I knocked on Martha’s door as I did every Wednesday because that was my day off from the boutique. The kids were at school, Trevor in the shop so I often visited my best friend and her baby Samuel.
“Come in,” Martha yelled from the living room, knowing it was me.
When I walked in, Samuel was on her chest, feeding.
“Look who’s having breakfast,” I said and took a seat on the chair next to her.
“I’m telling you, he eats so much, I will have to switch to formula soon.”
“It was the same with Emmett, I think I started with formula when he was about four months old.”
Martha nodded and smiled, “so how are you? What’s new?”
“Not much, Emmalee is practicing for her ballet recital day and night, she’s so excited.”
“Aww, I’m so sorry we can’t come. Sam would probably ruin it for everyone.”
“Don’t worry. Maybe next year if she sticks to it. But you know her, she might be into swimming next year.” I laughed.
My daughter is very excited about things until she gets excited about something new. Then the old one gets forgotten. Like the guitar we bought her, the soccer team she had to join or the painting easel she used twice and is now sitting in her closet.
Emmett on the other hand is very committed. He fell in love with science in kindergarten. He loves watching stars and learning about compilations. That’s all he does when we are in our cabin. Trevor got him a telescope and he is glued to it every night.
“How is Nora? I haven’t seen her in a while.”
Martha patted Samuel’s back to burp him and then put him slowly into the basket on the floor. It was his favorite place to nap.
“I did, she’s miserable. They all are,” I shook my head sadly, “Caroline has been spending a lot more time in our house with the kids. She keeps asking for sleepovers. Nora is obviously heartbroken and Dean is trying. So hard.”
“Do you think she should forgive him?”
“I don’t know. I keep trying to picture me and Trevor in the situation and I honestly don’t know what I would do. I mean, he never slept with the woman. He made a mistake, sure, but luckily nothing happened except for a few dinners.” I sighed in frustration. “They have a daughter to think about.”
“I agree. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, too,” my friend nodded.
“They are going to marriage counseling so hopefully it will help them figure things out.”
“I hope so,” she stood up and walked over to the kitchen, “do you want coffee?”
“Sure,” I smiled and followed her. I love our weekly get-togethers. It’s just like old times when we were kids and we spent hours in her room, just playing with barbie dolls and chitchatting.
All the girls from my ballet group were so nervous because tonight is the recital and we will dance in front off all of our parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. I wasn’t nervous. I practiced a lot and knew I will not mess up. I couldn’t wait actually.
Finally the school director announced us and we could go on stage.
“Good luck, girls,” our teacher said and than stood on the side of the podium so she can watch our performance.
I saw my parents with Emmett and my grandma and grandpa in the first row. Auntie Martha couldn’t come because she has a baby and auntie Nora with uncle Dean are still mad at each other. I feel really bad for Caroline.
When we were all in position, the music started playing and we started dancing. I was the lead dancer that danced really close to the audience so I couldn’t make a mistake. My teacher picked me, because I don’t make too many mistakes. I saw my mom smiling the whole time and my dad looked so proud.
We all did really good, just like we practiced. I was so happy. When we finished, everybody clapped and people started standing up one by one until everyone was standing. My dad picked Emmett up so he can be at the same level as all the other adults.
All the girls lined up and we held hands and bent down for our audience. It felt so good.
This is what I want to do all the time when I grow up.
*EIGHT YEARS LATER*
I will never get tired of this feeling. Dancing for people, for the judges, for the feeling of freedom I have when I dance.
“Emmalee Morrison, ladies and gentlemen. Great job!” the host commented and clapped his hands a few time while watching me as I left the stage.
I hope I win this competition. My biggest competitor is Rose Meyer, she’s been dancing just as long as I was and she’s really good. She hated me and I wasn’t too keen of her either. It was her turn now so she was standing behind the heavy curtains, waiting to hear her name and number. As I was walking by her, back to the dressing room, she gave me a look I could only translate as ‘you sucked, I’ll be better’.
It turns out she wasn’t. I won and I still can’t believe it. This is a big deal that opens a lot of doors for me for the future. I couldn’t stop smiling.
I changed into my regular clothes, put my hair up into a ponytail as usual and grabbed my bagpack. Everyone is waiting for me downstairs.
I walked out of my dressing room and saw Rose in the hallway speaking to a woman, most likely her mother, judging by the color of her hair. It didn’t seem like a pleasant conversation. I stopped for a moment, not wanting to walk by them.
“I’m sorry, mom,” Rose said quietly.
“Sorry, you’re sorry, huh?” the woman was furious, “we’re not paying all this money for your ballet teacher so you can loose competitions left and right.”
The girl didn’t say anything, just looked down on her feet.
“Get your stuff, the driver is waiting,” her mother said and quickly walked away.
Rose was just standing there, still looking down, and when she finally noticed me slowly approaching, she lifted her head and looked at me.
“Are you ok?” I asked. Even though we weren’t friends, nobody deserves to be pressured like this.
“What do you care,” she barked.
“Do you even want to dance?”
“Of course I want to dance. What kind of stupid question is that?!” she said angrily.
“Cool,” I nodded, “you did great today.”
“Oh shut up. I don’t need your pity.”
“It’s not pity, I…” Rose didn’t give me a chance to finish the sentence and shut the door of her dressing room behind her.
I walked down the stairs and looked for my family in the crowd. I noticed my mom waving at me excitingly. “Honey, we’re here.”
“Congratulations, honey, you were amazing,” my dad hugged me tightly and others followed. Emmett, aunt Marhta, uncle Garret, little Sam, uncle Dean and aunt Nora who were back together. It took them some time to work things out but they did. Caroline had her parents back. And last, but not least, my grandpa.
“Congratulations sweetheart,” he kissed me on the cheek.
“Thanks grandpa. I wish grandma could be here.”
“I do too,” he nodded, “but I’m sure she was watching from up there.”
He smiled and looked up, as if looking for a confirmation from his dead wife, my grandmother Hailey, who passed away two years ago.
“Alright everybody,” my dad said, trying to get everyone’s attention, “we should celebrate, how about bowling?”