|Even though the room is completely empty, and the senior kids have just left, Lizzy makes her way in and takes a seat on the ground to start her pre-stretching stretches. She’s always the first one there, because she doesn’t have to worry about school like the other kids do. She can get a head start, so her splits are extra stretched by the time Mrs. Williamson comes in. She sets her dance bag beside her, and she starts to change from her tennis shoes into a pair of ballet slippers and then she grabs a scrunchy to begin putting her hair up. Each time she gathers it up, she misses pieces because it’s getting so long. Her mom won’t let her cut it though, because it’s ‘so pretty’ she always says. |
Someone else comes through the door, and Lizzy expects it to be Mrs. Williamson, so maybe she can help pull Lizzy’s hair up. She turns quickly, but it’s not Mrs. Williamson – it’s Summer. Right away, Lizzy looks down, and she re embers what her mom told her; That Summer doesn’t like her, and that Summer thinks she’s better. The two haven’t gotten to talk since the weekend, when her mom talk her the truth about Summer. Summer was really sad when Lizzy refused to come over, but she doesn’t seem sad now. She greets Lizzy like normal, and she comes to sit beside her. Just like Lizzy did, she starts putting on her ballet shoes. Lizzy glares at her but doesn’t say anything. She continues trying to mess with her hair instead.
“What’s wrong?” Summer asks, but Lizzy says nothing again. She just shrugs her shoulders. “Are you mad at me or something?” Summer presses further.
“No,” Lizzy insists, for the last time, letting her hair fall out of her hands and deciding she’ll have Mrs. Williamson braid it. “Why would I be mad?”
“I don’t know – you’re just being kind of mean…” Summer finally says.
“You were mean to me first,” Lizzy argues. “My mom told me you were talking about me, and you were saying a bunch of mean stuff about me.”
“What?” Summer frowns, turning to face Lizzy. “I never said anything about you!” She insists.
“Don’t lie,” Lizzy says quickly. “Yes you did, and that’s why I don’t want to be friends with you anymore. So, leave me alone.”
“Lizzy, I’m not lying,” Summer frowns, and she starts crying but only a little. Lizzy looks at her, finally.
“Well, my mom wouldn’t lie,” Lizzy says.
“Well neither would I,” Summer insists, starting to wipe her face. “Your mom just doesn’t like me, that’s why she said that.”
“My mom likes you,” Lizzy insists.
“No she doesn’t,” Summer says quickly. She inhales deeply and then she begins fishing through her bag. “Your mom told my mom I was the reason we wouldn’t get first.”
“She did…?” Lizzy frowns. Maybe that’s why she’s crying – because that’s really harsh of her mom to say. “You heard her?”
“Yeah,” Summer says. Lizzy doesn’t say anything back but Summer reaches over and she puts her hand on Lizzy’s knee, probably so she’ll pay attention to what she’s saying. “I’d never say anything bad about you, Lizzy – even if I thought it. But I don’t – I’m just saying…I’d never do that. ‘Cuz I like you, I think you’re cool. And…you’re a really great dancer.”
“You are too,” Lizzy smiles. The smile fades as soon as she remembers she needs to decide how to feel – and how she wants to feel, is not mad at Summer anymore. She wants them to be friends, just like they were when they were working on their duet. “I’m sorry…” Lizzy finally says. “Sorry my mom said that about you, and…that I didn’t believe you.”
“It’s okay,” Summer says, quiet but smiling. “Sometimes your mom’s a little crazy.”
“A little?” Lizzy laughs. Summer laughs in return, now tying her hair up all the way. Lizzy looks down at her scrunchy and then she hands it to Summer. “Will you help me?” She asks.
Summer doesn’t even stop to think. “Sure!” She says. She takes the scrunchy from Lizzy and the two face the mirror while Summer does her hair, just like she did the entire time they were partnered together. She wants to stay friends – even if her mom hates Summer, Lizzy wants to stay friends.