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November 3, 2013
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Part One

Drip. Drop. Drip. The drops of water fall in sequence. As they always have fallen. As they always will fall. As the vinyl curtain pulls away, a familiar and eternal sequence unfolds through the ebbing fog of steam. My towel is removed from its familiar hook, and I am dried in an order bound by routine-- hair, chest, legs, arms, then back. A long day of meeting the demanding obligations of high school has made this short procedure an escape to the comfortable-- the familiar. I am plunging deep into what I have been told is the most important year of my life so far. Everything is new, different, unique. I am surging forward, sometimes without the proper guidance or mindset to do so.

As I stand on the cold tile floor of the steamy room, my mind drifts from the intense engagement of a time of academic rigor to the carefree romantic explorations of a spring only several months ago-- a night that serves as a link in the looping chain of my life. As my thoughts turn, I open the bathroom door and step...

Part Two

Listen. Kyle has come unstuck in time on the night of May 31, 2013…

Over the threshold. Wrapped in my towel, my preparations for the sophomore dance have officially begun. My clothes are folded carefully and hung over my door. Careful preparations...

Kohls. A shopping trip. Robin’s egg blue? Or cerulean? Choices hang in the air like steam. Over the loud and conflicting opinions of my mother, I navigate the numerous choices. A robin’s egg blue shirt and a pair of stark-white pants. I am determined to look the best that I can. I need to be secure in my appearance and I need to feel proud of something. I have to show strength, and I won’t be able to find it by my side as I had expected…

Pictures. An arcane shuffle and positioning of bodies to be digitally captured and distributed on Facebook for eternity. Getting out of the car (I wanted to drive), the product of hours of makeup, clothes selection, and hair-styling stand before me. A figure in a blue dress stands out like a laser to my eyes. My heart pangs, reminiscent of a breakup not so long ago. I turn away. Where is my date? Late of course…
Six weeks ago. Every buzz my cell phone makes drives a sickened feeling into my stomach. A terse exchange unfolds over the cell towers. It’s not working. I’m so sorry. I don’t have feelings anymore. All I want to do is cry. And I do. A lot.

I jump back into the picture-taking fray. In the midst of the shuffle of pictures, I am a pawn in a game. Smile, look this way, move closer together-- instructions barked at us from all fronts. I catch a glimpse of a girl in a shimmering green dress. I was her date to her prom just a few weeks ago, and yet I have another girl next to me now taking pictures. She is a pretty girl and a good date. It was nice for her to have come with me, but all I can feel is discomfort. How did I end up here with her when there are two other girls that I would rather come with? Unease, guilt, and self-pity again seize me again. I shut my eyes and skip to the dance floor…

Bodies are again shuffling, but now wildly to the pounding beat of Miley Cyrus. The gyrating of 300 teenage bodies heats the air over the “dancefloor” of the West Cafeteria to a temperature of Saharan proportions. I duck out to the hallway where I suck down yet another pint-sized bottle of water, and mop off my sweat. A neglected table of chicken fingers draws me near and I spend the next few minutes eating and contemplating. This occasion that I have waited so long for, dreading, anxiously awaiting, and preparing for is just another sweaty, impersonal school dance. My body cools and I dive back into the action of the dancing.

A slow dance has just come on. Like the stroke of a clock at midnight, my date appears out of the darkness with my group of friends, and we rock to the slow music. I might have chosen this as my happiest moment-- my slow, rocking embrace with my date at the dance. That moment only lasted for what seemed like an instant, and then my restless eyes begin to glance around. I make eye-contact with my date to the prom and smile. We speak without words.

Fast forward. I am at a party after the dance. More music, but this time I don’t feel compelled to move. I sink back into the couch and attempt some conversation. My date is drawn away and I feel lonely yet again. I drift back to the slow dance. The moments of the night all revolve around that one dance where I felt secure and happy. A small chat with my prom date ends the night on a happy note and I return home to get some rest as AP Subject tests loom in the morning.

Part Three

I am back in my room wrapped in my towel, in the cool of October. The May night is gone. My mind is churning, processing the details of my controlled visit to my sophomore dance. That night and its events taught me the importance of remembering the past as well as focusing on the happy times in life. Reliving the anxieties and discomforts of the night made me realize how self-destructive insecurity can be. Moving forward past my adolescent angst helped me evolve and grow as a person. I felt confined that night and manipulated by forces beyond my control. Some people call it fate, but I reject that notion of an invisible force that dominates our lives. The ends to our efforts in life may be out of our control, but our only choice is to be the best people we can be in order to try.

And life goes on.

And so it goes.

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