Sometimes the best things in life are accidental.
I remember 8-counts, dizzying pirouettes on the dusty cafeteria floor, and waiting with my heart beating in my ears. I remember the shock of hearing my number called. I remember being annoyed with my friend for backing out, and then not caring when I realized she had inadvertently done me a favor.
I remember that tickling sensation in my empty stomach every time I stood in the wings. I remember the bright lights of the stage. I remember all the faces in the bleachers. I remember the cold air against my skin as I listened for the music. I remember the damp grass, the scratchy Astroturf, and tense fingers gripping my shoulders during kick line.
I remember the first time I had to change clothes in a locker room with forty other girls. I remember wishing I knew more of them. I remember the relief of finding two best friends, and the safety of our corner. I remember the loud laughter, the dirty jokes, and the high, girlish shrieks. I remember sharing bobby pins and eye shadow. I remember the smell of perfume sprayed above our heads, and the stench of sweat after long hours of practice.
I remember jealousy, insecurity, admiration, exhilaration. I remember crying after being told I wasn’t good enough. I remember telling my friend not to bother, when she offered to help. And I remember changing my mind, deciding that I had to try again, even if I failed again, because giving up was worse than not succeeding. I remember my second chance, and I remember my redemption.
I don’t dance much anymore, but I remember.