Casey is an average fifteen year old about to enter into the first year of high school. With an extremely Christian dad, and a deceased mom, Casey has more than academics on mind. Making new friends, creating bonds, but keeping a large secret is all in a day’s work.
Warning: This is rated M for a reason. Some of the chapters may seem tame, but it will get into sexual and adult situations. Please be aware. Do not read if these things may upset you.
It felt like the day would never end as I was introduced to every class trudging through molasses. Finally, after a very uneventful choir class where I was praised for my high tenor, I stood in front of the doors to the male locker rooms. This was the first time I felt my body seize up. I had even walked into the male bathrooms between Geography and Science, but now I stood before another obstacle. I could easily slip into a stall in the bathroom to use the toilet; in the locker rooms I would be forced to change in the aisles. I didn’t think this through. Physical Education was forced to shower after class, but the dance class was exempt. I had thought that through when I read the student handbook during the summer. I just didn’t think about the fact that I would be changing my clothes still into the mandatory shorts and t-shirt.
The late bell hadn’t rang yet and I watched both girls and boys file into their separated doors for the gym classes. I had to make a decision. Could I skip class the first day and possibly just hide somewhere until the busses arrived? I was about to take that choice when a voice called out not far from me, “Casey!” I turned to see the boy from the bus bounding toward me. He seemed to be struggling to run, and I wondered why he was rushing?
I scrambled in my brain and finally remembered his name, “Ben?” He panted next to me and doubled over slightly to catch his breath. “Why are you running?”
“The bell,” he panted, “is going to ring soon.” He huffed some more and then stood back up again, “Have P.E. last hour?”
“Dance,” I told him as I turned back toward my original dilemma. With Ben standing next to me I couldn’t just take off anymore. At least no one would have recognized me from before, but now he could be a witness I did not need.
“Oh! Me too!” he said happily.
“I thought only freshmen had to take the physical classes?” I questioned as we slowly made our way toward the doors. I only hesitated again for a misstep before following him into the male side. He answered my question with a vague response of “Doctor’s note didn’t work again this year.” My ears started to ring as my heart rate climbed and I didn’t really register his answer. I purposely avoided looking down the main aisle toward the boys changing into their uniforms. We both walked up to where a table lay out with all of the uniforms not yet acquired. Lockers slammed behind me as more guys rushed out of the cramped smelly room toward where the gym doors now lay beyond. Ben shoved my shorts and shirt into my arms suddenly and snapped me out of my stupor. I looked at them as if they held the plague, “Do we really have to wear these?”
He laughed, “They aren’t so bad. At least we won’t have to go home in smelly clothes.” He shrugged and started off toward one of long lines of dark maroon painted lockers. He looked at me, “Are you going to change?”
I looked at my pile of clothes. The shirt was a horrible gold color with the panther mascot stamped on in maroon. The pants were a matching pure maroon. I mumbled, “Have to pee.” I took off quickly for the bathrooms near the entrance of the locker rooms and shoved myself into a stall. “What?” I heard him yell over a few of the other guys. I was already changing quickly, though, when I heard him call my name as he also entered into the bathroom area.
I flushed the toilet, and walked out to see him standing in the doorway. He looked like I had grown into a specimen for study, “Are you okay?” I nodded to his question and put my clothes onto the benches before washing my hands.
He watched me with curious brown eyes, “Jumpy still?” I sighed. I looked at myself in the mirror again and realized that to him I was the boy who he met on the bus. He didn’t know me, not really, and I was acting very odd. ‘Get a grip, Casey,’ I chided myself. I nodded to him and made him follow me out toward the gym doors.
“Seriously, dude, we ain’t going to kill you,” he chuckled.
“It isn’t that,” I sighed, “I’m an only child. I have never had anyone see me change before and I don’t think I’d measure up.” I know it was probably stupid to confide in the other kid I just met, but he seemed to be genuine in wanting to be friends.
He nodded, “I understand. That’s why I didn’t want to ever take this course. Man, I’m almost 200LBS. I can’t dance and I can’t run. I can’t do anything like that. My doctor signed a paper last year to waive me from this hell, but he refused to sign it again. He lectured my mom on getting me into shape before I got diabetes.” He looked over at me sadly, “I am going to be the only person to fail dance in the whole world.”
“At least it’s dance and not basketball or something,” I offered. “Let’s not forget the hot chicks in horrible P.E. clothes, too.” I laughed. He smiled and nodded. We stood off to the side as the teachers all filed in from the locker rooms.
“We are going to introduce ourselves and then we will ask you to follow your coach to your designated areas for today’s lessons,” a very tall blond man said out to the gathering of yellow shirts.
There were three men and four women teachers. I didn’t pay much attention to everyone’s introduction, until the last woman said her name, “I am Ms. Coleman. I teach the dance class here. I have been teaching dance for thirteen years. Do not make this my unlucky year.” She was short, all of the students were taller than her, and she had high frizzed black hair to make up for her lack of height. She wore a tight pink tank top over a very muscular body. It made me pause to see this short woman with possibly better arms than most of the men in the room. She intrigued me. I wondered if I could mimic her muscle tone to try and look manlier myself. She brought her dark brown eyes through the crowd of students. Gesturing toward a staircase I didn’t notice before that led up above the girl’s locker room she said, “That is my dance studio. Dance class follow me.” A few of us followed the short dark skinned woman toward our first class.
We reached the landing above the gym where a small studio was hidden. A mirror covered the whole side of one wall and on the other side we could hear the gym classes below past the balcony edge. We all were told to sit on the floor and we did so quietly. No one, I suppose, really knew what to expect from this powerful woman.
She sat down on the floor too and told us to spread out better. Our butts scooted across the plain floor as we made room between us all. “Good, now we will warm up while I talk,” she led us to stretching out toward our toes that we held in front of us. “This class isn’t going to be roses. I don’t teach dance because it’s easy. If you chose this thinking it was your best chance to pass without work, then I suggest you go downstairs and join them in volleyball.” She paused here in her speech to have us change our position to spread our legs apart and stretch to one side. “We have until December to whip you into shape, and I will not allow slackers. Mondays we will tone muscles needed to dance, Tuesday and Wednesday we will learn our dance moves and practice them, Thursdays we have the track to get our legs and lungs ready for real dancing, and Fridays is review days. If I feel that you slacked during the week, then Friday will suck for you.”
Standing up then she forced us to our feet. I bounded up quickly and we all realized that maybe dance wasn’t going to be our easy A this year. “Arms out to your sides. We will start this week with five minute holds. Don’t lower your arms until I say you can in five minutes!” As my arms started to shake and I felt the fire begin in my shoulders, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t join P.E. I began to cry in my head as my fingers began to tingle, ‘Why was I born wrong?’ I could have been downstairs enjoying a good game of basketball with the guys. I heard a few of the others, girls since Ben and I were the only boys, start to cry out loud. We were all bemoaning our fate and felt this was a horrible punishment for wanting to avoid being sweaty.
As I was about to give in and just lower my arms as so many of my classmates were doing, I looked at Ms. Coleman again. Her arms were out as well. She wasn’t forcing us to do something she didn’t also force herself to do. I saw her muscles ripple again in her arms, and I knew that if I wanted to be strong like that I would have to force my body through the pain. I gritted my teeth together and held in my own tears. I was going to do this. I was a boy and I needed to show the strength of being a boy even if it was just to myself.
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Copyright: 2015 France Gamble