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A Desire to Dance
As I sit on my front porch rocking I notice the leaves beginning to stir. The wind is gently blowing in every direction pushing them from the ground on which they peacefully lay. Each Autumn when I see the leaves begin to dance I am reminded of my childhood friend.
I remember the day when I first met Laynie Montgomery. I was nine years old peering out the kitchen window as a new family moved in next door. I was excited to see a swing set being unloaded. This family must have children, perhaps one of which was my age. At that moment I saw two girls run around the corner of the house. They were playing tag.
One of the girls was very small. She had short, tangled, blond hair. The other was closer to my age. She was tall and thin. She had pale, wispy, blond hair that extended slightly past her shoulders. The two were sisters no doubt. The taller one spotted me. She motioned for me to come join them.
I ran over to introduce myself. We became friends instantly. The taller girl, Laynie, was indeed the same age as I. Her sister, Natalie, was six. Laynie took ballet. She loved to dance. However, she explained that she could no longer do so due to a disease that weakened her bones. I later discovered that Lanie was suffering from Leukemia.
Throughout the following summer we had dance recitals in Laynie’s backyard. At times she would become too ill to continue. As time progressed her disease worsened. Over the next year dark circles formed around her ocean blue eyes. She began to lose some of her beautiful hair. Despite her terrible condition, Laynie always maintained a positive attitude.
As another year of school came to a close Laynie and I anxiously went home to begin what we planned to be a fun filled summer. As we passed by the post office a colorful flyer caught our attention.
The Richmond ballet was coming to town. We raced home to tell our parents. They called and got tickets immediately.
Throughout the next week the ballet was all Laynie spoke of. It fascinated her. She herself hoped to one day became a part of it.
That night Laynie awoke with excruciating pain. She was rushed to the emergency room. The cancer had spread. My best friend was going to die. She had less than a week to live.
The next week was full of sorrow. Laynie could no longer get up. She spent the majority of the day sleeping. I asked her what she would do when she got better. She told me that she knew that she would never again be well. However, if she could have one last wish it would be to dance again.
Laynie lived longer than the doctors expected. She made it to the ballet. They’re fluid motions brought a twinkle to her eyes. For a moment, she felt as if there was no one else in the world. As the ballet dancers moved about the stage Laynie felt as if she were moving with them, dancing to the soft, lovely music.
The dancers beheld a tremendous amount of grace, comparable to that of Laynie’s. She longed to dance again but knew that she never would. I then saw her close her eyes. She explained to me that when her eyes were closed Laynie could freely dance without suffering from dreadful pain.
Within the following days Laynie passed away. She was buried at the cemetery in a nearby valley. I often went there to place flowers on her grave. On one bright Autumn day I brought her ballet slippers. I had found them while cleaning my room.
As I peered over the valley I noticed the wind beginning to stir. The crisp, colorful leaves gracefully danced across the valley. I then knew that Lanie was more alive than she had ever been. She was no longer sick. At last, Laynie got her wish. Her spirit danced throughout the wind, gracefully, like the ballet.
Although I only knew Laynie for a short period of time she taught me a great deal about life. I learned from her that life is not measured by the time you spend living but by how you choose to pursue your dreams.