Something a Little Like Pride ~ A Short Story
Posted February 19th, 2011 by GabiDi
in ception. (you're waiting for a train. BA-BAM. Oh, I shame myself.)
February 19th, 2011
A/N. Um...yeah. I have nothing to say, except that I am Allie...and does this depress you? I never realized it was depressing until I typed it onto Word, and then I was like 'Wow...' SO! Please comment! :D
There was a lot of noise in the auditorium. Shrieks and whistles and grunts mingled with the air like mud in water. People scattered about on the blue mat, moving with the jumpy, clustered motions of grasshoppers. In the stands, sluggish crowds of shrieking fans and parents munched their chips and snacks, occasionally bursting into a frantic round of yelling for their sons and brothers. Slogans plastered the almost-white walls, scrawled cheers for the wrestling Wildcats.
Alison hated it.
Her parents had moved away to find some food and her brother was chewing meditatively on a pretzel, watching his teammates avidly. She had brought a book, but realized too late that she had already read it; and now she hunched on the bench of the wrestling tournament stands, watching everybody and nobody.
It was strange, but other little sisters appeared to be fascinated. That is, they screamed for brothers when a victory required it, and wore hand-me-down T-shirts with an indifferent, reluctant sort of sluggish pride. But 12-year old Allie Parker simply couldn’t be interested. She hated wrestling, the twitchy, clumpy sport of awkward dog-piling and head-slapping. She didn’t like the boys, either, who seemed to be either scrawny and tiny or blubbery morons. And what she hated most was the pure noise and the shrill, demanding whistles. Karate, that’s different. That’s beautiful.
She thought for a moment, tucking her brown hair behind her ear. She usually kept the hair as a sort of shield to protect her ears, but no one was on the mat now, and the cheering and yelling had shrunk to a dull murmur that lamented or boasted past victories and losses.
Allie’s parents returned, bearing hot dogs and nachos. Allie refused—the food was greasy—and instead gulped down lukewarm water from a thermos. She glanced onto the mat, where a 13-year old boy had climbed onto another boy and was pushing his head down obstinately. The only difference between the two, she reflected, was their singlets.
A shrill, triumphant cheer rang over the stands. Allie’s disinterested gaze flicked upwards to see a girl with dirty blonde hair in a large, baggy wrestling sweat-shirt, standing up in enthusiasm. She was from the other team, on the other side of the auditorium. Allie rolled her eyes.
*** *** ***
Josie Campbell loved wrestling.
No, more than that. She breathed wrestling, memorized the rules, and sparred frequently but carefully with her older brother. She could act as a ref at the tournaments, could predict a match’s outcome from first glance and knew the color and design of all the singlets in Montana.
And she still couldn’t play.
Josie had a heart condition: Tachycardia. Whenever she told someone, they immediately compared it to Miley Cyrus. Josie didn’t care. She wasn’t flattered at all to share a disease with a bratty pop star. Besides—did Miley love a sport with all her soul, and be forever banned from it, instead sitting in the stands and watching her brother do it? Did Miley have to decline soccer, football, basketball, track and any other sport that required too much energy?
Her brother rolled over on the mat and locked his opponent’s head back. Josie shrieked with pride as the ref scrambled onto the blue rubber, peered intently, counted—1, 2, 3—and then slapped down his hand. Her brother had won!
She looked at her mother next to her, peeling an orange, smiling a teary smile at her daughter. Josie kissed her cheek. “I’m fine,” she said softly. She picked up her notebook next to her and thumbed it open, stroking the worn, familiar pages. She felt her mind jolt into gear, spanning ideas out, beautiful ideas, stories for girls who could do anything. Who could fly. She gripped her pen and felt it twitch to feel the page and create magic. “I don’t need to run,” she said honestly.
*** *** ***
Allie’s brother had disappeared to wrestle. She watched him go vaguely, and watched him trot down to the edge of the mat, grinning with adrenaline. She looked away, bored, and her gaze met the one of the blonde girl. Her radiant smile had shrunken a bit, and Allie could almost see tears in her bright green eyes. Hesitantly, oddly, Allie smiled at her.
*** *** ***
Josie looked up, at the bored girl with the dark brown hair and the blue eyes, who looked as healthy as she could be. Josie smiled back, hesitantly: And the smiles locked like the axis of the planet and held taut across the auditorium.
And then, the gazes of two girls, who had never met before and would never meet again, broke apart, and they both cheered for their brothers, stood up and shouted, with something strong and glowing and fierce.
Something a little like pride.
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