Posted in Short Story

One To Grow On by Cortney Joseph

Holding it together as best as she could, Támar made it to her designated spot without missing a step, falling in line and sync with four other dancers. There was a high kick, and though she felt she would mess up, she landed on her feet perfectly, bending down as she and the other dancers did a little move they’d picked up in New Orleans.

Támar threw a smile on her face, kicking it up a notch as they came to the breakdown. She prayed that it wasn’t showing in her face; for the first time since she’d begun dancing professionally… eight counts, multiple routines, excess amounts of high energy, and the requirement to be UP at all times were wearing her down.

 

Before them all stood the girl group they were dancing for, Ex-Girlfriend, singing their biggest hit as they fed into the crowd’s participation. Houston was the largest crowd of the entire tour, and Támar knew she had to be at a hundred. She was looking for her next opportunity, her next big career move. And in the house this particular evening were some of the industry’s biggest stars. This was not the night to slack, fall back, or be lazy. No matter how she felt and the reasons she felt it, she had to be at the top of her game.

When she noticed the member singing lead approaching her, Támar perked up and step forward, taking her cue to start the moment where she and the other dancers were given time to shine independently.

“Ladies and gentlemen, our choreographer, the super talented, Támar Valez!”

As the crowd sounded off, she took one final deep breath and gave it her absolute all. The band switched up and began to play what was quickly becoming associated with House Music, one of her favorite genres of music as of late.

Támar began to feel herself, putting all her emotions into her movements and the facial expressions she made as she moved to the front of the stage, showing off just a bit more than she normally would as everyone cheered her on.

When the beat stopped, she paused and laughed, taking a quick bow before she stepped back and made room for the next dancer.

 

Once the show came to an end, Támar graciously declined an invitation to hang with the crew at an after party, reminding them all that she wasn’t much of a partier anymore.

Instead, she stayed behind in the dancers’ dressing room, allowing herself sometime to regroup and rest her feet before she gathered her things and made her way out of the auditorium.

She would catch a cab back to the hotel, get some extra hours of sleep so that she could be at her best for their final show the following evening.

As she walked across the parking lot, she heard her name being called. The voice familiar, and one that suddenly annoyed her each time she heard it in recent weeks. Támar stopped in her tracks, adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder as she waited for Dominic to catch up. As usual, he was dressed down from head to toe, sticking out like a sore thumb in a sea of tracksuits, jeans, and more casual clothing.

He looked good though. She couldn’t even bring herself to deny that this time. “What do you want, Kermit?”

Dominic rolled his eyes, standing in front of Támar once he finally reached her. “At least I know you still love me. Your mean ass wouldn’t have given me a name if you didn’t.”

“I gave them to you more frequently when I hated you, Tiny Tim, so don’t feel special.”

“Yo,” Dominic sighed, shoving his hands into the pockets of his slacks as he looked down. “What is it this time? And why haven’t you been answering my calls? Got me feeling like a stalker trying to get a hold of you in every city.”

“You’re that pressed to talk, you followed me all the way to Houston?”

“I’m saying though, if you hadn’t run away so quickly when y’all hit Boston, I wouldn’t have had to come out here.” Her brow rose, wondering if he were really admitting it. “No Tam, I did not follow you here. I’m here trying to find funding and support for my show. But I knew you would be here tonight, and I decided to take my chance.”

 

Támar sighed, pulling away when Dominic tried to grab her hand. “Look, I’m sorry, but you know as well as I do that we’re just not a good match any longer, Dom. We don’t even have time for each other anymore. We should let go now, while we’re still young. While we can pick up the pieces, rebuild, and move forward with our lives.”

“If I wanted to build this life and chase my dreams without you by my side, I wouldn’t be running up my phone bill trying to have one damn conversation via collect calls. I wouldn’t be hoping for awkward run-ins when I know we’re in the same city by chance. You get me exactly where you want me, an emotional sap for you, and you wanna dip?! Tam, come off the bullshit.”

“What bullshit am I on, Dominic? I’m just being realistic! Life is steady pulling us in different directions, especially with us both succeeding so much lately. We’re in different spaces altogether. When we are together, it’s never the same. We’re detached and struggle to reconnect. We don’t talk, don’t make efforts to be as close as we should be. It feels like we’re both still in it for convenience; because we know one another now, and we’ve opened up and neither one of us want to go through the hassle again. That’s not good, Dom. And I’m kind of over it. We’re supposed to be building a life together, but we can’t even come together or agree on simple stuff anymore. I can’t imagine what will happen when life-altering things come into play.”

“All you had to do was tell me all of that Tam. Did you think I was going to go back to that little period where I wasn’t listening, where I wasn’t acting right?”

“Don’t you always find your way back to that little period when you become overwhelmed? Our situation becomes one-sided a little too often for my liking now, and it starts to feel like I’m the only one trying. And once I feel that way, I check out and stop trying too. Only now, I’ve started trying to break away from you for good. And unless you’re going to make a real and lasting effort, stop dragging me back for another twenty rounds of foolishness. I’ve got too much to focus on now, something much more important than you and I. I refuse to keep around going back and forth with you.”

“I’m sorry, Tam.”

Támar groaned, jerking away when he reached for her hand again. “Why do you think that just saying sorry is all it takes? I know that you’re sorry. Approaching twenty-five and you still have more growing to do.”

Dominic sighed, admitting that he sometimes grew too comfortable, forgetting that as they got older and experienced more in life, there were more things they both required from one another to be happy. He could admit, Támar always gave and gave freely. Most times, he’d forget to do the same, feeling he no longer had to work to keep her after being together so many years. “Because I’m an idiot, we know this.”

She nodded, exhaling as she brushed her hair out of her face. “It’s not funny anymore. It’s not cute anymore. And I wasn’t speaking on growth to diss you about your height this time. Wanna know what all the moods have been? Why everything you’ve have and haven’t been doing has annoyed me so much lately? Why I’m suddenly as scared as you used to be about us being together?”

“Yes.”

 

Támar nodded, setting her bag down on the ground. She unzipped her jacket and untucked the Ex-Girlfriend tour shirt she was wearing. She lifted it up, slowly running her hand over the tiny bump she’d done a decent job of hiding while on the final leg of the tour. Dominic’s eyes bulged, shock written all over his face. “I’m pregnant. And every time we’ve fallen out lately, I’ve felt that you would be as neglectful as you are when you get in these asshole-ish modes of yours. I love you with all of my heart Dom, but I’d rather break up and deal with you in a smaller capacity. You know, work things out where it won’t harm our child. He or she is more important at this point.”

Dominic stood quietly for a few moments, collecting his thoughts. Without thinking about it, he stepped towards Támar, placing his hand on her stomach. “The reason for all of the please grow up comments.”

“Among other things. Listen, I’m tired. We can talk about all of this when I get back home on Tuesday.” She pushed his hand away, fixing her clothing before she picked her bag up.

“Tam, you know I’ve struggled with being a better person. I’ve never hidden that, and I can’t thank you enough for how patient you’ve been since day one. I just need one last chance; I’ll be everything you and our child need. That’s my promise.”

“We’ll talk about it Tuesday. For now, use the weekend to decide what it is you really want. Bye, Mighty Mouse.”

Dominic stood quietly, watching over Támar as she hailed a taxi. It wasn’t until minutes after she was gone that he’d taken a breath, allowing her words to settle as he headed back to his car. Life-altering was one of the most perfect phrases she could have thrown his way.

New responsibilities, new decisions to make; and she was giving him time to think it all through. Certain of where she was, and what she would do for herself, Dominic knew he had to make the right choice. He had to grow up, to mature, finally.

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Author:

Creative Soul. Artist. Perfectionist. Virgo.

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