Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Mixed-up Ballerina

Saturday morning, 6 a.m. My alarm is blaring on my nightstand and I'd love to turn it off and sleep a few more hours. I'm too excited, though, because it's a big day today. I'm finally fulfilling my childhood dream. Today is my first ballet class!

At 20, I'm definitely older than most beginners, even if I'm still short as a child. My sister says I'm adorably petite, but she's as small so she's biased. I saw a flyer at the gym earlier this week advertising an adult beginner class at Ballet Academy. I was so excited. I typed the number in my phone and called on my way home to enroll. After getting directions to the facility, I went shopping for all the essentials - leotards, tights, ballet shoes, and of course a cute bag for carrying everything.

I turn off my alarm and jump in the shower. The class begins at 8 and I want to leave early to make sure I find it. I'm not familiar with the part of town where it's located. I am too excited to eat, but force down a banana and a yogurt. I'll need my strength for sure. Finally, I get dressed, twist my long blonde hair into a "ballerina bun" and head out, dance bag in hand.

I'm glad I left early, as there was an accident on the highway causing a bad traffic jam. I arrive at 7:56 and run inside the building, not even looking at the outside. I stop at the front desk. "I'm here for the adult beginner class." The receptionist confirms my name and takes my payment, and tells me the instructor was caught up in the traffic also so class hasn't yet started. "Is there somewhere I can change into my leotard?" I ask, at the same time she's asking me if I have my own handgun or if I need to rent one. We both look at each other, shocked.

"Leotard?" she asks.
"Handgun?" I squeak out. "I'm here for the adult beginner ballet class. I saw a flyer at the gym." She hold up a familiar light blue paper.
"This flyer?" I nod my head yes ."This is for our adult beginner shooting class, dear. This is a Bullet Academy franchise shooting range."

I couldn't believe it. My dream is crushed, because I misread the flyer. I was so excited that I didn't read the entire thing. Looking at it now it's clearly for shooting. There's even a line about handgun rentals. Mortified and crushed, I give the flyer back and ask about a refund. When I get back to my car, I pull out my phone and do what I should have done a long time ago. I look up local dance studios and start calling, asking each about classes for adults. I'm going to make this happen.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Box

Image courtesy of nuttakit at
"It's time," she thought to herself. The suitcase had been sitting in the corner for weeks now. With a sudden determination, she hefted it onto their bed.

At first the small luggage padlock thwarted her, until she realized she had a key to the lock in her vanity drawer. Retrieving the key, she raised the lid. She didn't realize his scent would still be present. The sudden rush of memories and emotion nearly knocked her over. Holding onto the tall post of the bed, she spotted the side chair in the corner. He had always left his ties draped over the back of the chair. She teased him about it, and eventually he would put them away. Now, there were no ties. She pulled the chair up to the bedside and sat down to begin unpacking.

She lifted out a stack of shirts and gently laid them on the bedspread. Next was the socks and underwear, rolled tightly and tucked in the middle. Then she started to lift the stack of pants, when she felt something unusual. A small red box was hidden between the layers. At first she thought it was one last gift for her, but it was months until Christmas, her birthday had already passed, and their anniversary was three months ago.  Then she realized that he couldn't have been bringing it home to her, since he never reached his destination. It couldn't be a forgotten gift from another trip, as it was too carefully hidden between his clothes. Was he taking it to someone else?

She pulled the lid off the box cautiously. Inside was a smaller hinged box, the kind you get a ring or earrings in from the jeweler. The box was navy blue, and there were no markings on the outside to indicate where it came from. She paused. Did she really want to see what was inside? Why was her husband taking jewelry with him on his business trip? Was he having an affair with a coworker? Finally she raised the lid.

Instead of answers, she had even more questions now and no way to get answers. The box was empty.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Larry, part 1

(Today's prompt found here)

There were 17 cats living in Larry’s basement. When we arrived at his house for dinner, I was not expecting that. One or two wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. But 17? That’s the kind of thing that gets you on those can’t-look-away shows on TLC or something. At least they were in the basement, and not upstairs in the main living area. 

As we were passing dishes at the table and filing our plates, someone in the group, I didn’t remember her name, asked Larry about his feline companions. “Well, it’s a funny story,” he began. “I started out fostering shelter cats a few years ago, keeping them off of a literal death row until they could be placed in permanent homes. The cute, cuddly ones always go pretty easily. People have this idea of what they want in a cat, the typical cute small animal that snuggles on your lap and bats at feathers and meows at appropriate times.” The girl who had asked, Angela? Amanda?, was nodding. Apparently she was one of the cute-cat owners. “But I realized that some of the cats who weren’t as cute were getting left behind,” Larry continued. “They were the ones at the shelter in danger of euthanasia simply because they had been there the longest. Or they had the normal behavior issues that come with adjusting to a new home but their new owners didn’t give them the chances the cutesy cats were given. One “mistake” and they were back at the shelter. Being returned put them on the fast track to getting put down.” Antonia, that was her name I finally remembered, was nearly in tears. Larry went on. “I started taking the “less-than” cats on purpose, to give them more of a chance. Now all 17 have some kind of perceived flaw. I look for special people to adopt these special cats.”
The whole time he was talking, I couldn’t help but think about one thing, though. I finally had to ask. “Aren’t there laws that limit how many animals you can have in a residence though? How do you get around that?” A couple people chuckled and I also heard some murmurs of agreement. Antonia shot me a death glare. 

“I had to get a permit from the city,” Larry explained. “I also invited them to come inspect the basement and see where the cats would be living. They were quite impressed, if I do say so myself.”