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He moves like an alien.
Spastic movements flow from one to another, his leg straightens, and his head tilts up; mouth wide open. One step and than another, and he’s soaring across the dance floor. In reality, it’s only a few feet, but it looks like he’s leaping over mountains, spreading wings and floating across polluted skies. You wonder when he’ll fall, if he’ll hurt himself.
Of course, he lands with grace.
When he turns around, whipping into another spin—his face glowing with perspiration and the glitter splattered leotard clinging to his skin—you’re overcome by memories, blinking tears away as the images come rushing through.
You can see yourself eighteen years earlier, pushing a minuscule body and warm blood out of your womb. You remember holding the infant boy close, feeling the slight thump of this heartbeat, colliding so frequently with your own. You remember how, at that exact moment, you’d made a list of all the possibilities that lay in the small body; all the things that he could accomplish.
The list breathes to life in your head.
""He’d watch educational television only, and not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He’d grow up healthy and strong, always encouraging you and your husband to be more like him. Soon, he’d be so muscular and strong that he could life you with ease, a bright smile planted on his face.
He’d join all the sports teams; soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse…anything and everything, and with every sport joined, another MVP award would be won. He’d become a near prodigy; a legend; the ‘It’ guy at school. The one all the girls wanted to be with, and all the guys wanted to be.
And every night, a different girl would call, begging to talk to him and hear his masculine yet soft voice. And with every call, you’d peek into his room, watching him at his desk, heavily invested in school work. The beam from his lamp would cast a shadow of light over him, over his skin, and you’d only be able to smile.
“Sorry, he’s busy at the moment…” you’d always say without regret, watching as the homework was shuffled and put neatly into a folder.
He’d write down all his goals in a notebook, form the simple (get an A on science test) to the more difficult (get an A+ in all classes). He’d cross every item off when reached and, with every single one crossed, he’d get closer and closer to the sky, until he could touch the clouds easily.
And then he would fly, higher than any human had before.""
It’s strange how things change, how easily dreams shift until reality sets in with a booming crash and a wave of heavy emotions.
""Your dreams for him had never been his own.
He’d never wanted girls begging to talk with him, be with him; shoving his door down in angry desperation.
He never wanted to become the school’s hero, the one everyone would brag about knowing.
He never wanted to become like the Incredible Hulk; mere meat and muscles enveloping over a minuscule heart.
All he’d ever wanted to do was jump over everyone, everything.
He’d only wanted to fly.""
Right now, the tears fog up your eyes so badly that you can barely see him as he dips and dives, leaping circles around the other dancers, doing what he’s always longed to do, and unstoppable in his element. As you let the tears fall, you let the truth as over you as well, all the things you’ve ever denied knowing and seeing.
At age three, he pranced around the house, making his own music and occasionally jumping off furniture in a feeble attempt to fly.
By age six, the football and soccer ball you’d bought him lay untouched in his closet, along with basketball and baseball bat. He kept prancing around, even in public. Strangers gushed at how gregarious and upbeat he was; you’d turn away in shame.
By age ten, the prancing turned into an obsession, and he announced that he only wanted to dance.
By age twelve, he was a dancer.
And through all of this, up until this moment, no girls had ever called.
His voice had remained meek and soft.
The balls had remained in his closet.
No guys had ever wanted to be him; they’d only wanted to hurt him merely for being himself.
But he’d ignored them, only focused on learning this move, making that leap.
He only focused on learning to fly higher than anyone ever had.
And as the music dies and the dancers stop—sweat dripping from their faces—you watch as the room explodes into applause.
He walks to the front and bows slightly; his face alit with something akin to pure joy. The applause grows louder, and you watch as his face twists into shock, melting slowly into humble glee. The other dancers clap his shoulders, pulling him into tight embraces as some of the glitter on his leotard falls, collapsing on the ground.
But he ignores them, ignores everything.
His eyes are on yours, instead; watching carefully.
You’re watching him too, the tears still streaming down your face, and his own hazel eyes—so very much like yours—shimmering with water. The two of you stay like that, frozen in your own thoughts and locked in your own fear.
You let the images pass through your head one last time, and feel them fade away. Finally, after moments in a heated but icy stare, you take a deep breath, stand up slowly…and clap louder than anyone else in the room.
How could you not?
He’s done it; flown higher than anyone else in the world.
Just like you always thought he would.