MG Contemporary: BEING JONATHAN Feb 3, 2017 14:54:01 GMT -5
Post by nwlyon80 on Feb 3, 2017 14:54:01 GMT -5
“Let’s get moving, Jonathan!” Missy shouts from downstairs, “We are going to be late for dance… AGAIN!”
I yank open the dryer door and pull out a pair of teal leggings. I feel them all over to make sure they are dry enough to wear. Ugh. They are still as soggy as a half-eaten bowl of cereal. I can’t believe my dad did this to me. But I am out of time. Officially. I slide my legs into the damp leggings, grab my sneakers from my bedroom and dash down the stairs. Missy stands at the front door with a giant duffel bag hanging from each of her shoulders. She blows a big puff of air up at her blond bangs. They flutter up for a moment and then land on her forehead.
”If you think for one second I’m gonna carry your bag for you, you’ve lost your mind!”
“Simmer down, girl. I can carry my own bag.”
She hands me my bag, and I sling it over my own shoulder. I honestly do feel bad that I’ve made us so late, but the poor girl is stuck with me. We’ve been besties for pretty much our entire lives.
“I’m sorry for the hold up,” I tell her, “But my leggings were still in the dryer. You know I can’t rehearse without my favorite pair!”
What I don’t tell her is that I found those leggings stuffed in the trash when I got home from school today. Put there by my own father. They were completely covered with spaghetti sauce and hamburger grease. They needed three wash cycles and nearly a gallon of Tide to be wearable again. It’s hard to be fabulous with marinara sauce covering my knees.
“Well, you do look smashing in that teal pair. Good thing you got all that stank outta them!” I knew she couldn’t stay mad at me for long.
“Well, you look super cute in that new striped shirt. Per usual,” I reply.
“Oh, this old thing??” Missy asks. She places her right hand dramatically on her chest. We both laugh loudly as we charge out the front door and down the porch steps. The great thing about spending every waking moment with my best friend is that we never stop laughing. Everyone’s life should be full of this much laughter.
Ten minutes later we are bursting into Ms. Katherine’s dance studio. The white decal on the glass door says “K-Squad” over a silhouette of a girl doing a pirouette. Most of my favorite memories happened here. This place is more of a home than my actual house.
Missy and I quietly creep across the wooden floor and take our seats behind the other K-Squad girls. Our instructor is facing the K-Squad hip hop dancers, leaning on the ballet bar. Not only is Ms. K a top notch dance teacher, she is also utterly gorgeous. She has wavy, brunette hair that rests gracefully on her shoulders. She’s wearing a black chiffon skirt that sways a bit as she taps her foot. I am pretty sure that tapping foot is directed at Missy and me. And our late arrival.
“Sure is nice of you two to join us,” she says, “We certainly can’t start rehearsal without two the squad’s best dancers!”
I cringe a bit when she says this. I really don’t want the girls thinking Ms. K favors Missy or me. I mean, as the only male member of the K-Squad, I’ve always stuck out a little. If I am being honest, I’ve always stuck out like crying baby at a church service. There are just not a ton of eleven-year-old boy hip-hop dancers in suburban Chicago. So people notice me. They do. When we perform at festivals or dance in competitions, I can feel the audience staring at me. They wonder why I am the only boy up there on stage with all those girls. I can see the confusion in their eyes when I strut my stuff. I try not to let it bother me. Really, I do. But sometimes it does.
“It’s totally my fault we are late, Ms. K,” I say, “I had a minor fashion emergency.”
“You wouldn’t want Johnny boy rehearsing in some drabby gym shorts, would you?” Missy comes to my rescue. Thanks, girl!
“I suppose not,” Ms. K mutters, “Okay. Okay. I guess you two are off the hook. We need to get started anyway. We have a big rehearsal ahead of us.”
A big rehearsal, huh? This is news to me. Ms. K breezes over to the boom box sitting on a cart in the corner of the studio.
“Today, I am going to teach you a brand new hip-hop routine!”
We all squeal with delight. Of all the dance styles, hip-hop is my number one favorite.
“And judging by his t-shirt, Jonathan is going to be extra excited about this one.”
All ten girls whip their heads toward me and my t-shirt. It’s from a concert Missy and I went to last week. And not just any concert. Like, the most amazing concert in the history of humanity. Across my chest are pink curly letters spelling out…
“Whitney Cheers!” Ashleigh screams.
“OMG, are we doing a Whitney Cheers song, Ms. K? Sweet Jesus, please tell me we are!” Missy is up on her feet.
Whitney Cheers is the ultimate pop star. All those other singers wish they had half an ounce of her talent and charisma. Please let us be dancing to one of her songs.
Ms. Katherine pushes play on her boombox and we all hear the opening beats of “I'm Meant to Shine”. I am absolutely obsessed with Whitney Cheers’ latest single. I immediately start bobbing my head side to side along with the beat of the music.
“You are the best dance teacher ever Ms. Katherine!” I shout over the beat.
“Now let’s start in our usual hip-hop formation!” chirps Ms. Katherine. “Find your places!”
I start skipping to the center of the room to find my starting spot. But as I skip, my hand brushes my teal leggings. Sigh. They are still damp from earlier. From when I rescued them from the trash.
After dance practice, Missy and I walk together down Kentwood Avenue toward my house. Naturally, we sing Whitney Cheers at the top of our lungs as we go. We pass a couple of kids on bikes, and start singing even louder. They look at us like we are nuts, but when I’m with Missy, I don’t care one tiny bit. As we approach my house, it’s pretty much dark out already. I look up. Sigh. David’s bedroom light is off. He must be hanging with the basketball guys tonight. Or maybe his girlfriend, Victoria. But he’s gone. Again. That means another evening of just me and dad in the house. Lucky me.
Missy gives me one of her famous giant hugs. As she pulls away, I notice her eyeing my purple leggings. My eyes follow hers to a small red splotch near my right ankle. Our eyes lock for a moment, and it is instantly clear she knows why I was running so late for dance. But the only thing she says is, “Love ya, Jonathan” and she’s off to her house.