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Flip For It
“Aw crap, I’m almost out of battery.”
“How are we supposed to do a video at the dance, then?”
“I guess we don’t.”
“Oh well – might as well just do this one…”
Kai and myself were sitting on Kai’s front lawn, waiting for his mom to take us to the dance. Of course, we still had to wait for our friend Ardin, but that’s why we were going to make a video while we waited.
“Kai, it’s freezing out here! We’d look all shaky and weird in the video…”
“As long as we tell the audience its cold, shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
“I guess. But what about lighting? It’s really dark!” I was just too nervous to act right now. I was fretting over the following hours, trying as hard as possible to keep my composure for the Winter Ball that evening. My figuring was simple: you can’t get a girl while all shaken and sweaty.
“Your camera phone has a light, doesn’t it? Use that,” Kai said. It was his idea to start making videos and putting them up on the Internet, so I saw why he was so determined to make this one. We had started just a few months earlier and hadn’t gotten much accomplished since. Kai was convinced we would become superstars if we kept going with it. I had decided to let him keep his fantasies though I knew the possibilities were low.
“I think, but again, the battery is low and it might completely die right here-“
“Hey, look!” Kai looked over my shoulder, excited. It was none other than our friend Ardin, sporting a very sleek, black suit. His steps as he walked onto the wet lawn were controlled. It was obvious he was trying not to get anything dirty. “What’s up, Ardin?”
“Not much. Just waiting to get to this thing. How long have you two been sitting out here? You look frozen.” Ardin was a straightforward guy. Not many words slipped past his mouth.
“An hour or so at this point. I’m pretty sure we’ll be going soon,” I stated with confidence, even though the truth was that my suit didn’t include an overcoat and I was feeling the cold badly. I just wanted to get going.
“Don’t be so rushed, Griff! We still have plenty of time. Besides, I think it’s time for our group picture! Your phone still has enough battery for that?” Kai inquired.
“Sure.” With that, I pulled out my phone. We stood motionless as the camera caught us in our fancy suits. I had a green shirt with black vertical stripes around the entire thing – half-sleeve, of course – with simple slacks and dress shoes. My crown, however, was my fedora. This hat completed what I felt to be a very unique and eye-catching ensemble. Kai and Ardin, however, decided to go much more formal with a standard suit-and-tie set-up. Black coats, white full-sleeved shirts, black slacks, standard black dress shoes, a blue tie for Ardin and a red tie for Kai.
“Your camera’s nice, dude! How many mega pixels is that thing?” Kai seemingly wondered to himself. Kai was also a techie, always brushing up on the newest gadgets.
“I don’t know. Like, twenty?” Technology always confused me, so I never bothered with learning those kinds of things.
“Twenty? Yeah, right! Normal digital cameras in this day and age can only go up to-“
“However high you say, ‘O God of Nerds. Now, please, get your mom and let’s go. I’m starting to get frostbite out here.” Ardin never did like the hardcore tech-nerds like Kai. It was truly strange how they ever managed to become friends in the first place.
“Oh shut up Ardin. Just because technology hates you doesn’t mean you can-“
“He might be mean, Kai, but he’s right. It’s like the Antarctic here. We should get going before we get hypothermia.” I had grown impatient as well.
“You can’t ca-“
“KAI!” Ardin and I had both just about reached our breaking points. It was incredibly cold, and I really wanted to go. It was my first high school dance, and that too a formal ball. I was determined to dance with someone.
“I’m going, I’m going, dang.” Kai walked inside to his house, and moments later reappeared with his mother.
“You boys ready to go?” Kai’s mother asked with a smile. I knew what she was thinking. Why are three guys going alone in a group to a formal ball? We had asked ourselves the same question, only to answer each time with the fact that we were so smooth, we could easily pick up any girls we wanted at the dance itself. I wondered about this as we got into Kai’s mother’s sedan and backed out of the driveway.
The mass of kids pouring into the gym door was hint enough that we arrived with perfect timing. Kai, as per usual, got excited.
“Let’s go! Tonight is the night we get girlfriends!”
“Kai, you love girls and you love robots. Why not make yourself a robo-girlfriend?” Ardin poked fun at Kai. Everyone laughed, including Kai’s mom.
“I’ve considered the idea, but after watching The Stepford Wives, I dropped it. Creepy stuff, man.” We laughed harder and joined the mass of people. I noticed instantly that many were coming in groups, both guys and girls. My nerves started to relax a little bit.
The gymnasium was no longer a place to throw dodge balls. Seemingly overnight, it had gone from the sweaty house for the basketball team to an elegant hall, adorned with white curtains, streamers, balloons and even a little confetti. The bright lights that came from near the entrance door reflected off of every white surface, sending sparkles of light around the entire room, almost giving the illusion of snow falling gently to the ground. The music as of now was slow and soft, hardly audible above the hum of people about the room. The scent changed to different colognes and perfumes as more couples passed by, with some having obviously sprayed an overgenerous amount. It was the perfect set-up for a formal Winter Ball.
“Very romantic, no?” Kai said with a small touch of a French accent.
“Yeah, really. Someone went completely insane with these decorations. At least they didn’t do some crazy themed dance, like neon lights or anything. That would have been stupid,” Ardin criticized, even though I thought it would have been kind of fun. Kai seemed to agree.
“Ardin, you’re so out of style. A neon dance with flashing neon lights would be so cool!”
“Shouldn’t we move? We’re kind of in the middle of the doorway,” I interjected. People struggled to get in around us.
“Right. Our bad. So what do we do now?” Ardin asked. I didn’t have a single clue.
“Duh! We go dance with girls!” Kai seemed confident.
“Alright then, tough-guy. Go ask a girl to dance,” challenged Ardin. We both knew Kai was all talk, always saying crazy things but never acting out on them. It was really true for all three of us, but Kai just seemed to do it most. However, something was different about him tonight. I saw the doubt in his eyes about his own words, but then a split-second later, it was gone.
“You know what? I will!” Kai marched away into the crowd with the friendliest smile he could muster.
“He’s a dead-man.”
“You have to admit, Ardin. The kid has more guts than both of us. I think I know why, too.”
“And just why is that, Griff?” Ardin didn’t seem to believe me.
“Well, we’re here, and we’re not going to get anything done by leaning against the wall. If we’re going to have fun, we have to take a chance.” I gained confidence in the fact that I was able to make-up such a good answer on the spot.
“Know something? You’re right. I guess we shouldn’t just wait here.” Moments later, Ardin had disappeared into the crowd as well. While trying to spot him in the mass of people, I saw Kai chatting up a couple of girls across the room.
“Wow. Kai actually did it…” I muttered to myself, somewhat astonished that all-bark-no-bite Kai managed to pull it off.
“Excuse me?” A familiar voice broke my stare. I looked up. “Oh, Griff? I didn’t recognize you under your silly hat! How are you, when did you get here?” Maya. Oh my, Maya. What a girl she is. Beautiful, with simple and smooth facial features. Flowing black hair, tan skin and deep blue eyes. Her dress this evening was stunning as well. Nothing fancy or show-y. Just what seemed to be the most elegant dark green dress, or any color for that matter, I’d ever seen. I had never asked directly, but her name and face made also me believe she had an Asian background. She hugged me tight. We’d always been good friends. Lately, though, I’d wanted something a little more. “You’re here with the guys, aren’t you?” She always referred to Ardin, Kai and myself as “the guys.” We were her best guy friends, though I had always been just a little bit closer to her than the other two. At least, that’s what I liked to believe.
“Oh, yeah. They went out girl hunting. I think Kai over there actually got someone too.” I pointed out Kai, who was now dancing with one of the girls he was talking to earlier.
“Wow, he’s done pretty well for himself. What about Ardin?”
“He walked away just a minute ago. Haven’t seen him.” I now felt embarrassed, realizing just now how much of a dork I looked like standing by myself against a wall, watching the crowd of dancers.
“What about you, Mister? You’re just standing here all by your lonesome? C’mon Romeo! Juliet isn’t going to come to you!” I was hoping she just did.
“You’re not here with anyone but your friends either! Hypocritical much?” We both chuckled.
“Yes, but I’m a girl. We can go in groups wherever we want and it doesn’t look weird. So, ha!” She playfully stuck out her tongue. I saw now, on closer inspection, she hadn’t really put on make-up either. Such natural beauty, of both face and soul, and I couldn’t have it. She was a gentle girl, but outgoing. She was fourteen, like me, so she made fun of people, but you could always tell she was just messing around. Maya never made anyone angry.
I started to get nervous. I burned up when I got nervous, and that made me sweat. I knew I had to get out of there.
“Well, fine. You can find me a girl if you think I need to have one. Can I go to the bathroom first, though?” I couldn’t think of a better excuse. She was sure to see right through it.
“I suggest you do! The worst thing that could happen is that you pee yourself while dancing with the girl of your dreams!” Always full of reassurance, Maya was. With my confidence taking an even sharper nose-dive, I got out of the gym as fast as I could and darted into the bathroom. Lucky for me, it was empty.
I stumbled over to the sink and started splashing cold water on my face. I was sweating bullets and it was showing. The bright lighting and sparkles seemed to have hid my condition from Maya, but everything was clear in here. My thick black hair and black hat probably weren’t helping either.
“Get a grip, Griff. You’ll pull through somehow,” I mumbled aloud to myself. I always did this when my nerves go the best of me. It helped me calm down. The thought of Maya in all of her magnificence kept coming back into my head. I kept trying to calm myself down, but it wouldn’t work.
I took refuge in a rare clean stall, as people had started coming through and I didn’t want to look too weird. It had easily been twenty minutes, if not more, since I had made my exit. I was missing what I hoped to be the best night of my life because I was too nervous to take a chance. If I messed up, I could ruin a perfectly good friendship. Yet if I succeeded, I could gain something very precious. The words I had made-up and told Ardin near the beginning of our dance started to replay in my head. Had I gotten it right? Would I not get what I wanted without taking a chance? I couldn’t risk it. It was too much to risk! Though, if it worked, I’d get Maya. If it didn’t I may just look so stupid and embarrassed, I might loose her forever. The choice went back and forth in my head.
I did then something that, in retrospect, may not have been the best idea to make a decision like this. I pulled a quarter out of my pocket. “If this quarter is to land on “tails,” I will not take any risks tonight and walk away from this dance. If this quarter lands on “heads,” however, I will march outside, and take a chance.” These words I bored into my mind. I would not stray from the decision of the coin. I figured if I did, if I were to not follow the decision made by something so fair and un-bias, then I probably had a strong enough opinion to choose for myself anyways. I flicked the coin into the air and watched it tumble for what seemed to be an eternity. It hit the ground, and my decision was made. I walked calmly out of the stall, so as to not draw any extra attention to myself, washed my hands and face, and walked back into the gym.
My eyes scanned slowly around, trying to find the girl of my dreams. However, Ardin and Kai decided to interrupt.
“Looking for Maya?” Kai inquired with a wink.
“Wait, how did you-“
“Maybe next time you shouldn’t mumble to yourself in the bathroom,” Ardin said, laughing. “I walked in to uh, do some business, and I heard you muttering to yourself in the next stall. Something about “Maya” and “dance” and “risk.” Didn’t take a genius to put it together.”
“I was mumbling in the stall?” I was shocked. How could I have been so careless? Anyone could have heard and told Maya. Thankfully, Ardin and Kai already knew about my feelings for her, but had it not been Ardin to hear me, I don’t know what I would have done.
“Pretty loudly, too. So maybe not mumbling. Just talking to yourself.”
“And you couldn’t have told me so I could stop?” I was angry, but knew it wasn’t his fault.
“Chill, Griff! We didn’t tell. Besides, we can tell you where she is. Go fast, though. Girl like that is not going to stay alone all night!” Kai smiled and pointed to where she was standing.
“Ugh, you’re right. I’ll be mad at you two later. Wish me luck.” I almost started to float over to her. She was standing alone, fiddling with the straw in her drink. This was my perfect chance.
“Oh there you are! What, did you get constipated or something?”
“That’s a very pretty picture, Maya, thanks.” I rolled my eyes at her and laughed. “Listen, I was doing some thinking-“
“On the toilet?” She asked, almost seeming to be serious.
“It’s quiet! You can get some good thinking done in there!”
“Relax! I do the same thing.” She smiled her perfect smile and chuckled. She was a strange girl, and that might have made her more attractive to me.
“Anyways, I was just thinking, we should dance together.” This sounded less strange in my head. “I mean – you can teach me to dance!”
“Oh, yeah. Sure.” Maya had a smile on as I asked her to dance, but it faded as soon as I told her all I wanted was a dancing lesson. I saw this, and thought that I had betrayed the decision of the coin. I needed to ask her to dance, not for a lesson!
“You know what? No, I know how to dance.”
“Wait, what?” Maya was confused.
“Maya, I…oh forget it. Maya, will you dance with me?” I could feel myself turning bright red, and saw her smile come right back.
“…Yes, Griff. Let’s dance.”
I had just noticed that they were actually playing music, and that too it was something we could actually ballroom dance to. I took her hand in mine, and we made our way into the wave of couples. The truth was, though, I didn’t exactly know how to ballroom dance, so I still got my lesson. After that, however, we started flying across the room, our motions in synch. From what I was later told, it was very beautiful.
The couples had spread out, and we were center stage in the middle of a giant circle. Everyone began gazing, every girl jealous that boy she was dancing with wasn’t as good as I was, every boy wanting to switch places with me. Yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It was just Maya and myself, gracefully making our way around the floor, the light making us seemingly glow. Everyone else didn’t exist.
“Please tell me you’re nervous too, Griff. You seem so confident, it’s hard to tell” Maya whispered into my ear.
“You have no idea, Maya.”