The bus was jam packed and I was uncomfortable, but Dakota had– once again– found me and started showing off his cat. The puffball was barely any bigger than he had been in the first place, and apparently twice as mischievous.
Over the past week I’d spoken to Dakota on and off, once a day before Brigadoon, and maybe twice over text, just being as close to friendly as I was able. Trying to appear “normal.” The anxiety that gripped me in regards to talking to him was off the charts, so I was trying to keep myself from talking to him as often. And yet, like the other night, he went out of his way to get my attention for this bus ride.
He’d also shown me some other miscellaneous pictures, not just his cat. Crossovers of Pokemon and Disney characters mostly. He was scrolling idly through when I caught sight of a familiar face.
“Hey, The Spine!” I grinned, leaning in closer. “You know Steam Powered Giraffe?”
An indie band I’d stumbled over right before my freshman year of college, Steam Powered Giraffe was essentially an ever-changing stage show that combined skits, pantomime, and songs, all delivered by three ridiculously talented musicians in robot makeup. I had been enamored of them ever since I’d heard their music– the first song being my favorite song, “Honeybee.”
Dakota looked at me like I was a complete idiot, but it didn’t dull my shine. “Of course I know Steam Powered Giraffe.” And with that, he started singing the chorus of “Brass Goggles.”
I felt like a ten year old with a puppy on Christmas morning. “Have you met them? I met them. They’re wonderful.”
Dakota shook his head. “Eventually.”
“They’re so worth it. Bunny is my wife. She doesn’t know.”
I grinned. “I love them so much. It’s a problem. I want Honeybee as a tattoo.”
I looked back at his phone as he flipped through a couple of pictures of the band, and it took me a moment to realize that he’d gone back to singing– not “Brass Goggles” this time, but the first line of “Honeybee.”
My heart stopped for a second. It was a love song, a heartache song, a song that had gotten me through some downright awful times. And now this guy who I was totally not attracted to (see also: denial) was singing it to me.
Why, oh why did I always find myself in the most disastrous emotional messes?
I hummed along for a moment before the bus came to our stop, and with all the grace and dignity of an armadillo, fucking rolled out. I pretty much bolted out of the bus with him and whatever other dancer friend was with him, then started to speed walk off with a faux-cheerful “Later nerd!” and a little wave.
And like that, things were back to normal. Or maybe he would think they were, since I managed not to start actively sprinting toward my car until I was behind the building with the convenient public restrooms directly beside the bus stop. As long as he didn’t notice the crippling anxiety he caused me.
I should really, really look into how to divert fixations onto not real people.
Driving home was a blur– a safe one, as I got home in one piece and didn’t have any near misses or anything, but I honestly couldn’t remember the journey from point A to point B. I’d been too busy thinking about what had just happened with Dakota.
I cosplayed one of the performers from Steam Powered Giraffe. Rabbit, portrayed by Isabella “Bunny” Bennett, was by far my favorite character, and the responses I got from people at conventions (or Halloween parties) made me feel special and beautiful and proud of myself. Not things I usually felt in my regular everyday clothes. So it came as little surprise when Emma and I had gone to a convention as The Spine (her favorite performer of the group) and Rabbit, and I found myself in a Karaoke competition singing “Honeybee.” A competition I had won, just like the costume contest. Emma had even filmed the whole thing and put it on YouTube.
I opened the door to my apartment– empty, since Kimmy had work tonite– and replayed that thought in my head. Emma had put the video of me singing “Honeybee” on YouTube. I had something, a common interest, to send to Dakota.
I whipped out my phone so fast I almost dropped it, and fumbled to keep it up off the floor. Shaking, both from excitement and nerves, I pulled up my favorites on YouTube and copied the link to the video. Opening messenger, I stared at the conversations from the past few days. Nothing special, just touching base, being jerks to each other. Would he be excited to see this? Impressed? I may not dance but I was actively going to school for Musical Theatre, I could hold my own on stage, especially when singing.
So if you like SPG, and you like the song Honeybee, have a thing.
And with that, I sent him the link to a video of myself singing. Immediately followed by crippling anxiety. Of course.
As a disclaimer, the music was impossible to hear when this happened. It was kind of a technical disaster. Also, nineteen-year-old me, this was by far not the best performance I’ve ever given, but whatever.
God I was awful, did I have to over explain everything I ever did? What in the actual hell was wrong with me?
He responded anyway.
A glutton for punishment, I decided to keep up a kind of friendly discourse as I made myself soup.
So other than singing Honeybee to me, do you sing?
Yeah, I’m a bass
The nerd in me wants to sing a duet with you.
Choirs everywhere would love you. You’d never be out of a job. You’d be rich.
I’m not kidding. I went to an art school, we had three basses in my entire graduating class. We had to borrow from underclassmen.
Welp that was enough for one night, I decided, and spent the rest of my night watching YouTube videos and eating soup.