Ballroom Dancing Alone

March 22, 2012
By , Dummerston, VT
Basketball, when played correctly, is a dance. When it’s a fight for every point, that is a hip hop. When the whole team is in sync, that is an old fashion line dance. However, when Haley played, basketball became a ballet. She danced along the sidelines, floated through the air, and could keep the beat between the bouncing ball and her stride in a way that was simply perfection. Everything about the way she played was flawless and never chaotic.

*****

“GUYS, COME ON!” Our team shouts at us one last time as my dad’s camera flashes right before we book it over to the group and shove our fists into the middle with everyone else’s hands.

“TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT! WHO DO WE APPRECIATE? WALPOLE! THANK YOU OFFICIALS AND THANK YOU FANS!” We line up for the high-fives and good games that are mandatory after every game.

As we finish the final good game, Haley and I both leap at our teammates and pull them into an enormous group hug. The sweat doesn’t matter to us. The Band-Aids covering the cuts are inconsequential. The tears of joys are simply contagious. We were leaving our blood, sweat, and tears on that court and we were bringing home the championship trophy.

“Ladies, line up for a picture in front of the bench.” Are we seriously supposed to stand still for a PICTURE?!

We all line up, 8th graders in the back row towards the middle. Haley is still shaking, laughing, and smiling. Three of us are standing there, trying to hold her in place while all the parents try to capture the moment.

*****

The gym door slams with a bang and I’m brought back to reality, to tears streaming down my face and a knot in my stomach. I’m slammed back to the truth of a BANG we couldn’t hear but we all felt. We felt it tear through our hearts, slicing it open to bleed to the world. The BANG pushed and forced its way through our hearts, ripping at our souls, hacking at our sanity, severing our connections to reality, gashing into our laughter, slashing its way through everything that we thought was true.

I couldn’t face the truth that Haley wouldn’t be there again. I needed her there doing her dance, but that wasn’t possible. It wasn’t right being on the court without her because basketball without Haley was like ballroom dancing without a partner. Her dance was over, even though our music played on.





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