Saturday, October 20, 2012
Jordyn straddled her surfboard, looking out at the horizon. It was just before 6:00 am, the next morning, and she wanted to catch a few waves before her six-hour dance session with Miss Victoria. She’d snuck out of the hotel room, Zara and Alice still sleeping, snatched her surfboard, and taken a bus to Moon Bay Beach.
This was her favorite spot, at her favorite time of the day. Barely twilight, the horizon was a slight pink, shining a purple reflection over the water. Just enough light to surf.
No one else was on the beach this early. This part of the beach rarely got surfers or beachgoers anytime of the day, much less before dawn. That was why Jordyn had loved it so much. When she lived in Moon Bay Beach, she would sneak down here every morning before school, if only just for thirty minutes. The ocean was so much a part of her, it didn’t feel right not to touch it just one time a day.
When her parents told her they were moving, she couldn’t imagine living away from this. But now, she couldn’t believe she’d not only managed in Cedarwood away from the ocean, but she was beginning to thrive. She thought about Cole, about Natalie and her new life. And she missed them.
“I’m not surprised you’re out here.”
Jordyn turned around, startled when she heard a familiar voice behind her. Shay was paddling up on her own board.
“What are you doing out here?” Jordyn asked, her hand on her chest.
“Are you kidding?” Shay asked. “This place is the best spot in all of Moon Bay Beach for surfing. After you moved, I started coming out here a lot, and it’s really an amazing place.”
Jordyn smiled. “Yah, it is.”
“Yah? Oh my goodness, I thought I’d lost my surfer girl!” Shay leaned over, hugging Jordyn so violently, both their boards tipped over, dunking them into the cool salty water.
“Shay!” Jordyn laughed, splashing her friend with water. She hoisted herself back onto the board, just in time to see a swell, just close enough Jordyn could catch it. She paddled out, whipped her board around, and jumped to her feet, riding the perfect wave all the way out, pulling a few tricks along the way.
Shay was clapping when Jordyn came in. “Looks like you still got it. Pennsylvania hasn’t completely sucked the California out of you.”
Jordyn smiled. “This is my favorite thing in the world.”
Shay stretched out on her board on her stomach. “So tell me the truth, Jordyn. Do you really miss it here?”
“Of course I do. I miss you, I miss this. Waking up before dawn in Cedarwood isn’t as meaningful as it is here.”
“But?” Shay asked. “And don’t say there’s no but. There’s definitely a but.”
“But I sort of like Cedarwood, too,” Jordyn confessed. “It’s so, I don’t know, homie. The people are so nice, and of course there’s Cole.”
“Would you come back if you could?”
Jordyn wasn’t sure if she wanted to answer that question. Leaving Cedarwood after she’d gotten so used to her life there was almost at the par of leaving San Diego to start with. Sure, there was Shay here, and the ocean. But in Cedarwood she had Cole, she had Natalie and the girls, Alice, Erin and Bethany. Not to mention she didn’t eat sleep and breath dance. She’d even found herself looking forward to seeing her very first snow.
“I understand,” Shay said. “You couldn’t leave Cole, right?”
Jordyn smiled. “I wish more than anything Cedarwood and Moon Bay Beach were closer. Or you and your mom could move to Cedarwood?”
Shay laughed. “Please. That would never happen.”
“You should come visit. You could meet Cole.”
“We definitely have to get something set up. So what are you up to today.”
Jordyn frowned. “A six-hour private with Miss Victoria. I’m learning a solo for a competition they’re going to in Pittsburgh. She says it’s perfect for me and can’t bear to give it to anyone else,” she finished with an eye roll.
“You can dance for her while you go to that dance school in Cedarwood?” Shay asked.
Jordyn shrugged. “I mean, yeah. It’s not like we compete at Miss Maggie’s. She has an audition set up for me at this prestigious school in Philadelphia. I’d live there, so it’s basically, I would live for dance. My whole life would revolve around it.”
“Well, what are you going to do about it? Are you going?”
“Hell no. I’m not leaving Cedarwood just after I got used to it. And for more 24/7 dancing? No thanks. I’ll have to find a way to tell my mom without ripping her heart out of her chest.”
“She’s your mom, Jor. She wants you to be happy. I’m sure she’ll understand if dance no longer makes you happy.”
Jordyn raised her eyebrows. “Me dancing makes my mother happier than anything in the world. Like, literally. You should have seen her face when Miss Victoria brought up that audition. It was like the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”
“Will going to Philadelphia to dance all day make you happy?”
Jordyn sighed. Of course it wouldn’t. But that wasn’t going to make breaking her mother’s heart any easier.
“Jordyn, watch those feet! Since when do you have sickled feet? Do it again!”
Jordyn inhaled, trying to catch her breath, clutching her sides as Miss Victoria crossed the dance floor to the boom box.
She kept her mouth shut, because even though she wasn’t Victoria’s student anymore, she wouldn’t say anything out of place. Miss Maggie didn’t care about sickled feet, and quite frankly Jordyn didn’t dare stress over them anymore. Her new life didn’t revolve around dance and while being in the studio with Victoria, being back on her level didn’t feel too horrible, she felt out of place, and not quite motivated.
Victoria sighed. “Jordyn. You’re a wonderful performer. Your technique is top notch. You haven’t had sickled feet since you were eight. Now, I’ve spoken with your mother, and while I’m sure the Cedarwood Dance School is well enough for the other girls, you are so much more talented than that. No offense to your teacher, er, Martha, but it’s a fact. You belong in Philadelphia, Jordyn. But not with sickled feet. Now, let’s run this again.”
And like a good little girl, Jordyn nodded and got into place waiting for Miss Victoria to start the music.
She had no complaints about this piece. Miss Victoria wasn’t kidding when she said this was her masterpiece. The dance was amazing, and if Jordyn executed it well, it could very well win first place.
Set to Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, it was a beautiful contemporary number, one of the more difficult ones Victoria had ever given Jordyn. The more she ran it, the happier she got with it. Her favorite part was a side aerial into three a la seconds, into a plié, and into an illusion turn. If she could keep her feet from sickling and get her lines back up to par, it had potential to be a great performance.
“Good job!” she shouted as Jordyn went into her final turn combo. “Hold it, Jordyn, hold on to it, aaaaaaannnnd hit!” She beamed, clapping. “There’s my Jordyn Hamilton! What an excellent run! I am so proud you’re going to be competing under my name!”
Jordyn found herself smiling. She felt amazing after that. So she hadn’t strayed as far from her comfort zone as she thought she’d gone. After her muscles had gotten back into routine, she was back. But it didn’t change how she felt about dancing 24-7.
After talking to Cole about it last night, and Shay this morning, she’d decided she couldn’t keep her mother on false hope any longer. Same for Miss Victoria, who was gonna faint when Jordyn confessed to her she wasn’t keen on dancing any longer. But she hoped they’d both support her in what she wanted to do for herself.
Of course, Jordyn would play it safe and wait until after the competition in Pittsburgh before she broke the news.
“Jordyn, you’ve done a wonderful job,” Victoria said proudly. “I’m regretful our reuinion is over. But your mom has assured me she’d work with you as much as possible until the competition to have you ready. Honey, I’ll keep in touch.”
Jordyn smiled and nodded. “Thanks, Miss Victoria.”
As she packed her dance bag, her old competition team began to file in for rehearsal. Spotting her, most of them rushed over in surprise.
“Jordyn!” her closest dance friend, Alana, said, hugging her. “What are you doing back?”
“Just visiting,” Jordyn said simply, hoisting the bag over her shoulder. There was no reason to tell the girls she was dancing a solo at their competition. These girls competed together, and they were a team, but when it came down to it, with solos, they competed against each other, and after leaving the studio, she wasn’t sure they’d be too happy with Victoria giving her a solo.
“Jordyn’s performing I Will Always Love You at the competition in Pittsburgh Thanksgiving weekend,” Victoria told the girls proudly.
Or, maybe they would know about it.
Their reactions at first were to stare blankly at Jordyn, then came the fake congratulations. But she knew they were jealous and extremely unhappy, so she said quick goodbyes and rushed out of the studio to find her mother waiting.
“Hi,” Zara said with a smile. “How was it?”
“It’s a beautiful piece,” Jordyn said honestly, following her mother out of the studio.
“I know, I watched the DVD earlier today. I’m excited she gave it to you. If the head of the Philadelphia Dance Center is really going to be at the competition then you have been blessed with this piece to show them. They will truly be impressed. We’ll work extra hard when we get back to Cedarwood until you have it down.”
“Mom, uhm, I need to tell you something,” Jordyn started.
“Anything, sweetie,” Zara asked with a smile.
Jordyn took a deep breath. But she couldn’t say it. Not yet. So she just shook her head. “Uhm, never mind. It’s nothing.”
Zara didn’t seem bothered, just smiled, and clicked unlocked the car door. She was too elated about the dance and the audition for PDC to notice Jordyn herself, was hardly happy about any of this. So without another word, she climbed into the passenger seat and they headed back to the hotel.
“Girls, are we all packed?”
It was Monday morning, their flight was an hour away, and they had all overslept. Thankfully, Jordyn and Alice had packed up the night before, and they were all ready to go. Zara, on the other hand was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, convinced to her core that they were forgetting something.
“Mom, we’ve been packed,” Jordyn sighed, leaning against the wall beside the door with her suitcase. “We’re not missing anything, but if we keep waiting around here, we’re gonna miss our flight.”
Zara was finally satiated enough—after checking drawers and under furniture—that they could leave and go to the airport.
“Finally,” Jordyn said, and Alice giggled.
“I’m surprised you’re so ready to go, Jordyn,” Zara said as they made their way through the lobby of the hotel after check out. “I expected you to be mopey and dragging when it was time to leave.”
Jordyn just shrugged. “I don’t know. San Diego just isn’t the same anymore. I mean, someone bought the house, dad, Logan and Ty are back in Cedarwood. I don’t know. I guess this just isn’t home anymore.”
“Yeah, I’m kind of feeling the same way,” Zara said, putting her arm around her daughter. “Alice, how was your trip? Did you enjoy San Diego?”
“I really did,” Alice said. “I really appreciate you guys inviting me.”
“Well, I’m glad you came,” Jordyn told her. “This trip wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without you.”
“Well, thanks, Jordyn,” Zara said.
The girls laughed, then slid into the Malibu.
As Zara drove through San Diego to the airport, Jordyn took in the palm trees and the paradise-like weather. How was it that two months ago she was sick at the thought of leaving this, but now, she felt like she was leaving it and going home?
She took her cell phone out, and seeing the wallpaper, the picture of herself and Cole at the homecoming crowning, she knew part of the reason. She sat back and smiled, continuing to take in the views the rest of the drive to the airport. Next stop, Cedarwood, and Jordyn could hardly wait.