I started taking some inventory: sofas, tables, bed, chairs, rugs – all things acquired from my previous engagement years prior. Washer, dryer – things I bought from a fellow dancer. Clothes, shoes, jewelry. Things. So I tried looking at other things another way:
When I looked at things like that, what in the world was keeping me in Tampa? It was time to get a second opinion, maybe even a third. My awesomest friend from Gainesville came for a visit. I can’t remember what I called her in previous entries, but the one who fought the good fight in the bar on behalf of her friend, moi. I got the busted lip? Oh well, whatever, a great friend. She was moving on to Charlotte – she got accepted to Johnson & Wales for her culinary prowess…I was extremely proud of her.
Our last Florida hurrah, I took her out that evening to some random spots. Dinner then somewhere for drinks, knowing that she wanted to see where I worked eventually. While sitting at the local Bennigan’s – which happen to be across from my home club – we met some folks. Semi-famous folks. Remember this song?
We met her manager and his friend – forgot what he actually did, besides drive – but it was something important. They were very cool guys. Mellow, funny, unassuming. For some reason, I believed who they were and didn’t feel the least bit threatened. So we had a merry olde time in Bennigan’s and decided to head on over to 2001 Odyssey. I had no idea that Jen was managing that night. Running into her when not on a shift was awkward. We had been going about our own business for quite some time and everything seemed okay. Well, not so much okay as neutral. We were Switzerland. But what to do when there was no business to which to attend?
I stood at the door, frozen. She stood at the bar, frozen. I caved. I hate conflict, I really do. At some point, you have to realize that life is too short and the best thing to do is forgive and move on. Don’t forget, though. Never forget. It’s the memories that remind us not to make the same dumb ass mistakes over and over again.
I headed over and asked her if she wanted to talk. She nodded and we headed into the office. It was a relief, actually. She apologized profusely, as did I. It wasn’t too rocky or as tumultuous as I expected. We were both ready to move on. The conversation lasted a good fifteen minutes and it felt really nice to have my buddy back. She was actually quite a funny gal.
I rejoined my friend and newfound buddies, deciding almost immediately that my friend and former roomie needed a lap dance. She, of course, refused but I grabbed a girl for her anyway and sent them back. I couldn’t read the look on her face when she returned – she wouldn’t look me in the eye. It could have been a good or a bad thing, but I didn’t press the issue. What happens in VIP, stays in VIP. I’d ask her later ;-).
After she left back home for Gainesville the next day, I felt an inner resolve. There really was nothing keeping me in Tampa. I was ready to grow, learn and tackle the big, bad city. I called Lamar and told him that I would be moving to Atlanta. But first, I wanted a truly clean slate. Most of my possessions were accumulated during my first long term relationship. And even though we were friends, I felt the need to purge before this ‘rebirth’, if you will – leave it all behind. So I started making some calls – first to friends in need of furniture and then to the photographer I worked for…I was going to need an update to my makeup portfolio.