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After the Christmas at Care Bearers during which I decided I wasn’t going to chase after men any more, I decided that I was going to concentrate on falling in love with myself.

In order to do this, I first decided on what sort of behavior I wanted out of a man who loved me and chose to do the same things for myself. I bought myself roses and inexpensive jewelry. I took myself out for lunch and to see a movie. I even planned out my trips on the local bus routes.

Meanwhile, the next dance was the New Years Dance, which usually lasted past midnight. It was being held in Ellensburg, so I got a ride with some other girls from the branch and we carpooled down to the dance. When we got there, I was surprised to find jak sitting alone on a group of chairs on the far end of the cultural hall of the church where the dance was being held and not too far away from the church kitchenette where they had set up some refreshments to keep the dancers’ energy up until the dance was over.

There was fast music already playing and I’d come to have a good time. I didn’t bother asking anyone to dance with me. I just danced by myself. I danced my way all the way around the crowd twice before the song ended. Then they played a slow song, which usually seems to require couples in order to dance, so I stopped dancing and went to sit next to jak and ask him why he looked so blue.

Poor jak! It turned out that he really needed a listening ear. Apparently, he’d done a stint over Christmas as Santa Claus and fallen for one of the “elves.” Unfortunately, things hadn’t worked out and that was what had jak so unhappy (ask jak if you want more details than that).

Anyway, I alternated between dancing during the fast music and listening/talking with jak during the slow music. At one point, jak surprised me by asking me to dance during one of those slow dances with him. I should mention here that jak is an excellent dancer. Until I met him, I only ever danced the Mormon two-step during slow songs.

I hardly noticed the time going by until, that is, someone started counting down the seconds to midnight. Nobody kissed, but we all clapped and cheered when the New Year arrived. It was now officially 1998. The dance continued for probably half an hour more and then we started cleaning up and the girls I’d rode to the dance with said that they needed to leave. So, rather impulsively, I’ll admit, I gave jak my address and telephone number, in case he wanted to talk some more. He was surprised but I reminded him that he was my friend and that I was his, so of course I was available if he still needed to talk.

My carpool and I stopped off to eat at the local truck stop and then we headed back home.

The next morning, I awoke with the strong feeling that this was the year that I needed to leave my parents’ house for good.

Question Time: Did you ever go to a dance just for the pure enjoyment of dancing? Did you ever spend most of a dance just talking with someone? Did you ever give someone your telephone number without any romantic connection that you were aware of? My inquiring mind wants to know! Talk to me! I’m listening!

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