Future on Point

“The Junior Division bronze medalists…”

I’ve never played the ‘what if,’ game. Everyone plays that game. I don’t. My future was set at age four. My first dance class was at age three, my potential shined through after one year. One order of Star-Shine-Future coming up.

“Christine Shevchenko of the United States of America, Kayo…”

What if, what if, what if. What if I never begged my parents to let me go to dance class? What if I went out for sports instead? Would I have friends to hang out with? Would I have feet that aren’t covered in band-aids?

“Silver medalists, Denys Cherevychko of Ukraine…”

Would I have a dog? Do I even like animals? They seem like a lot of work. Would I actually be home enough to hang out with my parents?  I do love dance. It is my life. But, what if…

“And the Junior Division gold medalist is Isaac Hernandez of Mexico…”

What about boys? Would I have time to hang out with the opposite sex? I mean the majority of guys in the dance world are attracted to the same gender that I’m attracted to. What if I had time to go on dates? Would they try and hold my hand? What about kissing? Do guys still ask your dad before asking you to go on a date?

“Now for the Senior Division medalists…”

I think I can balance things. I mean I don’t want a guy that can’t take my schedule. Look at my parents, my mom was not going to quit medical school to go out with my dad; and he didn’t want to stop traveling for work, but somehow their schedules aligned. I just have to find a nice, responsible, handsome, trustworthy, loyal, strong man that is fine with a girlfriend that goes to school and dances 30 hours a week. That shouldn’t be too hard should it?

“Bronze medalists, Yui Yonezawa of Japan…”

Not school, you don’t go to school. Ally you just got your GED remember? Nothing’s in the way of your career. Nothing. Nothing at all.

“Silver medalists, Jurgita Dronina of Lithuania, and Brooklyn Mack of the United States of America.”

My life is amazing. My life is great. I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have any friends outside of dancing, I have never had pets, and I don’t have time to have any other hobbies than watching late night sci-fi movies. But you know what, I have supportive parents, my friends actually know what I go through, I spend my time doing my life’s passion, and my future career is all but set. My life is wonderful.

“And now the Senior Division International Ballet Competition gold medalists of 2006…”

No matter how many times I say ‘what if,’ my life is not going to magically change. I wear ballet slippers, tap shoes, jazz shoes, hip hop sneakers, and lyrical flats. Not glass slippers. Anyway, I don’t want change. I love me, I love the person I am. Yes my body is pretty much flat…everywhere. Yes my feet are ruined from going on point. Yes my hair will always have to be competition perfect. And yes, I will always feel more comfortable in a leotard then in jeans.

“Daniil Simkin of Germany, and…”

I am a dancer. I move with grace and pose, not from desire, but from reflex. Stage lights hit me and my soul bursts with anticipation. Each movement melts into the next. I am a sea of light and joy. I am the rising, spinning, and reaching phoenix. I am a dancer, and I am ready.

“Alexandra Gala of the United States of America.”

I am ready for my life to begin.

Keep It Simple

Kimberly sits on the familiar park bench, nervously looking around until her eyes stop on the approaching Jameson. “Hey Jameson!”

“Jameson? What’s wrong?”

“Why would something be wrong?”

“You’ve always called me Jam.”

“Oh, right. Hey Jam.”

Jameson lounges himself next to her on the bench. “Sup Kimberry?”

“Why does something have to be ‘sup’? A friend can’t ask a fellow friend to meet in the park to talk anymore?”

“Talk?”

“Yeah. You know talk, sharing words about our thoughts, hopes and dreams.”

“Are you dying?!”

“No! Damn it Jam I just want to talk.”

“Um, okay.”

“You’re my best friend.”

“You sure you’re not dying?”

“Yes I am, I just need a guy’s perspective on how to talk to a guy.”

“We usually don’t like to be talked to.”

“But what if there is something very important to talk about?”

“No big speeches. Just give the bullet points.”

“The bullet points don’t convey what I want them to.”

“Trust me, the bullet points are all that a guy is going to listen to.”

“I want it to be poetry that will spellbound him.”

“You should stick to the bare minimum.”

“I’m just so nervous that he won’t see me as a romantic option.”

“Less words equals more attractive.”

“Be serious Jam!”

“I am being serious. I don’t want this to be another Adam Gibson.”

“This isn’t a crush.”

“I just remember you drooling over his year book picture.”

“This is for real.”

“I had to sit on this bench and listen to you go on and on.”

“He has the most amazing eyes, and smile.”

“About how he’s so cute and has such a great face.”

“He is so funny. I think I could listen to him all day.”

“You would whine about how you need a boyfriend.”

“I want him to be my boyfriend so bad!”

“I would sit here saying that you don’t need a boyfriend to be a fully functioning human being.”

“I am so afraid to ask him. That’s why I need your help.”

“But do you ever listen to my advice?”

“Because if he says no, then I’m gonna lose a friend.”

“No.” Jameson straightens his back and tries to look into Kimberly’s face as he registers her last words. “Wait, you’d lose a friend? Who is this guy?”

Kimberly’s mouth is open, but the proper words have abandoned her. She finally squeaks out, “A dude in our grade.”

“A dude in our grade?”

“Yup.”

“You said friend.”

“I did?”

“Yeah. Ya did.”

“Huh.”

“Who is it?”

“Who’s what?”

“Don’t gimme that crap!”

“What crap?”

“Which one of our friends do you want?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“You can’t tell me?”

“No.”

“Well that makes sense.”

“Jam…”

“You wake me up at 10 on a Saturday morning…”

“It’s just…”

“Calling saying you need me, meet in the park…”

“Last night Mandy was painting my nails…”

“So I get up and get dressed…”

“And I was telling her about this guy…”

“You know I like to sleep late on Saturdays!”

“And she told me there was on thing that I have to say to make it clear what I want.”

“But no, I walk here like every other time.”

“And I wanted to know what you thought.”

“Because I’m Jameson, the amazing-best-friend-vent-wall! And now that I actually want to know who the next sleaze-ball you’re gonna obsess over is, you won’t tell me!”

“Hold me like you’re never going to see me again, and kiss me like you want to leave the impression of your lips on mine forever.”

“It’s Austin isn’t it?”

“Did you hear what I said?”

“He plays baseball, you know what that means right?”

“Mandy told me to tell the guy I like to kiss me and see what he does.”

“That means he likes to wear tight pants while playing with balls.”

“I said that was too aggressive, that it would scare him away.”

“He’s my buddy and all, but I’m pretty sure I’ve caught him staring at my butt.”

“How bout you Jam?”

“I’m not passing judgment on him. I’m just saying, I think he likes boys.”

“Are you scared?”

“And while liking a potential gay guy is better than Adam Gibson, it’s not good either.”

“Jam?”

“You need to look for a man Kimberry.”

“Jam.”

“One that knows how to appreciate what a cool person you are.”

“Jam.”

“One that really knows you…”

“Jameson!”

“What?”

“Do you think I’m girlfriend material?”

“Uh, depends.”

“Depends?”

“Yeah. On who the boyfriend would be.”

“Does that matter?”

“It matters to me!”

“It does?”

“Does what?”

“Matter.”

“Yes?”

“Jameson!”

“Stop calling me that!”

“It’s your name.”

“Not to you it isn’t. You’re Kimberry, I’m Jam, Kimberry Jam.”

“Well that’s childish.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it isn’t!”

“Yes it is!”

“Well I’m sorry it’s childish to have your favorite person in the world have a special name for you!”

“I’m your favorite person in the world?”

Silence settled in between the two best friends. Jameson’s face was flushed with embarrassment, Kimberly’s flushed due to a pleasant epiphany. Neither of them could look the other in the eye for a while.

“Hey Jam?”

“What?”

“I’ve never kissed anyone before.”

“I know.”

“Do you think that’s why I’m undate-able?”

“Don’t be silly.”

“I mean it scares me to think that my sister’s advice was to tell this guy to kiss me, and I don’t know how to kiss!”

“You don’t date someone because they can kiss.”

“Especially not a kiss where his lips would leave an impression.”

“You date them because you can’t stand the thought of being apart from them, and you need an excuse to spend as much time with them as possible.”

“That actually sounds like it would hurt.”

“Kissing is just a benefit.”

“Maybe I should ignore Mandy.”

“You need someone that will stop playing video games to come and hang out with you.”

“I don’t think he’ll see me as anything but a friend.”

“You need to have confidence that he sees the amazing person that you are.”

“Thanks, but I think I’m doomed to start sophomore year single, and stay single at least through college.”

“I doubt it. Some sketchy senior will swoop down and steal you away from me the first week of school.”

“Oh okay, sure…I guess I should get going. I told my dad I would go paddle boarding with him this afternoon.”

“Oh, well have fun.”

“Thanks for getting up Jam.”

“Anytime Kimberry.”

Both of them stand up and turn their separate ways. Jameson turns after a few steps and calls to Kimberly. “Hey, you don’t need to worry, any guy with a quarter of a brain would fall in love with you, poetic speech or not.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Have fun with your dad.” Jameson pivots on his heel and walks back home, staring at the ground as he goes.

Kimberly looks on after her best friend. “Hold me like you’re never going to see me again, and kiss me like you want to leave the impression of your lips on mine forever.”

Making a Monster Snack

My name is William James Flannigan the Third. I like the name The Governor better.That’s what my peewee coach calls me. The other name is what my mom calls me-

“WILLIAM JAMES FLANNIGAN THE THIRD!”

When I get in trouble.

“You get in here right now!”

My feet feel like I put big rocks in my socks and forgot about them. “What Mommy?” Did the tiles always have specks on them?

“What happened here? Is that my hair dryer in the peanut butter! William how did hamburger meat get in the light fixture?”

I try really hard not to giggle. “I can explain Mom…Today is Wednesday, so school gets out early. I was so ready to work on my Governor swing that I forgot that there wasn’t any peewee practice, and I missed the bus, so I walked home.”

“You walked home alone I-“

“Mommy please! I am telling you what happened! So I was walking in the park, almost home Mommy, when out of the bushes jumped-“

“A horrible scary kidnapper! Billy how did you-“

“Mom! A hugunga, hairy, giant monster jumped at me!”

My mom has her hand by her neck, her face is all scrunchuled, eyes squidgy. I don’t think she believes me.

“William…”

“He had enormous red eyes, and bright green noodle hairs all over his body, and he had spiky slugs for teeth! And he was going to eat me in one big, giant, slimy gulp Mommy! So I said ‘Stop! I am unyummy, gobbely monster. I can make you something tasty!’

‘Grooble guggly gook, make numminums!’ He roared at me, so I had to bring him back here. I brought him home and snacked some food together for him. He kept on saying, ‘Grooble guggly gook, more numminums!’

“William really-“

“So I slapped sausage at his face, mashed tater-tots with my toesies, splashed the Koolaid, tossed a salad, and I smushed chewy bars with apricots. I took the meat and oiled it, and made meatballs, and practiced my pitching at the monster; and I think one of them might’ve gotten in the light.”

“Will you look at the ceiling…and floor, oh what a disaster!”

“I squished some yogurt in the pickle jar to make sweet pickles. I even threw the apple as hard as I could against the tiles, over and over to make apple sauce! And When I went to sandwich his PB&J for him he schmacked his lips,

‘Grooble guggly gook, HOT!’

And I know I’m not allowed to play with the stove, so I got your hair heater upper thingy to make his sandwich nice and toasty, but when it got stuck he got angry!

‘Grooble guggly gook, now you hurt!’

And then he heard the garage door and I ran for the living room, and then you came in.”

“William James…”

“He must’ve schlumped away, good job mom!”

“Are you lying to me William?”

“You don’t even have a sword!”

“William James Flannigan the Third you start cleaning this up before I ground you for a year!”

“Umm…I like the name The Governor better Mommy.”

Sibling Lessons

“How cute! What are they called?”

“Ewoks.”

“I’m going to ask Santa for one this Christmas!”

“Do you not see how they have tied everyone up?”

“Not the gold guy.”

“He’s a droid, and his name is C3PO.”

“So I’ll wear gold and teach it like a dog!”

“Okay have fun with that. I’m not coming to the rescue when it makes a spear from your bed post.”

“I’m going to ask mom and dad!”

“Wait, don’t waste an opportunity.”

“What is an opportunity?”

“If you ask for a fictional character like an Ewok, mom and dad will tell you to keep watching the movie and pick the one you want.”

“That black and white baby one!”

“But if you ask them for something like a fairy or, I don’t know, a singing monkey, maybe they’ll think your so cute for asking that we’ll go to Disneyland for your birthday. That’s an opportunity, maybe even a golden one.”

“But what’s a fix-on-all charactor?”

“Fictional means it’s made-up.”

“But Ewoks aren’t pretend. They’re from Andora, that’s between Spain and France, and that’s in Your-rope.”

“What?”

“Mrs. Mac showed my class a map today.”

“Ewoks are from Endor.”

“I don’t think you said that right.”

“It’s a made-up planet in this movie.”

“Hmmm. Where do fairies live?”

“Well in books they are usually somewhere in the UK. Will you be quiet now, I’m trying to watch this.”

“Oh yeah, sorry…MOM, DAD I WANT A FAIRY FROM YOUR K!”

Touch of Fae

We don’t know where it comes from, or what we should believe. We know things we shouldn’t, and perceive with our invisible eyes.

I’m one of “them”. When it started I’m not sure. That’s a lie. From birth my senses have been well…eccentric. Childhood was rough with rocks and sneers. It’s not my fault they would think so loud.

It’s not my fault I can predict events, or smell the emotions of others, or even taste the salty deep thoughts of those standing near. Those are hard sensations to ignore by the way.

Fairies, pixies, graces and nymphs. All mythological characters have been my friends and role models. If only I had wings, or lived in a tree. Then I’d be accepted and belong.

I don’t have wings that blow my hair majestically. I can’t materialize out of trees and water with immaculate hair dancing in the wind. Come to think of it, I don’t have the hair to be a creature that few believe in anymore, way too much frizz.

I can’t explain why there are few people like me, or how we keep our sanity. When asked what’s wrong with me, or if my sickness is contagious, I smile with the sweetness of a citrus blossom, shrug my shoulders and say:

“Don’t you worry, it’s just a touch of Fae.”