Everyone put on your Pens jerseys! It's the season opener tonight and the banners are being raised! To celebrate, I'm doubling the posts tonight. Second will be up soon after. I'm not going to lie; I expected more of an outcry after 18. Oh well. I hope that after tonight, things get a little clearer. The action picks up soon, I swear. Stick with me.
Wooo! Let's go Pens!
I wake up feeling good. Really good. Inexplicably good. Sometimes, you just know it's going to be a good hair day or a feeling-skinny day. Today feels like both of those days. Not to mention the sun is shining, promising a great day ahead of me. I don't even care that I am going to humiliate myself in front of a bunch of people today with my lame impression of a lounge singer.
Nothing is going to bring me down from this kind of high. It brings to mind the song from Wicked, and I can't help myself—I start singing. It's a good thing that Gina isn't home. She must have spent the night at Kevin's. She'd be pissed if I woke her up with a musical this early in the morning.
The only downside to having this much energy this early in the day is I know it will burn off eventually, and I'll crash before the night finally rolls around. I devise my game plan and immediately change to go work out. I figure if I exhaust myself now, I'll nap in the afternoon and re-energize myself for the evening.
My plan works fairly well. I even get a call around eleven from the optometrist's office to let me know my contacts have arrived! Finally. They tell me as long as I can stop by before two, I can pick them up. Today is slowly turning into the best day I've had in awhile, and I'm glad for the change in luck.
I do everything I need to: head to the physio center, pick up my contacts, then run home, eat lunch, and shower. I pull my hair into curlers and fall asleep for a solid two-hour nap. When I wake up, I take my hair down and style it and do my make-up, even though I have hours to go until I need to be ready. I just don't know what to with myself.
"Your hair looks so cute," Gina tells me, stalking back into the apartment after giving some piano lessons for extra cash. "Have you thought about what you're going to wear?"
I'm currently still in my sweats. I truly live in these things. "No. I figure slacks and a button-down," I say, not really paying any attention to her.
"Um, that's a giant no. You're going to be standing up in front of these people. You need to wear something, oh, I don't know, hotter."
"Well, I don't have anything hotter," I explain. "None of my old clothes really fit, so that's what I'm wearing."
"I'm sure I have something that'll fit you." Gina heads to her closet. No way she'll find anything in that closet that's going to satisfy her self-imposed hot quotient and fit me. "Here, try this," she says, reemerging from her room with a black dress in her hand.
"Your little black dress? No way I can squeeze half my ass in that thing."
"Just try! You lost a lot of weight over the summer. You never know. Control top pantyhose, and you're good to go!" she laughs.
"Gina, I'm telling you...."
"No. I won't believe it unless you try it on."
"Fine," I sigh, grabbed the dress and heading into my room to play Barbie. I slide the fabric over my body and can feel that even if I can get the zipper up, it's going to be tight fit. I vacate my lungs and suck in my gut and give a good, hard yank to the zipper. It's awkward, but I get the zipper all the way to the top. Now I just can't breathe or relax my stomach muscles.
I turn to see Gina in the threshold of my room. "I told you it would fit. You really just need to start listening to me, because I'm right more often than I'm wrong," she grins.
"Can't. Breathe," I smugly inform her. Then I look down to my chest and see the edges of my bra peeking above the neckline. I shake my head and walk out into the hallway to look at myself. Panty lines. The dress is so tight that I can't even wear underwear underneath. I'd have to go completely commando.
Gina reads my mind. "That'll be so hot. One look at you and Max's tongue will roll out his mouth cartoon-style."
I frown as I continue to examine myself in the mirror. "I don't know if he's even coming anymore."
"Why not?" she asks, to which I shrug. "What did you do?" she accuses.
"I didn't do anything! It sounded like he didn't want to show up, so I made it clear that he can back out if he wants to."
"You are insane. Insane. Only you would have such a sexy guy interested in you, and you discard him like a used tampon!"
I scrunch up my face. "That is a horribly disgusting simile. Besides, if he's so damn sexy, why in the world would he even be interested in me?"
"Oh, stop it. What does it even matter why he likes you? He does."
"Maybe he doesn't even like me anymore, because he said we could be friends. And he's been so nice. He's probably moved on."
"Why do you that?" Gina asked bluntly. "You always underestimate yourself. When it comes to everything, not just this. Do you know how infuriating it is? To constantly have to listen to you bitch and complain and doubt your worth? God, it's tiring!"
I had never seen Gina get angry like this, especially not at me. "I'm sorry?" I say to her. I can't think of anything else to say.
Her face softens a little. "I'm not going to apologize for that outburst. I mean it all, even if I didn't mean it to come out that way. Just relax and take things for what they're worth, and don't assume that other people have ulterior motives." With that, she walks into her room and leaves me, mouth agape.
Is it that simple? Am I supposed to assume that John was just a bad seed, and that I shouldn't assume everyone is like that, too? Because he seemed so genuine at first. It was easy to trust him and believe his eloquent soliloquies about love. If I couldn't take him at face-value, maybe I shouldn't trust my instincts about anyone else.
I peel the dress off me and finish getting ready; the tightness of the dress prohibits my range of movement, so I have to touch-up my hair and make-up and then slide into my silver strappy heels while naked. Only once I've done everything else can I slather on some lotion, thinking that it'll help the dress slide on better. And that works... kinda.
Gina and I get into her car and drive over the Sheraton. I feel like the Hulk; any second now, I'm going to grow in size and the dress will disintegrate into shreds of fabric. Especially as I try to sit still in the passenger seat and tug at the dress to cover my knees. I hate my knees. But each time I tug on the hem, a little more of my chest is exposed.
"Stop! You're going to rip it if you keep doing that."
"I'm sorry. I just feel so naked. Exposed."
"Well, you are kinda naked under that dress," she laughs.
My cheeks flame. "I can't believe you talked me into this!" I giggle back. "I feel like I'm back in college and about to do something stupid and crazy." I press my cold hands against my cheeks, trying to lower my temperature.
"Are you kidding? This is going to be a lot of fun. We're like the two amigos, just like when we were younger," she says, a gleam in her eye as she glances away from the road to look at me.
I chuckle. "You know it's supposed to be the three amigos, right?"
"I know," she replies, putting the car in park as we arrive at our destination. I grunt as I open the door and try to get out of the car elegantly. Damn, now I know how Britney Spears and Paris Hilton get themselves into this kind of trouble. Gina's laughing at me, and I can't help but laugh back. I feel embarrassed, of course, but this is also strangely fun, too.
We enter the Sheraton, and I head to the bar in the lounge while Gina checks in with whomever she needs to see before we head onto that tiny stage with a horrible spotlight. I need something to calm my nerves. Does that make me an alcoholic? I'm not sure. If it does, then I'm okay with that. I order a double vodka on the rocks and go to town as Gina joins me. We don't have to go on that makeshift stage until a few minutes before eight.
My hands are starting to shake so badly as I take my place behind the microphone. There aren't a lot of people here, but there are certainly enough to make me adequately nervous to screw up the notes or forget the lyrics. I try to block it all out and retreat into my head, to a place where I can just listen to the music and forget that there are pairs and pairs of eyes on me.
Until suddenly, I see those pair of eyes in the audience. Max is here and looking quite handsome in those dark slacks, white dress shirt, and striped tie. I'm guessing those are some of his teammates, because they're all taller than him and at least as big. I recognize some of them: the quiet dark one, the blond jaw, and the non-English-speaking prattler. I smile at Max and give him a very subtle nod of my head to say hello as Gina begins to wave her fingers over the keyboard. I think maybe it was so slight that he missed it, but before I can repeat the motion, he's beaming at me and wiggling his fingers in a small wave.
I feel a lot calmer now that I know he's here. That's when I realize that part of my nerves were caused by my wondering if he was going to show. Now he's here, and I feel so much better.
Then I recognize that Gina's begun Janis Joplin's "Get It While You Can." I smile to myself and take a deep breath. For yelling at me earlier about being sick of listening to me complain and second-guess everything, she certainly still loves to dole out advice.
I close my eyes and block out all those eyes that are peering up at me. Except for that pair of dark cerulean ones that I couldn't forget about if I tried. Those eyes don't make me nervous, though. They give me a deep-rooted confidence that has previously been so elusive. I smile, not just to myself but to everyone, and begin the song.