MeetingThe first time I met you, the only thing that really stuck with me was your last name. Smart. It's quite fitting for you, actually, though I didn't know it at the time. I didn't know a lot of things at that moment, only that you were new to our school and in my cabin for our summer camp.
I thought you looked like someone that would be fun to talk to, with your round glasses that you hated so much, that red summer dress you wore often, your long dirty blonde hair in a tight braid resting on your shoulder, stray hairs sticking out and framing your freckled face. But you looked like a deer caught in headlights - terrified. It was understandable, considering you were new, and I didn't want to scare you further. I settled on a quick introduction and a smile, trying to ease you into the dance community. You smiled back and mumbled your name under your breath, rubbing your hand on your arm.
I don't know what would have happened if I had stayed to talk to you for a bit longer. Maybe we would have become friends sooner.
However, my name was called, and I gravitated towards my friends with a welcome to the school and an apologetic goodbye.
One of my closest friends was in the cabin with us, so naturally, I sat with her on the coach bus ride there, and shared a bunk with her. We didn't speak much for the first few days, if at all. You had already became close with another new girl, and I had my own friends at the time. We sat together for meals, as the cabins were required to stick together, and we always ended up together for games played in teams late in the evening. Nothing more was exchanged between us except remarks pertaining our team and meals.
Then we were paired as partners for the first assignment, on the third day of camp.
I remember you approaching me with a shy and hesitant smile. I knew your name (not to mention we were wearing nametags) so I figured formalities couldn't hurt, and did what everyone does when they know someone's name but don't want to seem stalkerish. "Hi. ___, right?"
Ms Emily explained the hip hop collab that we would be presenting at the end of the week. You were excited. Me? Less so. I had always been one for the more traditional dance genres, such as ballet. Hip hop was unexplored territory to me, and I honestly had liked it that way.
After, you told me that you had only done Irish dancing and tap in the past, but you had always wanted to try hip hop. Your freckled nose crinkled as you laughed, eager to start the new project. It was then that I discovered your smile was infectious.
Luckily, I was treated to many more of those toothy smiles throughout the week as we struggled to come up with a plausible dance, neither of us being experienced in the street style. It was quite enjoyable. Though we weren't the best of friends yet, the assignment had brought us closer. It was easier to start up a conversation with you. We bonded over our mutual love for Harry Potter and musicals, and unabashedly geeked out during class.
The coolest thing about camp (other than the racecourse out on the water) was watching you perform an Irish jig during talent night. Of course, I knew you were talented from working with you, but I hadn't realized just HOW talented you were. Needless to say, I clapped quite loudly that night for a particular performance. You did not take any of the compliments well. Your heart-shaped face and the tip of your ears had turned pink as our classmates lined up to tell you how great you were. Barreling through them and engulfing you in a hug while screaming about your dance was totally necessary. You hadn't hesitated to do the same once I had finished my improvised contemporary piece.
Thankfully, you weren't embarrassed enough to not sit with me the ride back to the studio. We had played cards, discussed fan theories and sang terrible renditions of broadway hits. Honestly, I'm surprised the dancers around us hadn't wanted to kill us. Well, actually, maybe they had and just didn't tell us. We'll never know.
The performance for the parents went smoothly, each pair presenting their different dance genre collaborations, since the older kids got to do afro-fusion and the younger ones specialized in modern.
And you know what? Even though I hated the actual assignment, I enjoyed working with you on the street style.
After all, thanks to it, we celebrate that day every year as the day we became friends.