I practice the dance moves again and again in the ballet studio until every step is perfect. I want to make sure I don't mess anything up because I am the leader for the song and the entire audience will see me first.
I'm excited as my mom helps me get ready for the recital. I use her shoulders for balance as I pull on the white tights. Next comes the blue and white striped leotard and the white tutu, then the matching white Tom Sawyer hat with the blue ribbon.
I fidget as my mom applies pink blush to the apples of my cheeks, even though I'm already prone to looking flushed as it is. She also puts some lipstick on me, then fixes my hair into a bun. I make sure we don't forget my umbrella with the lace ruffle around the edge as we rush out of the house.
Backstage, we receive our cue as "The Yellow Rose of Texas" begins to play. I am exhilarated as I dance onstage, all the other girls following me. The stage lights shine brightly down. I see the large audience dimly lit in front of me.
I can't focus. My tutu is itchy. I'm trying to find my parents in the audience. I have some mosquito bites on my thigh that are suddenly irritating.
I stop on the side of the stage. I can't help but scratch my bites furiously. Tears are streaming down my face.
"Mommy! Daddy! I'm itchy!" I scream again and again until my parents rescue me from the stage.
This post was written in response to this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge. Some people consider themselves athletes. Others do not. Write a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction in which athleticism features prominently. Use one of these photographs for inspiration.
I knew I had to write about my dance recital. I was 5 or 6 years old when it happened, and afterwards, I stopped ballet lessons and didn't dance again until college. I have the whole thing on videotape, and it is equally hilarious and humiliating. Although I failed as a dancer, I was a great soccer player growing up, so I guess it's a good thing I stopped dancing so I could focus on that.