When He Dances



By: Eleanor Dow

 

Picture this: a four-year-old boy is at L.L. Bean, picking out a fleece. He runs toward the rack of pink ones and says, “This is the one I want!” At home, he dresses up in his sister's ballet leotards and puts on a white poofy skirt they use for dress up and goes to show his mom saying, “Look mom, I'm a ballerina!” Brown eyes turn on him, crinkling at the corners She breaks into a smile and asks, “Do you want to do ballet like your older sisters?” “YES!”

The little boy has three sisters, and both of his older sisters have taken ballet lessons. The oldest one walked into her first lesson, promptly stated that it was stupid and a waste of her sixth year on earth, and marched out. She never went back. The second sister went for almost two years, but got fed up with having to go each week and she quit, too. The little four-year-old boy got black tights and a white t-shirt and, at long last, his very own pair of black ballet shoes. He started out in a class with girls - he was the only boy in there - and all they did was leap around like gazelles as four year olds do in ballet. Fast-forward eight years. The boy is twelve. He, out of all the siblings, stuck with it. Now this little boy is over five feet tall, he is in sixth grade, and he is still dancing. Everyone in his class teases him because he dances. They have called him gay and said dancing is stupid. He comes home from school looking sad with his head bent towards the ground. His family asks him what is wrong and at first he refuses to tell them but they keep bugging him until he spills. His two older sisters share an evil look and offer to kill them to death with zombies, but their mother says no, even though the look in her eyes clearly says that she thinks zombies would be humane compared to what she was thinking. So, they hug him and tell him that he is more amazing than any of them could ever dream of being. They say that his classmates are just jealous because of the many hours he spends with girls dancing in tight leotards every other day. They tell him that the other kids are also jealous of the frightening amount of muscle he has for a twelve year old. His second sister reminds him that the tides have turned and if they wrestled now, she would stand no chance against him. Slowly, he begins to smile again. When he feels better and goes outside to play with the dog for a while, everyone else sits on the couch thinking about just how fantastic he is. After six years of his class giving him hell, he still dances.