Near 500 words: The gift

Alicia wanted to go dancing. Dancing had been her passion since she was a girl. When she was thirteen she had tried out for ballerina.

“Your butt is…well, let’s just say, your butt is too much butt,” the dancing school owner told her. “And besides you’re too short.”

Wasn’t that just the way with dreams?

In high school, she’d liked painting. And she’d been half good the way she was with a lot of things. She was a half good sketcher, a half good runner, a half good writer, and a half good singer. Half good but nothing special. Until she got a camera for Christmas.

It was from her mother. Her mother, who hated Alicia’s dreams being quashed. Every night she went to sleep thinking how she might give Alicia some support. It broke her heart to see her daughter’s face drop when she was told she couldn’t. Her mother wasn’t sure about the camera.

Alicia looked at the camera. It wasn’t much of one but it was all her mother could afford. She’d picked it up at a pawnshop. And she had gotten her daughter two rolls of film.

Alicia took the camera out and examined it. Played around with it the way a boy plays around with his first football, giving it a good once-over before he tosses it. Finally she opened the box with the film. She pushed one of the rolls into place. Without being told or reading the instructions, she knew just what to do. She adjusted the lens, aimed and shot her mother. Click went the camera just like it had been waiting to do.

That first roll of film her mother paid for. “But that’s it,” her mother said. “I don’t have the money for more.”

Alicia picked up the developed photographs a few days later. She waited until her mother came home late that night from her job.

“What’s going on?” her mother asked, giving her a suspicious look. She’d never seen that kind of look on her child’s face. She wasn’t sure whether to be concerned or happy.

“I picked up the pictures,” Alicia’s voice full of all the excitement a girl of fourteen can have.

Her mother dropped her purse on the table. “Well, let’s see.”

The two, mother and daughter, sat at the table as Alicia opened the treasure chest of a packet with her photographs. She shook them out of the envelope and onto the table. Her mother picked up one and she picked up one. Then they exchanged. The photographs were only half good. All of them but one. That one was magical.

That was years ago.

Now Alicia was ready for some dancing. She jumped on the back of Daisy’s motorbike and off the two of them went. They were going dancing, and then Alicia would take her pictures of the whirling dervishes of dancers on the dancing floor.

That night she danced and drank and laughed and took her pictures, knowing that the world had many more photographs waiting for her.

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3 thoughts on “Near 500 words: The gift

  1. Thanks uncle! As someone who is half good at a lot of things, I can relate. Especially to a mother that is her child’s biggest cheerleader. It is freeing to be good at something, whatever it is. Nice story!

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