Down in the West Coast

Damp grass tickled my feet as it poked through my sandals. I linked arms with Kendall and Kylie as we made our way to the Martin Garrix show. This is so awkward, I thought. I haven’t seen these two since pre-Pretty Committee. A thick strand of red, bedhead waves slapped my face as a sudden gust of wind caused the train of my Free People Jasper dress to fly in the air lightly.  Yes! I relished in the brief seconds of mercy before the sun scorched my visage.

Kendall and Kylie came to a dead halt, and, mouths wide open, surveyed the area around them.

“Is that Vanessa?” Kendall cocked her head to the side, unlinking her arm from our chain to join the Queen of Coachella.

I turned around to survey Kylie’s make-up, preparing to mentally rate her full look.

“I think I see Selena!”

But she was long gone by then.

“B-bye.” I said, surprisingly relieved by the few moments I got to myself. Being around the Jenner sisters just reminded me of the days when I actually thought I was skinny. When each mirror in every set and every hotel room was replaced with a more flattering one, curtesy of The Daily Grind’s ex-stylist. I ate and ate, foolishly believing that I was one of those lucky, petite girls who ate like a bull and looked like a swan. I glued my arms to my sides in a desperate attempt to hide the muffin top poking out of the waist cutouts.

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I flinched as another cold breeze grazed my arm. Only this time, the breeze had a voice.

“Dylan?” A familiar voice tickled my ears. I gulped, my body heating up even more as each vibration travelled to my ear.

It couldn’t be. He’s in London. Don’t be silly, Dylan. That’s just who you wanted to see. Stop being so pathetic.

The sweat dripping down my body turned into goosebumps as I slowly turned to the brown-eyed guy I was running away from. The wind seemed to slow to a still blow, and the people around us froze in the heat. The time it took me to utter out his name was the slowest and most painful of my life.

“Blake.” I said, more mono-toned than I intended. I shuffled in my place awkwardly as he smiled, his one dimple winking at me.

I went from utterly bored to utterly speechless. My vocabulary  has been emptied out into the pool of sweat forming in the palm of my hands, a few random letters floating on top of the salty lake. How often does this happen? Being with the one person you’re trying to forget in the biggest music festival ever and actually running into them.

I suddenly snapped out of the thoughts which spun around my head like birds spinning around a cartoon’s scalp after an injury. Suddenly, time went back to its normal pace of seconds, minutes and hours. The momentarily muted background switched back on like a Sony sound system, and the people who seemed to freeze mid-step finally put their knees down, their heels tapping against the ground.

“Hi,” I managed to mutter. My eyes were completely blank when I looked at him, looking like a complete idiot.

His chocolaty eyes danced in the warm, golden sunlight. “Heyy! It’s so nice to see you!”

It was like I forgot how to speak. My responses were delayed, while my brain churned for words to put together, forming coherent sentences. “Y-you too… “

“Are you here all alone?”

“I am now.” My already flushed cheeks burned into my skull, thinking of how lonely I must have seemed.

“Great! I mean, well no,” he laughed nervously. “I meant… I’m about to go to the Martin Garrix show, you coming?” He regained his confidence as if that nanosecond of stuttering was non-exisiting.

I felt like announcing that I didn’t need anybody. I didn’t need Mum, I didn’t need a reality show, I didn’t need celebrity connections. I didn’t need him. I can do fine just on my own, thank you.

“Of course!”

Way to go, Dylan.

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Despite the energy coming from the incredible light show and the heat radiating from the bouncing audience’s body, I felt frigid.

Suddenly, the laser beams went crazy as Animals started booming. The pounding beat seemed to blur the barrier between Blake and I. Smirking, he took my hand and started dancing, if that’s what you can call it. It was more like goofing around in an attempt to lift yourself off the ground and land to the rhythm of the song. I couldn’t help cracking a smile. The music soon consumed me, and I was finally able to see everything in colour. From the crazy beams to the many eyes glowing with life. It was like someone had colour splashed a bland picture the moment the music consumed them.

By the time it took me to realise how large Coachella was, and how big music is, Blake stopped being that guy who made everything so perfect before tearing it to pieces, taking whatever remained of the wreck with him, to that person who made what I thought would be an awful few hours to amazing ones.  He agitated my senses in all the right ways.

“Wait, wait, so your mum actually threatened to starve you?” laughed Blake, clutching his abs with one hand and handing me an icy water bottle with the other.

“It’s not funnnyyyy! Quit laughing!” I hit his arm with the water bottle playfully, finding myself laughing, too. “Food is a very serious matter.”

He took a few deep breaths, trying to stifle his laughter into speech. “That flight from London to California was so worth it!”

“Dylan!” called Kylie, treading to me.

“Well, looks like I gotta go.” He buried his hands in his pocket, taking a few awkward side-steps. “It was nice seeing you, Dylan.” He leaned down, pecking my cheek softly.

“You, too.” I smiled at him, fully genuine. I watched his silhouette disappear as he walked away into the horizon.

“Who’s thaaat?” teased Kylie, nudging me playfully.

I smiled peacefully. “A friend.”

And I knew, that I got the closure I needed.

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I reach for the dainty, pastel cup of aromatic tea, my mouth savouring the macarons’ delicate grace.

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RDM

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