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A Dance Partner I Never Wanted


I moved from Iowa to Texas around the time that I turned fourteen. At first I was really excited about it. I wasn't going to go to the same school as all the people I went to middle school with. I was starting to feel exceptionally lonely at my old school and I was a bit of an outcast. Let's face it, I always have been, but it was weighing on me around the time that we moved.

We had lived in Texas before, in Midland to be precise, and I had some fond memories of living in Midland. We moved to northern Texas this time and my joy over being in a new place died the morning we were due to arrive in town. I woke up that day in a sour mood. All my excitement was gone, all of it. I wished we could have turned around and just move somewhere else.

My very first day in our new apartment, in my new room, I noticed that it smelled like feces. It was really strong and it only made me hate the place more. I've never given Texas a fair chance after that day, honestly. I felt displaced and very far from home, though I wasn't sure where home was. My old apartment didn't feel like home any more. At least I wasn't clinging on to that. Texas just didn't feel like home. In a lot of respect, years later, it still doesn't. If I could afford to move, I would have moved away a long time ago.

This first apartment that I lived in, it was the first time that I was in a place where I was allowed to walk to school. It was also my refuge when some creeper tried to pick me up from the side of the road. That was pretty awful. I had been walking home in the rain for the past hour and some guy that wouldn't look me in the eyes pulled up in red two-seater car with leather seats and asked if I wanted a ride home. I also got my very own dog at the tail end of living in that apartment so it wasn't all bad.

I feel like I should have more fond memories of it. Bringing my dog home is the best memory I have of the place, honestly. She was my whole world and she still is.

What I really remember about that place what that it was always a little dark. The yellow lights were always dim. The space was cramped and the bathroom was just as creepy as my last apartment's bathroom. My bedroom in this apartment wasn't as scary and for once, that was where I felt the most comfortable, if I felt comfortable in the apartment at all.

If I got scared, and no one was home, I didn't have anyone to turn to for a while. I used to just sit out on the tiny porch and try to withstand the heat until I felt dizzy and soaked through with sweat. I once sat outside for eight hours because of something that happened to me in that apartment.

My mom wasn't home, she was at work, and it was either a weekend or it was during the summer, but I had turned on my radio. I was playing some tape that I had made back in Iowa and I was singing along to it and dancing around my room. Eventually I wanted more space, so I turned the radio up and I pranced myself right out into the living room. I was shaking my hips and moving my arms around. I had to get around the couch to get to a more open area so I jumped around the corner.

As soon as I landed I heard something land behind me. I distinctly remember the sound I made when I landed and a second or two later, the same sound came from behind me. I spun around, but I didn't see anyone. My mom's room door was open and dark. The light was on in my room and the radio was still playing. The bathroom door was closed, because I liked to keep it that way when I was alone. I was definitely alone, but I knew what I heard.

I bolted out the door and I sat in our red lawn chair until my mom got home. I was still wearing pajamas and I didn't have any socks on. My hair was a wreck but sat out there for the whole world to see me because I didn't want to be inside with whatever made that sound.

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