Backwards

September 8, 2010
By Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office


The take off is all right, my feet hit where they’re supposed to, I have the right trajectory. But I’m scared, I’m scared before I even get on the beam. I over rotate on purpose, landing on my knees. I swallow hard, I can’t do this.
Bao is standing at the end of my beam. He doesn’t look impressed. “Get back up, do it again.” He says. There’s a challenge in his eyes. Are you strong enough to get back up, move on? It says. How much do you want this?
The question swirls around in my mind. Of course I want this, I want to go to the olympics. But can I do it? Can I move on? I want to. I know I need to, but I also know that I can’t, not really, because moving on involves forgetting. I can’t forget about what happened to Lian.
I see it over and over again in my head. Bao was standing there at the beam writing on his clip board like he always does. Lian was on the beam, she’d done an arabian salto before. Tons of times. She didn’t need a spot, no mat.
I wasn’t even looking at her when she fell, I don’t think anyone was, really. She didn’t even scream right away, I think she had the wind knocked out of her, and it wouldn’t have hurt, because the doctors say she couldn’t feel anything below her neck. But she screamed after, from fear probably.
I was standing on my beam when she started screaming, and I whirled around. My foot slipped off the edge and windmilling my arms I tumbled backwards. I landed hard my legs twisted awkwardly underneath me. I didn’t even register the pain. I felt dizzy and sick. Bright lights swirled around me. My heart stopped beating for a second, I’m sure of it, time stopped moving. Because all I could see was Lian, my best friend, lying on the ground, her arms twisted out, her left leg bent underneath her. And all I could hear was her screaming and then mine.
“Well?” Says Bao. He’s still looking at me, expectantly. I’m sweating, but I feel cold, prickly.
No. “Okay.” I say. I don’t want to get back on the beam, but I can’t do anything else.
I can’t stick any dismounts, and when I go to get drinks of water, I let myself cry a bit. Turned away. Most people cry a little at water breaks. It’s the only time you can. It’s sad, I guess, all these girls, standing at the little table in the gym. All of them quiet, out of breath, silently letting tears slip out from under their lids. Then one by one, everyone turns away, their faces neutral again, and goes back to what they were doing. Today I stay longer than everyone else. I’m shaking, and I feel a bit sick, like maybe I should stop training. But nobody ever believes that, even if you are sick.
****
I don’t have anyone to talk to really, now that Lian’s gone. Tension is too high. We are all competitors, fighting against each other for a spot on the olympic team. Each of us have the same dream. “To represent China in the 2012 Olympics.” I used to repeat that to myself at night in the my room at the training center. I was homesick and scared. I’d say, why am I even here? That was my answer.
The only talk is about gymnastics. Some girls are verbose about their achievements. They flaunt them and make loud remarks about other girls. I myself prefer to keep quiet. Most days not too much good happens. I work- hard- I stick to myself. Most days I’m frustrated.
The gymnasts all like to talk about each other. Not in good ways. “So and so isn’t looking too good on bars.” “Did you here this person yelling at her coach?”
There’s always some piece of news. When Lian fell there was gossip for days. Everyone was sad. Lian was nice, and I think, or maybe I just like to hope, that even though she was a good gymnast no one was saying things about it being good she was gone. People aren’t that mean. When I sat alone at dinner people gave me pitying looks. Some girls offered me condolences. But what good did it do? It didn’t change what happened. And then, a couple weeks later, no one talked about it anymore.
I went to visit Lian after she fell. I couldn’t stay long, the nurse told me. I didn’t really want to. She was in a big brace, it went all up her back and around her head and neck. I started crying when I saw it.
She didn’t say anything and I knew I wasn’t helping. I can’t imagine what she felt. I stopped crying and sat down beside her.
“I’m sorry.” I said, because I was.
Lian started crying then. I didn’t want to hug her because I thought I’d just snap her back some more. So I just patter her hand, and said, it’ll be okay, even though I knew she couldn’t feel it, and I knew it wouldn’t.
****
I miss the bar. I’m almost used to the feeling now. The jolt of panic as my fingers tips hook it desperately and slip off, the second where all I can see is white florescent lights blinding me, where I’m arched and flying, and then instinct kicks in and I tuck my head and arms. The mat is soft, but it’s still a jolt.
I sit back and adjust my grips, brushing a stray hair out of my face and trying to breath evenly.
“You’re too early.” Says Bao, scribbling on his clip board. He’s not even looking at me, it makes me mad. He wasn’t looking Lian either.
I’m breathing heavily. All of a sudden I feel mad. I can’t do the regrasp. I don’t like falling, I’m afraid now. My jaw is clenched, I want to scream. Instead I sit and don’t move. Bao finally looks up. Good.
“Get a drink then do three more. Stuck.” He goes back to his clip board. I dog my nails into my palm and bite my lip, I want to throw something. I don’t want to do three more. But nobody ever asks me what I want. Ever. I’m feeling reckless, wrung out, stretched to the limit. Bao isn’t looking at me anymore.
“I quit.” I say. The words feel alien on my tongue. This gets Bao’s attention for real. He looks at me over the rims of his glasses.
“What did you say?” He asks me slowly. He’s going to let me re-think. I stand up.
“I said, I quit.” I spit the last to words out. Putting all the vehemence I can muster into them. For a second Bao looks angry, like he might hit me or yell. I want him too, then I can hit him back. But he doesn’t hit me, instead he says,
“Fine.” He goes back to his clip board. I could say I’m furious now, but even that doesn’t cover what I’m feeling. I turn and walk away. Across the gym towards the doors. I’m seeing in red. Everything is blurry.
On my way out the door I undo my grips. They’re the best kind. The most expensive, they are tailored especially for gymnasts at my club. I throw them in the garbage.
The air outside is damp. It smells like car exaughst and rain. I sit on the ground and breath. I’m not as angry anymore. I’m just scared. I look around me, at the cars going by splashing each other with muddy water. I don’t know where to go. I’m already getting cold out here, in my sweaty gym suit.
I tried to run away once when I was eight. I wanted to go home. I missed my mom and dad and sisters. I packed a bag and walked outside. I changed my mind, I didn’t know how to get home anyway.
I get up and turn towards the door. I don’t have any other options. When I walk back into the gym some girls stare at me, but their coaches snap them back to attention. I walk across the mats, the soles of my feet stick to them and make a clicking noise. Bao doesn’t look at me for a moment when I’m standing in front of him. When he finally looks up he merely says, “Five more.” I’m deflated and broken. I want to sit on the mats and start balling. I want to yell and scream, go back outside, back in time even, years back, when I still had an open future. Instead I stumble to the garbage can and fish my grips out. What other choice do I have?


The author's comments:
I wrote this after watching some videos about Chinese gymnasts who are training for the olympics.

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This article has 15 comments.


Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Apr. 23 2011 at 3:51 pm
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks for the feedback! And yeah, I know. I didn't edit very much before I posted, and I read back through, and I've put a lot of periods where I could have had commas. 

AsIAm PLATINUM said...
on Apr. 23 2011 at 11:33 am
AsIAm PLATINUM, Somewhere, North Carolina
48 articles 3 photos 608 comments

Favorite Quote:
"According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. (Generally those who don't have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.) I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking." — Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate)

Geez! This was intense! And really sad.  I could feel the helplessness.  Read through it a few more times for grammar (I noticed some things that were off), but otherwise it's great! Write on!

Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Dec. 5 2010 at 11:48 am
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it :)

Emma07 SILVER said...
on Dec. 3 2010 at 3:53 pm
Emma07 SILVER, China, Maine
6 articles 1 photo 10 comments
Wow!  That was awesome!  I don't read many sport stories on this site, but that one was amazing!  Very nice job!

Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Oct. 14 2010 at 3:51 pm
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thank you!

Atrissa BRONZE said...
on Oct. 13 2010 at 5:26 pm
Atrissa BRONZE, Akron, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
With everything falling down around me, I'd like to believe in all the possibilities.

wow this was amazing! its so sad but it sorta connects to everyone whos tried quiting somthing they love. keep writing :)

Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Oct. 2 2010 at 4:34 pm
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks for commenting! Aha, I didn't even notice the "dog" thing so thanks for pointing it out. I'd love to check out some of your work ")

on Oct. 2 2010 at 4:33 pm
ForeverFelix PLATINUM, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
30 articles 2 photos 207 comments

Favorite Quote:
Daydreams can be worse than nightmares, but that never stops me.

Awwww...this kept me hooked the whole time. And is so, so sad. And horrible. And wonderfully written...with a few mistakes here and there (like "dog" instead of "dig"). Never, ever stop writing.

-J7X-

PS-Mind checking out some of my work? =)


on Sep. 27 2010 at 3:58 am
starxoxo23 PLATINUM, New Hampshire, New Hampshire
21 articles 0 photos 97 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."
- Alan Alda

You're welcome! And thanks (:

Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Sep. 26 2010 at 4:54 pm
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks soo much! I really liked your work too :)

on Sep. 25 2010 at 5:44 pm
starxoxo23 PLATINUM, New Hampshire, New Hampshire
21 articles 0 photos 97 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."
- Alan Alda

This is so sad and heartwrenching, but your writing is amazing! I love the way you describe how the main character is feeling at each stage in the story.

I've never really thought about all the tension and abuse that professional gymnasts go through, but it sounds like an awful situation to be in. Great job - you're a talented writer!


Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Sep. 23 2010 at 3:20 pm
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks for the feedback! And I know, thinking about people who have to actually go through it is what really inspired me to write it. 

on Sep. 22 2010 at 4:56 pm
Silence-Is-My-Virtue GOLD, Stansbury Park, Utah
10 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The sentence below this is false.
The sentence above this is true.
Try to figure that out." -- unknown

i love this too! it was a really interesting way tp put things and i feel so bad for those people who really have to go through stuff like this...

Aidyl BRONZE said...
on Sep. 16 2010 at 7:10 am
Aidyl BRONZE, Oshawa, Other
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want a friend be a friend."

-Poster


"That's cool. Hey you know what's even cooler than triceratops? Every other dinosaur that ever existed!"
-Dwight Schrute The Office

Thanks Tombstone. I always appreciate your pointers on grammar, as you are a pro. And I'm glad you liked it!  YAY! 

on Sep. 14 2010 at 8:00 pm
AnneOnnimous BRONZE, Peterborough Ontario, Other
3 articles 0 photos 147 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."
— John Green

Dyl, I love this!!!! It was really interesting, and I loved the flashback parts. My only suggestions have to do with grammar- at some points there were commas where there should have been periods, but other than that, it was amazing




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