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Ballerina Girl- the new house guest
How can they go on like everything is normal, nothing will be ever normal again! We just finished supper and Mom had laid the worst news imaginable on me. Picking up the juice glasses I headed to the kitchen. I couldn’t believe it, my cousin Simon…living with us for 6 months! Sure Simon’s changed, he was five last time but I still had visions of childish, awful pranks floating through my head! He’s in grade eight and a brain, I can sure see us getting along, I do good to get a C- average! Worse, he’s here in nine days.
Those nine days flew by like the last days of holidays before school. I tried to be cheerful but just couldn’t adjust to having brainy Simon in the house.
How am I going to survive, trying to squeeze my ballet costumes, which normally hung in the guest room, his room now, in my closet. I just know it’s going to be a nightmare.
Too soon it was Saturday morning. Mom was getting brunch together when she heard my Uncle’s car,
“Elizabeth, put the orange juice on the table.” called Mom, rushing to the front door,
“Harold, they’re here!”
I wished I could have been as excited as Mom was. First in was Aunti, arm full of bags and trying to hug Mom at the same time.
“Aunti, let me take those. Are these Simon’s?” I asked.
“Yes, thanks sweetie… they’re his bedding and…stuff,” she said, giving a shrug of her shoulders. “I’ll be right back with more and then …I want a big hug, it has been way too long.” she said smiling and was out the door.
Now if Aunti were coming for six months that would be fun, I thought asI lugged the three big bags into the guestroom. What in the world does he have in here…bricks? Simon swooshed past me with some boxes just as I dumped the bags on the floor .
“Hey there cousin! Wow, great room,” he said, making a fast sweep of the room with his eyes. “This is going to be fun!”
“Oh yes…fun. Hi Simon”
Simon had changed. He was nearly as tall as I was. His frizzy blonde hair was gone and in its place was long wavy dark hair which seemed to have a mind of its own.
“Ah…how was the trip down?” I finally managed.
“Good. I slept most of the way though. We left early and things have been really hectic.” said Simon pulling stuff out of a bag.
“Hey, by the way, thanks for bringing the bags in Liz.”
“Simon,” I said, taking a deep breath, “the name is E-liz-abeth. I don’t like Liz. Never have, remember?”
“Oh yeah” he said barely looking up from his unpacking. “Habit,” then giving me one of those hideous grins I remembered so well. And it starts, rolling my eyes heavenward.
“I think that one is bedding and the other two…well, just bring them over here. They’re part of my computer set up.”
“Computer? You have your own computer?” I asked a little dazed, dragging them over to his desk.
“Yeah sure! Don’t you?” he asked, with some surprise.
“Ah no…we don’t even have one in the house.”
“Oh… Hm-m hey!” giving my arm a shot, “that’s okay. I can show you some really neat stuff on the net and I have lots of games…”
“Yeah sure, sometime. Look, I better go help Mom, brunch must be almost ready.” and I scooted before he could high five me.
The next morning Aunti and Uncle were off to Turkey. That evening the four of us sat down for supper. Already I could see trouble brewing.
“Simon, that’s my spot, I always sit beside Dad” but Dad was on it.
“Elizabeth! …does it matter where Simon sits?”
“ That’s okay Uncle Harold. It’s Elizabeth’s place, I can move.” said Simon with an apologetic smile my way. Great, now I feel bad, no way.
“No, Dad’s right. Sorry. I‘ll sit by mom.”
“Good girl.” said Dad, smiling encouragingly at me.
After we said grace and everyone had their plate full, the room got awful quiet. Finally, while Mom filled glasses with milk, she asked,
“So Simon, how are you making out? Have you settle into your room okay?”
“Oh Yeah, thanks Aunti. The room is great. Mom left some surprises for me under my pillow. She usually does...” his voice got a little choked.
M-m-m, a Simon with feeling, he has changed some.
Feeling a bit sorry for him, I said,
“I love surprises… Do you mind? What did Aunti get you, she gives such interesting presents?”
“Books” said Simon gratefully.
“Books? What kind of books?” Simon gave me that horrible impish grin,
“Don’t look so surprised cousin…I can read you know!” I felt myself turning red.
“Didn’t mean for it to sound that way.”
“I know, just teasing…yeah books, I love them and Mom always gets me a couple whenever they go away. This time I got four.”
“Wow, four! What are they”
“Well, one is about Turkey…the country…not the bird” I made a face at him. Okay, touché,
“and there’s one about the geological foundation of Turkey,” Oh brother.
“And then one about basic drawing…”
“Drawing?” finally capturing my interest.
“Yeah. Do you draw?”
“Sort of, I just started.”
“Me too! I’m looking forward to this one too. Maybe we could share, it’s pencil drawing.” Well, at least there was hope.
“What’s the last one, you said there was four?” I asked him.
“Yeah well, just a personal interest….” he said, looking at Dad sheepishly.
“About what?” asked Dad.
“Oh…it’s one about…ballet” he said, quickly tucking into his supper. My fork clattered to the floor and I hoped my mouth wasn‘t hanging open.
“What…did you say.” I asked. Mom nudged me under the table, but I couldn’t believe this. Simon looked up, his face a deep red.
“This one sounds interesting.” said Dad smiling.
But looking at Dad and seeing no mockery coming from that direction, Simon continued,
“Well, last year, at school, we had a compulsory class in classical dance. It was ballet. We all had to do it.” he said, with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders, “At first I hated it, just like the other guys. But then I grew to liking it. In fact the more I danced, the more I liked it. You guys must think I’m kind of weird?” he finally asked. I shook my head in amazement. First likes books, draws and now…ballet!
“Simon, I think that’s wonderful.” said Mom, “Ballet is always short of male dancers. What level are you in?”
“Really?” he asked.
“Sure,” said Dad, “tell us about it.” It was Simon’s turn to be astounded.
“Well, I just started pointe but I’m having trouble with it.”
“Pointe?” I said knowing I sounded like an idiot but I just couldn’t hide my amazement.
“Yeah, you know…where the ballet dancers have to dance on their toes.” he said teasingly.
I had the grace to turn red again,
“I know, sorry, I just can’t believe I’m hearing you right… You actually dance pointe?“
“Yeah I do. I started a couple of months ago.”
“Simon, I dance, and I’ve been in pointe for a year!” Simon’s eyes lit up and he grinned. This time I genuinely grinned back. Wow! Who would have thought, Simon in ballet.
“Really! A year! That’s so great. Obviously you have a dance school and here I was afraid I’d have a hard time finding one.”
“No trouble,” I said, suppressing a giggle, “and it’s really close. What ballets have you danced in?” I asked, flabbergasted at the unexpected turn of events.
Simon began telling us of the few shows he’s been part of. Mom reached under the table and gave my hand a squeeze. I squeezed back, giving her a big smile.