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The Love of Different


My first love was in middle school, the fall of seventh grade. He wasn't a guy from my school. My friends and I must have been filled with the want for change, because we danced with many guys that night. We were actively seeking different. Consequently, we had a couple of rules we followed that night: other people would pick out your clothes; other people would do your make up; other people would do your hair. Nobody was going as themselves. Shockingly this wasn't a costume party, we just wanted change. My philosophy (not that I knew everyone else's at the time…) was that I was going to have fun with people who didn't know me. For one night I was going to be a different person (or try to be).

The afternoon before the dance I got ready with a bunch of friends at Caroline's house. The first thing we did when we got there was figure out what everyone was going to wear. We all dumped out what we had brought into a pile. A problem appeared. Looking at the mass of clothing it appeared at first that nobody would be trading clothes; that everyone would have to wear what they brought. All sorts of teenaged articles of clothing covered the bed. All sorts of sizes, colors, and shapes of clothing you could imagine were quickly everywhere as we tore through the pile of clothing seeing what we could find. Everyone mutually decided that I would be the one who needed the most help getting ready and deciding what to wear. My clothing consisted of a tank-top of Caroline's that was entirely too big (but tied in the back so you couldn't tell by looking at it), a blue button down that I brought with me (unbuttoned and worn over the tank-top), and a jean skirt that I thought was too small (I had to be convinced that it wasn't too tight or too short), but my friends dressed like me that night, wearing semi fitting clothes.

After we were all satisfied with our clothing choices, we crowded into the bathroom that adjoined with Caroline's bedroom and we all crammed around the mirror. Curling irons and straightening irons were plugged in to heat up. It was again mutually agreed upon that I would go first. Everyone (except me) agreed that I should have my hair curled. Unknown to them, my hair doesn't really cooperate when you're trying to curl it, and it ends up looking frizzy as opposed to having actual curls; but I let them win that argument. I let them win the argument again when they wanted to put make up on me. When they were finished with me I watched them finish getting ready.
A few hours later we arrived at the dance. Before we even walked in we knew this was going to be different from all our other dances. I remember it was raining, and we made a break for the door. We were breathless. From excitement, from running, from the loud bass upstairs. Checking our names off on the list, we walked upstairs where it was hot, loud, dark, and smelled like guys. We were early. The other girls from our school had yet to arrive and we were surrounded by guys. Guys we didn't know. For our young age of thirteen, it was everything we could have hoped for. We took advantage of it. My friends went from guy to guy, getting phone numbers and emails, writing down their own information on Poland Spring© water bottle wrappers to give to the guys they danced with.

A while into the dance Emma, one of the friends I had come with, came over and said, "Can you come to the bathroom with me?" I told her I didn't want to go right now. "But it's really … important." I sighed and followed her to the bathroom. We went to the mirror and look at ourselves. Then I looked at her. "Well? What did you bring me here for?" She turned to me. "This guy, Rolando, is stalking me. I danced with him once and now he won't leave me alone." I smiled. "Really?" "Yeah," she says. "He's probably waiting outside the bathroom right now for me to come out." I went to check. A first look at the guy outside the bathroom suggested nothing suspicious, but I kept watching him and noticed that he was pacing back and forth as if waiting for someone. Yes, he was her stalker. We made a run for it back upstairs to lose him and start dancing. A few minutes later Caroline said so me, "Looks like Emma's not the only one with somebody interested in her." As I turned around I saw a blond guy in a baseball cap starting at me. I tried not to make eye contact with him and I turned back around and continued the conversation I was having with Caroline. The next thing I knew the guy that was staring at me was right behind me and Caroline did a disappearing act and left me. Alone. With him.

The entire time we dance, Fields of Gold by Sting is playing. The room was hot and I could feel his sweaty hands on my back. We talked about the weather and didn't know what to say to each other. The conversation went in circles. My head was spinning; maybe from the conversation, maybe from the hot room. At the end of the dance we exchanged emails. When my dad came to pick me up at the end of the dance I told him it was the best night ever and I thought I was really truly happy.

The day after the dance my friends thought it was the best night ever. A year later we looked back on it and realized it wasn't really that great. This year we looked back on it and realized how fake we were, how fake it all was. We could have been part of a music video for "Waiting for Superman" by Daughtry. Anybody could have looked at either of us and thought that, "She’s waiting for Superman, to lift her up and take her anywhere; Show her love and climbing through the air." We had the same mindset as the girl from the song. We were waiting for something that wasn't going to come. The guys we danced with, we stopped talking to after a couple of weeks. We don't remember them. They don't remember us. We tried too hard to not be ourselves. My first love? Well, maybe it was love or maybe it wasn't, but it all started when I was pretending to be somebody else, and as time went on, I realized that I needed to be myself and that changing yourself for a person that you think you love it not the right way to go about it.



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