Everything that happened and every way that we grew led us to this moment.
Levi and I have written 12 letters back and forth by now. We're quickly building a rapport with each other and finding a friend in each other. We've talked about a few deeper things, but we've kept it pretty light up until this point.
After one rough day, however, I was finally ready to turn to Levi for support and a (metaphorical) shoulder to lean on . . .
This next chapter is only half of the Rough Day, but I happen to think it's a bit of a "page turner." And for those of you who want the whole story right away, never fear! Chapter 7 is already available to read.
Chapter 6: Rough Day, Part I
As I pulled up to my friend Jordan's* condo, I breathed a deep sigh. Partly, I was refreshed from the break and ready to have a fun night before starting the second semester. Partly, I was thinking about Levi and how I was actually a little down about not getting to write to him in the upcoming evening. And partly, I was thinking that I still had months left to go before school was over. Ugh.
Sometimes teachers are worse than students.
Before leaving Kansas City, I'd written to Levi (in letter #11, specifically) that I was headed to Wichita for a New Year's Eve get-together at Jordan's and was going to drive home to my little town that night. It gave him a little twist in his stomach that I was going to a New Year's party at a guy friend's house, but he was also very optimistic about my character. He decided not to worry until after I wrote back to him.
When I arrived at Jordan's, it was just me for awhile. I helped him make some food trays and set my purse down in his room. He'd opened the door from the kitchen to his garage, which he'd cleaned out completely. It was going to be our dancing area, and I was totally excited about it. We hooked up a little disco light on the ceiling of the garage, and I plugged my ipod into his stereo. I had my own dance tunes ready to go.
My plan for the evening? Mingle a bit with the people I knew (which might not be too many), dance a bunch in the garage (which would hopefully be absent of any guys who wanted to dance with me), sip on some champagne at midnight, and then drive the three hours back to A-town. I felt good about my plan. I would enjoy New Year's, get some time in with a friend I hadn't seen for awhile, and get home early.
As guests started to trickle in to Jordan's place, it became clear that my original prediction was correct. I really didn't know anyone. That wasn't a terrible thing though, so I greeted people and spent most of the first half of the party in the garage dancing along to some good tunes by myself. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I like dancing on my own. I do it every day while cleaning house.
Eventually, some people arrived who I did know, so I headed back inside and played some games with them. You know, things like Catch Phrase. As I was wrapping up a round, Jordan pulled me aside and asked if he could talk to me privately for a second. We headed in to his room.
"So, I have a friend coming tonight," he said. "Her name is Tracy* and she's not going to know anyone here. I used to work with her. She's had a few problems in the past and she's been burned by a lot of people. I don't think she'll fit in very well, so I was wondering if you'd be willing to be friendly and make her feel welcome?"
"Oh, sure," I said. "No problem. Thanks for asking!"
I felt good after he asked me that. It was nice to know that he thought of me as a warm and friendly enough person for someone who might be an outcast. That's something I strive for anyway.
About ten minutes later this girl, Tracy, walks in the door. I could tell right away that she was one tough cookie. Her shaved head and leather would definitely be the kind of thing that would put people off. Jordan greeted her at the door, and her half-lidded and wobbly hug made it clear that she'd already had plenty to drink for the evening.
"Hey, MB, this is Tracy," Jordan said as he steered her over to me by the fireplace.
"Hey, Tracy! Nice to meet you," I said, my hand held out.
"Heeeeey," she slurred, taking my hand and holding on to it. "You're really hot. Are you straight?"
"Oh, um, yeah, I am," I said, slipping my hand out of hers and trying to smile casually at her. I stayed with Jordan and Tracy and her girlfriend for a few more minutes, making small talk and keeping a smile on my face. Tracy didn't take her eyes off of me for the whole conversation, however, so I eventually found an excuse to head over to the refreshment table.
As I milled around the party for the next hour, I noticed Tracy out of the corner of my eye. She'd move toward my area and her girlfriend would get her attention to pull her away. She'd head for more beer, and her girlfriend would try to stop her. Things were getting pretty tense between the two of them, and I couldn't stop feeling like there were eyes boring into the back of my head. I retreated to the garage and danced in the cold for awhile, trying to forget the acute discomfort inside.
The New Year rolled around, and I toasted with some champagne in the main room with everyone. We all cheered and smiled at each other. Avoiding any possibility of a hug or a kiss from someone, I ducked into Jordan's room to grab my phone from my purse and text a quick message to my family. As I passed the open door to Jordan's bathroom, I saw Tracy and her girlfriend in the doorway, clearly having a heated discussion. I sent my texts quickly and got out of there.
Soon after that, Tracy and her girlfriend left the party, much to my relief. I hung around chatting with people and messing around on the piano for about half an hour, and then I grabbed my purse, ready to head back to A-town. As I felt around in the bottom of my purse for my phone, I realized it wasn't there. My purse felt weirdly empty, but I didn't think much of it.
After a more thorough search, I realized that my phone was gone. Nowhere to be found. Remembering Tracy in the bathroom, I got a sneaking suspicion. I found Jordan and told him that my phone was missing. The fallen look on his face immediately told me that he also suspected it was a lot more than lost. He pulled out his phone and tried texting and calling Tracy. No answer.
Frustrated and dejected, I went ahead and left to go home. I had insurance on my phone, after all, so I'd just report it as stolen and get a replacement. I was ready to be out of there anyway. I needed gas before I made my way home, so a few miles away from Jordan's place I pulled into a gas station. Feeling around in my purse, my heart almost leapt out of my throat. I shoved my hand around in the bottom of the bag, but the worst had happened. My wallet was gone too.
*Names have been changed
Next Chapter (Chapter 7: Rough Day, Part II) Previous Chapter (Chapter 5: Groundwork)