did, my toe got stuck on a rock and I tripped and fell down into the dirt. Great. I would be the dorkish one to trip as she tries to get her love’s attention. My love…

“Eb are you okay?” She looked down at me, offering a welcoming hand. She had truly looked worried, but at the same time I felt like she was ready to burst with laughter.

“I’m fine. Thanks.” I took her hand and pulled myself up, consciously brushing off all the dirt. We stood there, our eyes never connecting, even though I desperately tried to make it happen. Then, after the longest moment of silence ever, we both started laughing. “Well then… Nice meeting you again Kate.” A big smile spread across her face.

“About my letter… I’m really sorry if it was too much.”

“No, it’s fine. I feel the same way. That’s why I’m here.”

“Wow. This is just like a dream come true.” She sighed, “I thought you wouldn’t come. I saw you dancing with that guy and I figured you wouldn’t like me, a girl, but there was still a something telling me to take a chance. So that’s what I did. Now that you’re here…” I didn’t know what to say and stood there quiet, looking from her, black, sleeveless t-shirt, to her denim jeans, all the way down to her brown cowboy boots. Then she gasped and said “I’ve got a surprise for you.” Bewildered, I followed as she grabbed my hand and led me through the woods behind the house. We arrived at a place where millions of fire-flies flew around everywhere. “This is my best friend’s party. He always takes his favorite people down here at night. I call it ‘fireflove’ because of the fireflies and because this is like a ‘love spot’ for couples.”
We sat down on a black, fuzzy, blanket I hadn’t realized she was carrying. “I brought this just in case you came because I didn’t know if you would care about getting dirty or not. We should try to get to know each other. I mean that is why you came right?” I laughed and shook my head. “Okay so you go first please.”
“Awww, she said please,” I thought. Guess couldn't’t say no to that. We first started exchanging simple things like favorite colors and what we did in our free time and when we had our first kiss. Then, as the small talk ceased we delve into deeper topics. My fight with Syd was the first thing we talked about. Then I told her about me being raised by a single mom. I told her about my plans to go to Harvard next year, dying to leave New Jersey. I recalled how my dad was never there for me and how I had to witness my sister die in a car accident. She in return explained to me about her struggle with bulimia, which took me by surprise. She told me what it was like to come out to her parents but how she was brave and she’s getting through it.
That’s when I realized that we fit perfectly together. We had both gone through our share of problems and were getting on, if barely, with life today. It was amazing how similar we were. As I watched her in awe, thinking of our possible future together, a lightning bug flew above her head, and landed there; the butt part faced me, as if to say, “kiss my a**.” Like a maniac, I started laughing. I’d never felt so happy in my life. She stared at me. This time our eyes met. Her eyes were golden, with speckles of green. Was I about to do this? I felt her hand on my thigh. I hadn’t known it was there before, but now all I felt was her body heat. Hesitantly, we both leaned in. Do I keep my eyes open or should I close them? I had no idea. Then our lips connected. Her lips were very soft, and the kiss was small, like the moment right before the fireworks start. Then, the fireworks came and it turned to longer and more…I don’t know… passionate kisses. When we finally broke, she looked at me for a second and then stood up raced to the pond, her head facing my direction the whole time. “I bet I’m a better swimmer than you!” She stuck out her tongue, took off her dress and jumped in. I followed right behind her.
That was the best night of my life. I don’t know what’s going to happen later on. But I’m fine right here in the present. I’m not going to worry about Sydney and how crazy she was for reacting the way she did, and I’m not going to worry about having to tell my parents later about being gay. I’m just going to stay right here, taking a walk in the park with her, Kate.

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