A semi-sequential story.
Part Three: Not Dancing.
About a month ago, when John woke up and walked into the bathroom he had to try and take off the rest of the makeup he had missed the night before. It was strange, getting ready for anything other than performing. Sure, he owned clothes, but he didn’t use them often. If he wasn’t performing or doing laundry, he was writing.
Some of the paint had been stuck on for long enough to take some skin off when it finally let go of John’s neck. He cringed when it came off. He had to crane his neck and turn his head as far as it would go to find any speck of paint - the only mirror in the dilapidated bathroom had a large, jagged crack through it.
He didn't have anything to wear. He owned a few sets of street clothes, but nothing dressy enough for today. Sighing, he pulled out his slim purple suit. He wouldn’t bring the cane or the hat, but this was all he had.
Before leaving the complex, John stopped in the bathroom and tried to get a glimpse of himself in the mirror again. From what he could tell, he looked good. Apparently he had gotten older at some point. No one had thought to tell him.
The wedding was to be a traditional affair, held in an old church in the middle of the city. As he ducked through the doors into the building, John wondered if it had ever seen better days. It looked like concrete bones rising from the sidewalk, with stained glass windows trying to cheer up the perpetual gloom inside.
He was early, but not too early. In short order he had watched one of his best friends and someone who could comfortably be called an acquaintance promise they would never leave each other, come what may. He had met the bride maybe twice before. She seemed nice, from what little he could tell.
The wedding reception was a ten minute walk from the church, but John was the only person walking. Apparently the entire wedding procession had driven to the church. It seemed wasteful. John had no idea where they were planning on parking for the party.
At the party, John stayed mostly separate from the festivities, hovering near the punch. He knew three of these people, and only liked the two who were most certainly already taken. Still, he couldn’t leave, so he did what he did best. He didn’t move.
Unfortunately, he was still noticed by one girl, who fell from the festivities like an asteroid. She slinked up to John, her face a mix of interest and drunk. “Not dancing?” she purred, lightly touching his hand.
“Not tonight,” he answered.
“Maybe later, then?”
She moved even closer to John. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she moved to whisper in his ear. “Would having a dance partner help the odds of you dancing tonight?”
John didn’t move. It was difficult to run when someone was holding you tight. “Maybe.”
Then he shouted. The girl withdrew from him, holding a thin white film.
“Sorry. This was on your neck,” she said, waving the dried sheet of makeup at him.
Her name was Charissa, as ridiculous as it sounded. She would eventually get him onto the dance floor and eventually his dancing would upstage the groom, getting a few glares (as well as a few compliments) from the bridesmaids.
When he got home, John didn’t wait to start attacking the pile of paper on his desk. Pen in hand and still wearing his full suit, he started writing.
An America Story