Olivia and Molly practiced for hours. With their feet hurting, but smiles on their faces. Inseparable and always laughing.
They were learning a dance. A dance just for the two of them.
They wanted to get it just right. Since Olivia had a little more experience, she led the dance.
It was only one dance. But they practiced it over and over and over again. At the beginning, there were a lot of mistakes. Toes were stepped on, maybe bumping foreheads ever so often. Olivia and Molly’s schedules were different so they didn’t get to practice at the same time every day. But Olivia took what she could. It was fun and nothing like she had ever experienced before.
Olivia went off to college, while Molly stayed behind. But the two girls promised to still practice their dance even if they weren’t together. Olivia figured that things would still be the same and they would be even better when Molly joined her the next year.
Molly and Olivia were anxious to getting back to practicing their dance together. When they finally did, the dance wasn’t the same.
They had a lot of work to do. Molly couldn’t remember a lot of the steps and Olivia got distracted by all the other pairs doing so well.
“Our dance has to be just right and it isn’t!” she thought.
She wanted to fix the mistakes, but they were just made over and over and over again. With no change. In need of a break, Olivia took some time off and didn’t go to dance rehearsal for a few weeks.
Little did Olivia know that in her absence, Molly had met Ryan at the dance studio. He was new and looking for a dance partner. Without Olivia there, Molly figured she could learn a new dance.
“It couldn’t hurt and Olivia will be so proud of me!” she thought.
Now Ryan and Molly are dancing their own dance. It’s new–even they don’t all the steps. She gets frustrated when people try to correct her, but they’re just doing it because they want her dance to be perfect for her.
After some time away, Olivia felt like she could come back and start rehearsing again with Molly. Walking into the studio, she saw how excited her friend was for learning another part of her new dance. She knew her time with Molly was almost gone.
“Can’t you do both?” Olivia asks Molly. “I need you.”
“I don’t know how. But I’m willing to make some time for you, we can still work on ours,” Molly reassured her.
Olivia smiled as the reassurance rang in her ears, “Perfect,” she said.
As the weeks passed, Molly and Olivia never rehearsed. Olivia stopped dancing. It was too painful to dance by herself. Others would step in for Molly “until she got back”, but it just wasn’t the same. This time, Olivia knew her partner was gone.
As much as it hurts, Olivia can’t step back in. The hardest part is accepting that. She can’t step back in. She has been replaced. It’s the truth and it hurts. She has been replaced. But the dance Molly is now dancing with Ryan isn’t the same dance, Molly and Olivia always danced together. There’s some comfort in knowing that their dance will never be replicated. Ever. Because it will always just be between the two of them. Even with that comfort, Olivia has doubts she’ll ever have that dance again.
There’s a new dance she has to learn these days.
She has to dance this one by herself, but she’s learning now. She met another girl, Amanda. Amanda’s gone through the exact same situation. Olivia and Amanda are trying to dance, but they mess up because they remember old dance moves from their old dances and try to incorporate them into the new dance.
Those old dance moves, don’t work because Olivia and Amanda learned them the wrong way.
“Do you want to remember those dance moves?” Amanda asks Olivia.
“Kinda. They were fun, but I feel like I’m the only one remembering them,” Olivia responds.
“Do you feel like your old dance partner remembers them?” questions Amanda.
“No, I’m not even sure she remembers who taught her how to dance in the first place,” Olivia quietly says.
In the meantime, Olivia and Amanda are enjoying their dance–despite the mistakes made, the pain they feel in their feet and legs, the memories with their old dancing partners. They know that with time and lots of practice, they’ll be better off than where they started, because they’re willing to learn from their mistakes.
Learning another dance is painful for Olivia. There are new steps she’s not familiar with. It takes time and practice. She has to be patient. But she knows her final dance partner is patiently practicing their own, special dance. Her dance partner that she’ll have forever. She’s learning all these different dances with different dance partners–friends, family, etc–so when he does step in, she’ll be ready.
So Olivia gets up and begins to dance.