Five Thirteen

I remember the first time I ever saw someone move like they were from another planet. These rebels did spins on their heads instead of on their feet, held themselves up on the floor in positions I had never imagined. His crew moved in perfect harmony, narrowly missing each other’s bodies as they flipped or swung. The battle raged on, head held high, as the crew’s countless hours of practice paid off. Chemistry united the members of this crew as their hips swung to the bass, beads of sweat forming on glistening shirtless chests and bulging arms. I looked up at Tyler, mouth agape. He was poised, perfectly unknown, fifteen feet above the crowd. Catching my eye, he gazed down at me. Readily positioned at the tip of the beam, I saw his entire body tense, using incredible muscles typical people did not even know they had. He launched himself into the empty air, rotating his body into two perfect back flips. He landed, catlike, in the middle of the small star the crew’s members had formed, arms crossed.

Mouths hung open as the entire club went silent; then the crowd went up in cheers and chants of “Five-Thirteen! Five-Thirteen!” and encircled the star. Tyler broke through the crowd and lifted me high into the air, whooping. I yelled and laughed, incredibly happy for my big brother. I felt something else, an overwhelming desire that was ripping, burning like a savage wildfire inside me. That does not even begin to define how badly I wanted to spin and glide as they did. But I knew it did not come easy. Tyler would tell me ‘Don’t give up. Just be you, because life is too short to be anyone else.’ I still wanted to be able to get in a battle on the Denver streets and win. I wanted to have muscles like rocks and be known across the world. Just the country. The state would suffice.

That night at the club, the crowd wanted more. Five Thirteen gave them more. Tyler set me down and I remained on the edge of the cheering people. I could feel a buzz of electricity emitting from the seething mass behind me. I listened to the crew’s sneakers as they squeaked and scraped on the concrete while their bodies bent at angles barely possible; I heard their powerful stomps in perfect synchronization. I saw brick-hard muscles flex and soften as exposed stomachs curved gracefully. These powerful bodies moved at such tremendous speeds, arching and popping. I could not keep my eyes away. I smelled dirt and sweat mixed with the scent of rain coming in buckets just outside the door. I watched in awed silence as Tyler’s crew finished their dance, one member flying through the air horizontally over another who bent backwards at exactly the right time. The crowd, recovering again from shock, cheered and chanted, throwing their defiant hands up into the air rhythmically as they encircled the crew again.
I smiled as I noticed the way the speakers were throbbing to the heavy bass, the DJ above them at his tables clapping, hands above his head. I watched as my brother, my mentor, my best friend, escaped from the wave of girls suffocating him. Their faces fell as he captured me in a big bear hug, his muscular six foot five figure obliterating mine.
That desire, still burning, was rapidly spreading through my veins. It coursed its way, agonizingly slow, through my body until it tore into my heart, grasping onto it and refusing to let go. I looked up at Tyler. He knew right away, reading my green eyes like anyone else would read a book.
“Yes little bear, I will teach you.”
I finally knew exactly where I belonged.
Right here, with a dancer branded on my heart.





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