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Are You All Right?
Are you all right?
The question follows me around.
“Are you all right?” Mr. Croyatter, my music teacher, asks me as I pack up my clarinet and prepare to walk out the door. “You seem kind of down.”
I hesitate, wondering what I should reply. Mr. Croyatter and I have developed a close relationship this year. Often, I can predict his actions, and he can read my mood and expressions. What do I say that won’t make him worried?
“Wa Wa?” He’s worried about me now. I waited too long to answer. Great. What to say?
“Y-yeah, I’m fine,” I mumble nervously back to him, hoping this would be sufficient.
He nods, accepting the answer, though he looks as though he has yet again read between my lines. He doesn’t buy it. He’s picked up on my stutter, and now he’s going to be worried about me. “Oh. Okay then. I’ll see you later.”
I involuntarily release a sigh of relief that I hadn’t realized I had been holding in. Did he suspect something? But… what? My response? Was it the too- casual “fine”? He can’t have already picked up on IT, right?
I stopped and thought about “fine”. “Fine” just meant you were… ok. Nothing special. “Fine” is the equivalent to hanging in there… right?
“Are you all right?” My ballet teacher questions me, her eyebrows knitting with concern. I had been doing a combination at the barre involving échappes en Pointe for the last couple of minutes, and I had missed the final turn, twisting my right ankle into an unpleasant image.
I circled my ankle on the ground for a moment. It seemed fine. I should be okay to dance. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Nothing’s hurting? That was quite a nasty turn,” my teacher gives me the same look Mr. Croyatter did earlier. The look creeps me out, and I space out for a moment thinking about that look. Does she think…? Her too? Awkward pause. “Wa Wa? It’s not just the ankle, is it?”
“Oh!” I jump, shrugging away that look. “Yeah, no, I’m good. It’s ok.”
“Okay then…” Awkward pause number 2. She doesn’t believe me either. Just when the looks were giving me the creeps again, she turns and dishes out the next outrageously hard exercise. I sigh, hoping to escape from the questioning looks from my peers.
“Wa Wa… Wa Wa?”
I shake my head to clear the swirling images of Mr. Croyatter’s and my ballet teacher’s faces and try to focus on the concerned face in front of me. “Huh?”
“Are you OK?”
Oh god. It’s the question again, just worded slightly differently. I’m immediately apprehensive of the interrogation that’s sure to follow. She has that look too... “Wah?”
“Geez- you’re really out of it today!” My best friend and partner in crime, May, laughs as she tries to get my attention. “I was trying to ask you if you were like depressed or something-” My heart skips a beat. “-and you’re not answering at all! Who knows (since you won’t answer me and you’re spacing out)? Maybe you really are depressed!”
Does that mean…? That THEY know too? So Mr. Croyatter and my ballet teacher and my friends… they all figured it out? With difficulty, I pulled my attention from the worried swirling thoughts in my mind back to May.
“You know, everyone’s been asking me the same question all day…” I slowly mention to May, dreading her answer. “And they’re all giving me that same look…”
“Well, then maybe everyone’s really concerned about you considering you’re randomly spacing out and looking like someone shot Bambi right in front of your eyes!”
“Oh.” Then they don’t know. So no one knows about it. Whew. How much longer can I hide it?