I’m blind. I lied. I want a do-over.
Yeah, it’s all true.
“Dude, how are we going to finish our dance?” my partner Jake screams as we pace backstage.
“Shush, I don’t know! And at least pick a gender-neutral exclamation when you are talking to a woman!” I respond, deflecting.
Jake shakes his head, making his curls dance. “We have five minutes before we get on stage and your costume is glued to your face. Bruh, how do you even get yourself into these situations?”
Yeah, so I can’t see anything.
As with everything in my life, I finished my costume just on time, AKA, last minute. It turned out beautiful, by the way. I ran through our routine five times before I attempted to squeeze into the shimmering dress.
I dressed to the top 40 radio hits, wiggling slowly into my dress to the beat, not wanting to tear anything. And that’s when it happened. After five wiggles to Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor,” I noticed the dress wasn’t moving. I wriggled the dress up a little to see if I could get it back over my head. No movement.
This dress was not going on the floor. It was not going anywhere! I yanked at the dress.
“Ouch!” I yelped.
It was stuck. To my eyebrows! The fabric glue I carefully used to secure the sequins betrayed me. It seeped into my eyebrows already, and I could feel it securing itself to my face.
“You told me you would finish your dress last week!” Jake says as he ruffles his hair in frustration.
So yeah, strictly speaking, some might say I lied. The man would not get off my back about it. He kept calling my phone, and every time I picked up, he asked about the dress.
When I did not pick up, he messaged me about the dress. Sadly, Messenger has read receipts.
He would run into me on campus and hound me about the dress. So yes, I had already planned what to wear and bought all of the materials: it was basically ready on Tuesday, in my opinion. And I told him that. The part about it being ready to be done on Tuesday, without the “basically.”
“Well, we are doing this dance one way or other.” I exclaimed, determined.
“Are you serious? You are not planning to deal with the immediate problem at hand?”
“Nope! I’ll figure something out. Let’s do it!” I say. I feel the air for Jake’s arm.
He sighs audibly as I grasp it. “This is going to suck.”
“It’s going to be great!” I lie again. It’s easy when it’s to make other people happy. Easier.
I know exactly what I look like. A shiny silver bodycon dress hanging loosely from my head and shoulders. A white slip on my body and white gym shorts. I just have to convince myself this is a look. It is a look. That’s right: I’m cute.
I think it’s working.
Jake stops walking and shakes his arm out of my grip.
“What the heck, Jake?” I grunt.
“This is your spot,“ he says.
“Oh, snap, we are on stage?”
I can’t see he but I know he is nodding and running to his own spot. The music starts to blare through the speakers.
Well, who says an afro-beat, hip-hop fusion dance can’t go well in a slip. I move my body to the beat. All the last minute practice is working.
I hit my Azonto, I hit that Shoki, I dougie on cue and, bam! I dab like noone’s business. It feels like it’s going pretty well. The crowd cheers despite my trash, I mean, cute outfit.
I am dreading what’s next though.
Jake and I have a partner lift. I take six steps towards where I think he is. I can only pray he is right in place. I lean to the beat, hesitate, then jump.
Pow, I land belly first on the stage, rattling my brain and bruising my stomach. A bit of gas escapes. The crowd goes silent while the music plays on.
It’s official. I want to start over. I look back at all the decisions I ever made in my life that brought me to this point.
I knew I should've chosen apple slices instead of apple sauce on that field trip in third grade.
“It’s ok, keep going, they love you!” I hear Jake say under his breath. “By the way, I was 3 feet to far behind to reach you in time. Sorry, fam.” I can practically imagine a shrug emoji as Jake’s body language right now.
But I don’t mind. Those words of encouragement were all I needed. I jump up and hit my last few moves. Bam, bam, bam, all in time, with gusto, and with the right fluidity.
I hit my final pose. Jake hits his final pose, I imagine. The music stops.
The room is silent.
Then the crowd goes wild!
I hear Jake’s footsteps hurrying towards me. He hooks his arm through mine and we take a bow together.
He guides me backstage.
I hear one, “That girl looked crazy but she dances so good,” before we are all the way back there.
Ok, so that was surprisingly a success.
Now I just gotta figure out how to peel a dress off my face.
“Oh, I know how,” Jake says.
I didn’t realize I said that last thing out loud.
“How?” I ask.
“Well, I thought about it while we were on stage. And-“
Jake places both hands on my face and yanks upward.
“Ahhhhhhh!” I scream as he rips off the dress and my eyebrows with it.