A Perfect Lesson
By Zoe D.
A thirteen-year-old girl’s leg bends awkwardly, tripping during a grand d’jete, a big ballet leap. A graceful movement turns dreadful as the balance beam handmade by her father suddenly crashes, booming, along with the dirty-blonde, pony-tailed Windy Weather.
“YOW!” franticly howls Windy. Her parents speed toward her deafening cries. “Oh my gosh…what happened honey?!” her Mom panicked. “My foot! My foot!” Windy exclaims, overpowered by the great pain. Her mom gently tugged off the pink ballet shoe enveloping Windy’s puffing, throbbing foot.
Her older sister, Snowy, long, red hair flying, runs to the phone, and quickly dials emergency help at “911.” Snowy helps Windy practice for up-coming events, and had turned her back for a minute, reaching for a Poland Spring’s water bottle. “Oh my! My sister, my best friend…in trouble!” Snowy cries, shouting to her parents, Hailey May and Rayne. All other thoughts were set aside, including the argument the two girls had yesterday, involving a boy. The fight was due to Windy’s immensely competitive nature - she always wins everything! Her headstrong attitude and behavior gets her into trouble. Every argument and situation is settled in Windy’s own, perfect way.
Within minutes, loudly zooming at the speed of light, an ambulance races to the Weathers’ convivial abode. The “Weather Station,” as the family calls their residence, is a three-story-tall, light blue house. Beautiful, long skylights pour faint, yellow drapes down onto the polished wood floor. The skylights let in yellow, early sunshine in the morning to say “hello!” and deep pink in the afternoon as the sun cuddles up under its cloudy blanket to say, “good-night!” A white ambulance, flashing lights, looks strangely out of place on the blacktop driveway, bordered by red, orange and milky white zinnias. The zinnia flowers’ heads bob as the white jacket of a medic flashes by, rushing to the house. Thrusting Windy into the ambulance, the medics rush her straight to the hospital. Her parents cram into the ambulance, their faces grim, glancing worriedly at each other. Rayne, his deep brown eyes narrowing, crunched his tall body down to fit in. Windy thinks his sharp jaw and nose look even more pointed as a medic injects her with a pain reliever. Everything happens so fast that Windy coils in a dizzy mix of pain and confusion, vomiting in the speeding ambulance.
At the emergency room, a doctor meets Windy. He is Dr. Amarillo, a slightly balding man, with beady, blue eyes that reflect as large as golf balls behind his eyeglasses. He tends to Windy’s leg, taking x-rays, then adds a cast. Windy feels terrible about this unmerited event! Anguished emotions stream through her as the doctor works, wrapping the wet plaster round and round. Windy’s thoughts circle her head as she watches the doctor’s hairy, slender hands. It seems she has to focus on minute details in order to keep herself in control. “My, oh my! How can this happen? I am such a jerk! Only three days before the play! A broken foot, and I can’t play The Sugarplum Fairy! I am so foolish, clumsy, and oh so furious with myself,” cries Windy, as clenched fists hold the hospital bed sheets. Her blue eyes flash with fury as a rarely seen angry scowl appears.
Tears gush from Windy as Hailey May, short, red curls bobbing, sea-green eyes glistening, holds Windy’s hand. Her small frame deceives her strong personality, and commitment to her daughter’s welfare and goals. “This will be a hard lesson for Windy, not only physically, but emotionally. I hope she will realize that perfection is not such a good trait to have all of the time. Sometimes upsetting things happen, but you can’t keep a bad trait from letting you grow into something better,” Hailey May thought to herself, taking this accident as a sign of growing for her daughter.
Dr. Amarillo looked up, “You won’t be able to stand on your foot for several weeks. It has to heal very slowly so you can use it to dance again.”
“What! But I have to dance in a play in three days! You can’t do this to me!” Windy angrily turns her back to Dr. Amarillo, a deep frown on her dimpled, cute face. Deep down, she knew the truth - she had pushed herself too hard on the balance beam. It was her own fault, no one else’s.
“I’m sorry sweetie,” Dr. Amarillo gently apologizes, placing a hand on Windy’s shoulder. “I’m sure you can be in a play next year; your talent won’t leave you, and you can build up more stamina when you work your foot in physical therapy.” He then turns to Windy’s parents, directing them with medical procedures, as Windy closes her eyes and sighs deeply, trying to relax her tall, slim body that moves so easily in ballet.
This athletic girl, who enjoys sports, and the honor of winning, pushes herself to be the best of the best whenever she can. Windy thought about The Nutcracker Ballet, and how she auditioned for several parts, winning the role of The Sugarplum Fairy. It was a wonderful Christmas show about a girl, Clara, and an intriguing adventure with a present, a nutcracker. The nutcracker takes her on a surprising journey where they express their love for one another. The romance, action, and beauty of the dancers’ movements and costumes enthralled Windy. Under the stage lights, light silver and pink beads shimmer on costumes. Her own pink, silky costume was glorious to the touch, and the pink, tulle skirt that lightly suspended from her body made her ready for any motion.
“What will my dance instructor, Selene Fiore-Noel Mon’blisse think? She will be so disappointed, being a Broadway star! Selene pushes me to perfection - do I have to be perfect? What am I going to do?” Windy moans to Snowy, as they finally were released from the hospital, eagerly driving home. As Windy nervously taps long fingers on the cast, a deep, dreadful feeling fills her heart as she realizes her predicament and disappointment.
“You push yourself too hard to prove yourself to Selene. You try to out-do other dancers. You should have listened to your inner self and your limitations. Think about Mom’s advice,” Snowy quietly said, staring at the cast. Windy looked at her dear sister, who she admires and decides she is right. “Mom knows the truth about me. I need to take her advice.” A long sigh flows out of Windy, and all of her stress releases.
At home, the Weathers comfortably arrange Windy on the sofa and sit down to talk.
“Windy, honey…” Hailey May begins, hurriedly cut off by Windy.
“I know Mom, I know. Sometimes upsetting things happen, but you can’t keep something bad from the past in your present,” she said, quoting her mother. Hailey May frequently gave advice that Windy usually ignored.
“We want you to know that we love you no matter what. It is not necessary to dance to perfection, along with everything else: sports, schoolwork, friends, your dance instructor’s judgments. You can still try to be the best you can be, without going overboard. Do you understand?” Rayne talked quietly, but decisively.
“Yes, Dad. This experience will get behind me, and I can practice for next year, and be even better - if I choose to do this,” Windy confidently replies, with watery eyes. She finally felt a lot better. Actually, she resigned to the fact that she broke her foot. Now she had a cool cast for friends to sign! Down the road, she could practice ballet, and maybe get the part of Clara, the main character. It was her decision, and it was a great way to think about the future. “I don’t have to compete with my teacher, or my friends. I don’t have to be perfect. Just be myself. That’s a great idea!”
Snowy listens in and asks her, “What’s a great idea? You breaking your foot? Or, you don’t have to be perfect?”
“That’s exactly it!” exclaims Windy.