I leave for Morgantown in two days. If you had asked me five months ago, whether I thought I would ever return there, I would have answered probably not. But there's a theater there and I'm getting paid to do what I love. So off I go.
We actually stopped there twice on the last tour. I fell slightly in love with the city, its small town feel. The hotel had the best french onion soup I'd ever eaten. The bars we crawled in and out of were some of the most fun I had in that three months on the road; in one, a night of mountain song - a huge jamboree of men and women sitting in the round, making loud music on whatever instruments they could find. Banjos, violins, guitars, mandolins. Even spoons from the kitchen served as percussion to the rally. The other bar held beer. So much beer. And boys. One particular boy.
The karaoke was loud and all the cast were taking their turns. For the first time in my life, I sang something other than Build Me Up Buttercup, my usual song of choice. I wanted to try something new. To be unafraid. Karaoke unnerves me. It's unrehearsed. You never know what key you're going to be in, what your voice might do. I've never been sure of myself singing in that way, and it reads on stage, even in front of a bunch of drunk college kids and cast mates. So I picked something low, something I could growl into, One Way or Another by Blondie. I didn't think this would be much of a gamble, but just badass enough for passing.
One way or another I'm gonna find ya
I'm gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha
The later it got, the deeper into pitchers we ran. And this was good beer, made right there at the bar; gleaming bronze tanks towering next to us as we drank the cold night away. We made friends with the locals who took their turn screaming songs above the loudspeakers. And I met this boy. I can't remember his name, but he was at the university studying Poli-sci; very much the nerdy type that I tend to go for. A few cast mates who saw what was going on tried encouraging me. This young blondie was an easy target, and he just kept getting closer into my space, but never pushing me.
It was closing time and one of our own was puking in the bathroom. There was no better time for me to escape with an excuse. I don't know why I didn't bring him back with me. He was cute. I would have had fun. But he was definitely beyond inebriated and no man is ever that good. And honestly, I wasn't in the mood to be a teacher that night. And those kinds of boys need to be lead.
The thought did cross my mind though. What if? What if I did bring him back with me? It wouldn't hurt anyone. My tour roomie was gone for those few days so I had my room to myself. But what if I ever came back through this town again? It would be awkward. So I stopped. I didn't even let him kiss me.
And here we are five months later, and I'm actually returning.
And you can bet I'll be going back to those same two bars.
But here's the thing: If I run into him, I might make the same decision I made back in February.
The friends who have known me for a long time would be shocked. To them, I am still the boy-crazy, loud, flirty woman that I was in college. They see me look at a handsome man across the room and assume that I will jump straight for him with all the desperation and pent-up sexual frustration I can muster. But that's not me anymore.
A few weekends ago, I hit it off with a guy. We spent so many hours talking at the bar that my friends had to pull me away. You know you don't have to be like that. You're such an amazing person. I didn't understand. I wasn't doing anything wrong. I wasn't hung up on this guy. Sure, I enjoyed his company, but I wasn't flirting with him incessantly like I used to. Actually, I don't think I flirted with him at all. It was just nice to finally connect with someone without all the awkwardness that usually applies.
Then came the little pin prick: We don't know where you get your confidence from. She meant it in a positive way, that people admire that side of me. But in honesty, a small part of me was crushed. Of course I'm confident. Why wouldn't I be? I'm awesome! Smart, funny, talented. Pretty in my own way. But the underlying thought that I shouldn't naturally feel this way hurt. I may be a fat girl, but that doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing as a woman. I mean, I'm 35 for god's sake. I've been through things that no woman should have to endure.
So I went home alone that night. The old me would have tried harder, would have felt depressed that nothing happened. The person I am now knows better, that I deserve someone who's as interested in me as I am in them. Over the years, I have learned to let go. And quickly too. I'm not one for wasting time or energy. There is so much to do and experience in this life. I will not waste a second. But I will waste a lifetime with the right one when he comes along.