The Past This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   If I go back in my memories I can remember many things: the games I played, my old room, my old friends, but one thing that will always stay clear in my mind is our old gym at Main Street. I'm not talking about the gym during the day, but the gym at night. Once a month on Friday night the gym would be transformed. It would no longer smell like shellac and be filled with dodge ball games, instead it would be magical. The large glittery disco ball would turn the walls purple and the dimmed lights would add to the illusion. Being at the dances was different than being at school. The guy who sat next to you in class would no longer be just a guy when he asked you to dance, all of a sudden he would be someone you thought about all the time.

The dances were filled with drama; girls would cry and guys would try to act normal when the girl of their dreams was dancing with their best friend. I never missed a dance; some were bad, some were good and some were pure magic. My first dance, the Carnival dance in sixth grade, was one of the magic ones.

I was so excited, Mom had gotten me a new outfit: the pants were light pink with flowers and the shirt was a rose-colored turtleneck. With my hair pulled back in an elegant French braid, I felt so sophisticated. My stomach was filled with butterflies, my mind with hopes and dreams. I wished on a star that night, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might have the wish I wish tonight." I went to a friend's house before the dance. Tons of girls were there, we were all excited, all fixed up. We told each other the guys we liked and promised not to take them. We even made up a signal we would use if a guy we didn't like asked us to dance. We loaded in the red van and got to the school (fashionably late, of course). We walked into the gym, only it wasn't the gym anymore. I immediately saw him; his hair was messed up and he had on the same t-shirt he had worn to school that day, his crutches had been discarded by the bleachers, a broken leg wasn't going to keep him from dancing. I looked down at the black and green braided bracelet he had given me earlier that week and smiled. All of us girls smiled at each other when the first chords of the slow dance began to wail out. I'll never forget that song, "so close, yet so far away." He asked me to dance and we headed out onto the floor. I remember the way he held me so close (it was as if we had known each other always), the way he softly sang the song into my ear. I remember dancing with him all night, how I felt special, how I knew I wasn't going to be one of the girls standing on the outside.

The gym was just a gym during the day, but on those Friday nights it was a place where hearts were broken and friends picked up the pieces. It was a place where you could feel special, a place where nothing mattered but having fun and how your first name sounded with his last name. We didn't have to worry about pleasing the guy or being popular. It was so simple then. You could be yourself. Unfortunately now we've grown up. We see ourselves with different eyes; we look on the outside, not the inside. It's funny how we knew more in those days than we do now. fl

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 1:22 pm
i love this so much!
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