The other day, I was asked to describe what love is during an interview. It was such a simple and random question, but I literally choked for a few seconds. A - I took it as a subtle jab that out of the four of us in the band, I was that one man standing on the side of singlehood. B - How do you fucking describe it without giving too much information about your personal life? C - Why not ask about our upcoming anniversary concert or whatever? So, after regaining my composure, I simply provided a generic but honest-to-goodness answer - it is a bond between two people, a strong attraction, and more importantly, a decision to stick through whatever with the person you chose as your equal. Sure it sounded detached and bland. It even made Jaxon snort because he knew it was a load of bullshit and that I could’ve done better, but no one can deny that those words ring true at some point.
Yes, I had been in love and it came when I was fairly young, but seeing how fucking single I am now, it’s no surprise that nothing came out of it. It even ended in the most painful way. From then on, whenever I’d bitch about it or walk away from someone who was openly flirting with me, most people would keep telling me that I was crazy for thinking that whatever happened at that time was the real deal and that I needed to move on. That there were other women out there for me. I mean I did have a few flings. I go out on dates from time to time, but those dates never progress. They were all purely physical and never intimate. It was like being stuck in a cycle of speed dating and then ending up going home alone because there were zero matches until I actually lost interest altogether. And before anyone calls me out on this, the answer is no, I don’t have high expectations or standards. I’m a very simple man with simple preferences. I just have this thing where I keep comparing stuff. It’s an unhealthy habit, I know, but I can’t shake it off no matter how hard I try.
I’ll let you in on a little secret though. I’ve been a stalker for years. I kept tabs on this one person and I’ve never stopped doing so. Creepy? Maybe so. No one actually knows about this. Not Maddox, not Sky, not even Jaxon who’s the closest to me out of the members of our band. Am I ashamed of my actions? Probably not. The simplest explanation - maybe it’s that one thing that I want to keep to myself which is why I don’t dare say the things I have done or continue to do. As far as anyone else is concerned, I haven’t done anything illegal and I don’t intend to harm this person either. Maybe this is my way of helping or my way of penance. I don’t know. You can call it my addiction.
I looked over to my left in time to catch James trying as discreetly as she can to wipe a fallen tear. I wasn’t surprised at all. James basically finds a lot of things touching and beautiful. She can easily internalize certain emotions anywhere and in anything including inanimate objects which is why she’s a kick-ass songwriter I guess. “I can’t believe Riley and Sydney are missing out on this,” she quietly sighed so as not to disturb anyone. “I’m sure they are,” I chuckled, taking note of the number of people who came to watch. I was pleased to see that there were a lot. In fact, there wasn’t a single seat vacant in the entire theater which meant overall this dance concert was a success.
My head swung to the front when the lights went off and a single spotlight shone at the center of the stage at the same time Sleeping at Last’s version of Already Gone blared. For a minute, I thought the deep intake of breath I heard came from James, but then realization hit when I almost coughed for lack of air. I’ve always known she was beautiful, but up on stage looking like this, she looked ethereal. She was dressed in a black skirted leotard that was see-through from the waist down, with bare feet, and hair smoothly pulled back on a tight ponytail. She then pointed her toe and began to go through the routine with grace and precision. Her face was relaxed but full of emotion. She didn’t need words to convey the story, she only needed to sway and turn using a lot of beautiful lines and movements. She glided back and forth on the stage in complete sync with the music. Her clean movements and intricate style had everyone hanging to their seats. She had been a wonderful dancer back then, but now she’s even more wonderful.
“I think I’ve just become her biggest fan,” James quietly mused as she continued to wipe slow tears coming from her eyes and a surge of pride ran through my entire being. “Debatable, but totally understandable,” I smiled and that earned me a soft slap on the arm. “She’s gorgeous and the way she dances is just so amazing. I think I just found myself a girl crush,” she sighed, completely enthralled. “Ditto,” I whispered back and her head slowly turned to stare at me in disbelief. “Oh wow, Mav... Seriously, I was beginning to think you’ll never find your type. Just an idea, maybe you should ask her out? Later? Yeah?” I was about to give her my answer, but before the words were out, the woman sitting a row before ours turned towards us and shushed the living hell out of us. James and I could only mouth our apologies even though we’re pretty sure the woman didn’t see anything. It was too dark to see anyone’s facial features here, so instead of risking more shushing from other people, James and I opted to settle more comfortably in our seats and continued to watch.
Once the dance concert was done, James and I waited for people to disperse before making our way arm and arm across the theater lobby. A - we both felt that staying inconspicuous was always a wiser option and B - I didn’t want a certain someone to know that I was here. However, if you’re the kind of person who gets shit on by the universe more often than some, such as myself, you’ll eventually figure out that getting what you want is imaginary. Because right there, standing in the middle of the lobby, with a few people surrounding her was Mackenzie Young. More specifically, the childhood sweetheart who ended up tearing me to shreds the year after we got together.