Scene 3: Summer Surprise
The months passed, and the school year too. On the last day of school, Karen hopped down from the bus and ran into the house.
“Mama, I’m home!”
“Wonderful, sweetheart. And guess who just called? One of Gilberto’s students wanted to go to a party, so you get an extra lesson.”
Karen grinned. School was out for the summer. She was thirteen years old, and she could spend the summer practicing her dance steps and riding Pegasus. She changed into her dance togs and twirled out to the car.
At the dance school, Karen hurried ahead of her mother. She wanted every minute she could get with Gilberto.
“Hi, Miss Devine! I’m here.”
Gilberto came out of his office. “Hi champ! Come on back and let’s get started.”
In the studio, he took her through her warm-up and practice on her steps.
After a few minutes, the studio door opened. Mama and Miss Devine carried in a long wooden pole.
“Surprise!” they said together.
Karen looked at them and at the pole. What were they talking about? It wasn’t her birthday or anything special
Gilberto took the pole from them and leaned it against the wall. “Kitten, you know today is the last day of school.”
“Yes! I can practice dance all day, every day, all summer. And ride Pegasus.”
“I know you will, so I got you some presents to make the summer extra good.” He dug into his pocket and took out some pieces of wood that looked a little like sea shells. “These are castanets.” He clicked them together. “They will help you make your left hand stronger and straighter.”
He handed them to her and picked up a gift-wrapped package from the table. “Here. Go ahead and open it.”
Karen put the castanets on the table and took the package. “Thank you.” She blinked back tears. She knew Gilberto liked her, but she never expected gifts from him.
Under the glittery wrapping paper was a book about a little girl growing up to become a ballerina. Karen sighed. “I will read this over and over.”
“And I hope it will inspire you every time.”
“But what is this pole?”
“It’s a barre like this.” Gilberto pointed to the long pole attached to the wall of the dance studio.
Karen understood. Why had she not seen that? The tears broke. “Oh, Gilberto, thank you. I will use the barre and the castanets every day, and I’ll read the book every night before I fall asleep, so I can practice my steps in my dreams.”
Original text ©2023 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.