Joseph didn't like to see me hurt.
Knowing that I loved contra, and it being a Thursday, he asked if he would see me there. I figured a night of dancing would be good for my soul, so I promised him that he would and asked if he needed a ride.
He didn't need a ride; Azalea would be taking him. Of course.
I wasn't going to let that get me down. I was going dancing anyway and I was going to like it! So there.
I drove to Warren Wilson with the music of Josh Garrels reassuring me of the Father's Love, left my car in a church parking lot near campus, and marched myself to the dance hall with determination.
Part of me wanted to hide, but no sooner had I stepped in the door and paid my entrance fee, then an old friend I had known since middle school scooped me up and spun me around. Able. Silly, dear one.
I had arrived in the at the beginning of a waltz, which he drew me into with his usual comforting boldness and ease. Amidst our whirling and prancing, there was conversation. He had known me long enough to know when something was up.
"Oh, I like a boy, Able. You know that never goes well!"
"Is he here?"
"Yeah, he came with Azalea. I'm like 88% sure that they're goin' out or whatever it is that kids do these days"
"Here, you take the lead and show me where he is. Squeeze my hand when we waltz past him."
"Okay, let's go."
It took me a few spins, but we got there and I gave Able a squeeze.
"Ooo, not bad Sarah! So when are you going to tell him that you're into him?"
"Shhh! Able! I can't do that! What about inevitable rejection? What about Azalea?"
"Pshhh, if you want him, he's your's! And if he turns you down, you're too good for him anyway!"
"Thank you, friend, you're too good to me!"
At the end of the waltz, I was sitting on the floor talking to old friends and was unexpectedly tackled by Joseph who landed mostly on me in some kind of careening half hug maneuver. He took me away for a dance. And then another, and another.
Whenever I would meet Able in a Four Person Hey or some such, he would wink at me and nudge me closer to Joseph "accidentally".
I ducked out onto the steps outside to breathe. It was almost time to go. People were exchanging farewell embraces and walking out into the cold with their hands in each other's pockets. I went back inside to collect my purse and coat and shoes, hoping I could say goodbye to Able and sneak out before Azalea noticed me. I didn't know what to say to her or what I was even feeling at that point.
Too bad for me, Azalea was standing in front of the door. There was no getting around her.
"So, I was thinking that you're one of Joseph's friends, and I'm one of Joseph's friends, and we should totally hang out sometime! Just me and you! Wanna?"
"Um.. yeah, sure.", I didn't totally hate the idea. She was really sweet, and besides, I still had her shoes.
"Cool! How about tomorrow night?"
"Tomorrow night? I have to go see my friend Yesica tomorrow night..."
"How about Saturday night?"
"I'm going to see another friend, Meriah, that night"
"Okaaaay...", she was looking a bit irritated at this point, "How about Sunday night?"
"Sunday night I have church..."
"Ugh! You have so many friends! Monday night?"
I was beginning to feel as if hanging out with her wasn't really something I had a choice about, so I agreed to meet her on the 2nd floor of the University Center on Monday night.
"Great! See you there! Oh, and... don't bring Joe, ok? Or anyone else? Let's just make it about us!"
And then she was gone.