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Shattered Dreams

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I was sick of it. Sick to the death. Who did they think they were – discussing all of this behind my back and then announcing it like that, without even an ‘do you mind’! Maybe I should have been proud of my parents – even, oh horror of horrors, pleased – I know some people who would have been. But I was fed up of them telling me how to live my life. So what, if I was different from how they were when they were kids; that is, if my ancient parents ever were the right side of forty. I was my own person and I wasn’t about to change for them.
Less than an hour ago, I had thought that all of my wildest dreams had come true: now they lay in pieces, before my eyes.
It simply wasn’t fair.
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Ballet dancing is my passion. Was my passion I should say: I mean, it’s not as if I’ll be able to do it any more – is it? My dream has always been to dance in the Royal Ballet, ever since I can remember. For almost ten years I’ve been dancing, and during that time I have missed countless birthday parties, and been so committed that I’d barely missed a single class. I had ended up doing almost five hours of dancing every week – and today was supposed to be the day that all of my hard work paid off.
Despite being one of the youngest in my class, I was also one of the best: and I knew it! I’d like to be able to say how modest I am, how my friends had no idea of my astounding achievements…but whatever else I am, I am not the most modest person in the world! Whenever I tried to proudly relate the details of my latest triumph to my best friend Gracie, she would sigh sorrowfully and turn away, shaking her head in mock despair; as if she’d heard it a hundred times before (which was probably not too far off!).
But she listened this time. All of my friends listened to my cutting-edge news; the whole class; I even saw the corners of Mr Cunningham’ mouth twitch! At first nobody could believe it. Neither could I!
The news came while I was sitting in Maths, struggling with my quadratic equations, in the unlikely form of Miss Thomas – the school secretary. She tottered into the classroom on her high heels, looking decidedly out of breath. “Leah? Leah Jordan?” she panted, catching gasping for breath, “Could I just borrow you for a minute?” she glanced anxiously at a frowning Mr Cunningham, who glowered down at her from under his mono-brow.
“I-I-I’m terribly sorry sir!” she stammered, looking flustered and blushing furiously, “there is a caller on the school telephone who wishes to speak with Miss Jordan most urgently.”
“Very well then Leah, off you go. Oh! And I almost forgot…”
“Yes sir?” asked Miss Thomas, fluttering her carefully painted eyelashes, and casting a timid glance a Mr Cunningham.
“…I want that exercise finished for tomorrow, Leah. Miss Thomas, whatever are you doing? Do you have something in your eye? If you do then the person to see would be the school nurse,”
Miss Thomas glowed a deep crimson and attempted to back out of the classroom, but in her attempts, managed to knock over the wastepaper basket; sending screwed up balls of paper skittering across the floor. “Oh dear! Don’t you worry sir; I’ll soon tidy up…” Mr Cunningham sighed exasperatedly and walked over to the scene of the crime. “No, Miss Thomas, I can sort all of this out, but maybe you should just go with Leah before you cause any more trouble.” he suggested drily.
Miss Thomas retreated gratefully out of the classroom, pulling me with her. Although at first, one was inclined to pity her, Miss Thomas was not a nice woman. A nervous temperament had not been improved by years of being bullied by those above her: but, unfortunately, she seized every opportunity to vent her anger on an ill-fated pupil with both hands.
She leered at me with those brightly painted lips of hers, and I could smell something rather fishy on her breath. “Well then, Miss Jordan are you going to talk, or just stand there, like a lemon?” she smirked spitefully. But I was too…too agog at what I was being told over the telephone to even notice, and I didn’t even have to bite back my usual retort, so intent was I on the conversation.
“’Ello?” I heard a voice quaver uncertainly – a voice with a strong French accent – a voice I knew.
“Madame Rosaline!” I gasped, as I recognised my ballet teacher’s sing-song voice, “What is it? Is anything wrong?” Madame Rosaline was old for her profession, despite still being a brilliant dancer, and she used telephones with great trepidation. To be calling me in school time on ‘one of those new-fangled thingummy-bobs’ as she put it, something was either very wrong, or a miracle had occurred.
“Is anything wrong, Madame Rosaline?” I repeated, at first getting no answer but wheezing static from the earpiece.
“No! Of course not! Nothing is wrong, do not worry my darling!” she clucked protectively, “In fact, all of my dreams, and yours too I know, have come true! You have been offered a place at the Royal Ballet Academy in London! I shall tell you more in class today, so goodbye my darling – and good luck!”
I stood motionless with the phone to my ear. If what I had just heard was not my imagination, then a true miracle had occurred! I was going to the a Royal Academy! In London!
And of course, the rest of the lesson was history. Nothing could burst my bubble; at least, not until I got home…
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I floated through the door on wings of happiness. “Mum!” I called cheerily up the stairs as I tossed my schoolbag into a corner, “Have I got something amazing to tell you!” I announced as she clattered down the stairs towards me, an expression of unadulterated bliss on her face.
“Oh that’s wonderful Leah, but I’m sure your news can wait just a moment! Your father and I have a big plan to tell you that you’re just going to love! You’re going to be so excited!” she exclaimed happily as I chewed my lip nervously.
“But Mum—“ I interjected uselessly as she took a deep breath,
“Leah, your father and I are both out of a job, so we’ve decided to go on a little adventure to cheer us all up. It was Nick’s idea, such a charitable proposal!”
I steeled myself, waiting for her to tell me that we were setting up a new litter-picking committee.
“We are going to be helping all of those poor deprived children so much!” she sighed dreamily. That was when alarm bells started ringing in my head. What was going on? I stood, dismayed as Mum told me the true horror of the thing:
“We’ve got jobs in a new school as teachers, so we’re all moving – oh, this is so exciting!” she squealed happily, “We’re all moving to Africa!



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