Connor never just idly flicks through Facebook. He takes the time to read posts on his newsfeed and really look at the pictures and videos people post. If he wants to promote himself, he needs to engage with other people. So he finds himself on Facebook while waiting for his workshop to start.ns126.96.36.199da2
He says hi to his dancers as they walk in, has conversations, and then sinks back into the world of Facebook. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he’s aware that Eve isn’t here. It’s unusual. She tends to be early, and she always arrives before him without fail—unless they’re carpooling, of course.
Connor’s stomach turns, a hint of anxiety pressing against him. He cringes thinking to the night before. He wasn’t mean, exactly, but he was definitely cold to her. Again. She came up to him to say goodnight and thank him for class, and what did he do? He said a brusque, “I’m going home.” Just so she wouldn’t wait for him and assume he would eat with her before going home, like he sometimes did.
The ironic thing was, as he drove home and whatever irritation had overcome him before melted away, he wished he had eaten with her. He liked his alone time, but at that moment, he felt a tiny bit lonely. He thought about texting her and asking if she wanted to stop somewhere and grab a bite, but some part of his ego wouldn’t let him do it.
It’s as he’s sub-consciously thinking about Eve that he comes across a post that consists of a series of a pictures of her and Anita. There’s Eve and Anita on Eve’s birthday, Eve and Anita before a dance performance, Eve and Anita at the spa, Eve and Anita with Anita’s husband, Eve and Anita at Union Square in San Francisco.
He pauses his scrolling to read what Anita’s written below the pictures.
For anyone who knows Eve but hasn’t heard yet, she’s in the hospital right now. She was stabbed by a former coworker who got fired from her company a few months ago. Right now she’s in critical condition, fighting for her life. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Eve, please get better soon. We love you so much.
Connor has the sensation of being kicked in the stomach while standing in freezing rain. Every hair on his arms and legs stands. His skin is chilled. He reads the post again. And then again. And again, still. He scrolls down more forcefully now and comes across more posts that are similar in vein. They seem to be spawned by Anita’s post.
He’s about to comment on the post, but decides to message her directly.
Connor: Is Eve really in the hospital?
Anita: Yes. You didn’t know? I thought you would be the first to know.
Connor sits down, his back to the mirror. He has a vague notion of his dancers waiting for him to stretch them out and get started on the choreography. But he can’t focus on them right now. He fights the nausea building inside of him, tries to formulate a response to Anita.
Connor: I saw her last night. She was fine.
Anita: I guess after your workshop, she stopped by her office to get some food she left in the fridge. A man who was fired from the company a few months ago tried to get her to let him in the building. She refused and he stabbed her multiple times.
He presses the heels of his hands over his eyes, lightheaded now. If he’d just eaten with her the night before, she never would have gone to the office in the middle of the night. She would be here now, bright and happy, not fighting for her life in a hospital bed.
But who told her to go to a deserted office by herself at night? That girl had no common sense. There was a reason he had put her in the cab himself when they were in Vegas and it was nearly four a.m. and she was too tired to watch him play slots any longer. There was a reason he hadn’t just let her find her own way back.
This is a nightmare. He wills himself to wake up, even though everything around him has a vivid clarity—the musty smell of the studio that’s been closed for hours, the rush of traffic on the street below, cool air from the fan as it turns and brushes the right side of his face.
Anita: I’m going to stop by the hospital this evening. Want to come?
He hesitates only because he isn’t sure Eve would want to see him. Why would she when he was so cold to her? Why does he do that to her? He sees the hurt in her gaze when he’s cold to her or purposely ignores her. The worst part is, at those moments, he doesn’t really care. It isn’t until he thinks about it later that he’s haunted by her reaction and by the cruelty of his behavior.
He was so cold to her, and now he might never have the chance to be kind to her again.
He stands up, remarkably calm, though his ears feel hot. The situation has settled into a nightmare again. Trying to compose himself, he hears himself speak to his dancers as if from far away and begins to teach class.
And yet when he isn’t irritable for some reason, warmth toward Eve comes easily. Without intending to, he’s cut open his vulnerability in front of her. He remembers telling her once, “Don’t get married. You aren’t allowed to get married. You can’t leave me.”
Do you remember that, Eve? You aren’t allowed to leave me.