The Encounter

Once we arrived at the plaza my mother tried her level best to keep me with her while she ran around crazily acquiring the specific products that were written on her list. After some convincing on my part using her own words of temptation against her, she finally let me go off on my own. After finally shaking my tentative mother off of my tail I decided to head down to the book store in the mall where I was specifically instructed not to go, to find the third book of The Mortal Instruments series (a series that I had recently learned about and fell in love with). While strolling past the many colourful shops and kiosks lined up along the walls and down the centre of the long hall carrying both the third and the fourth book in the series, I came across something that caught my attention. A screen in the store window of one of the many within the building featured a stage and several sequenced dancers moving in soft, fluid motions. I must have been standing there staring far longer than I had realised for an elderly woman had approached me from the other side of an aggressively bright cell phone accessory stand behind me and was now standing right next to me looking at the screen as well. She was a rather short lady wearing a pretty pink dress, cardigan and hat, and a soft, wrinkled smile.

“Beautiful isn’t it.” The elderly woman stated towards me more than questioned, turning her head towards me as she did so.

“Yes, it is.” I replied to her promptly, my voice higher pitched then I had meant it to be,turning my body to face her. See mum, I know how to interact with society.

“Oh those were the good old days.”

“You dance?”

“I danced.”

“You don’t dance anymore?”

“Honey, when you are this old and had several hip replacements I don’t think you would be dancing either.”

I felt incredibly foolish as soon as she said that. Of course she wouldn’t still be dancing. She would have to be at least 80 years old, there is no way she would be performing on stage and pulling off the high leaps and the women who dance on the tips of their toes that are shown on the screen in the window.

“Oh. Yeah, sorry.” I apologised.

“Don’t worry lovely. You just keep dancing as long as you can. That passion won’t be able to follow your body forever.”

“Oh, I don’t dance. I was just looking.”

“You don’t dance? As soon as I saw you I saw you as a principal dancer.”

“Really?” I questioned. I couldn’t believe that this stranger saw me as a principal dancer. She didn’t even know me after all. Did she?

“Yes, you have the body for such exquisite and technique demanding movements. Have you ever considered taking up ballet?”

Come to think of it I hadn’t. I mean, I had seen it performed before but I hadn’t actually considered doing it myself. Would I even be good at it? Could I even dance at all? Just then I noticed a rather angry woman marching towards me. Mum. I looked down at my watch and realised that it had been half an hour since I had splintered off from her to roam on my own and she had wanted me back to her only twenty minutes later. It occurred to me now that I definably wasn’t in the good books with her now after her rant this morning and my lateness now. Realising a little too late that I was still standing with the elderly former dance and that it was too late to move away from her so that she would not be in the war path of my tornado for a mother.

“Where on earth have you been?” She began to question me with a hiss. Her anger and frustration with me reaching the top and boiling over.

“Sorry mother, I was on my way back and then I just got distracted.” I pleaded my case but I knew that I would not be victorious and would not hear the end of this for the rest of the day.

“And what did I tell you about going anywhere near the bookstore?” She argued further, indicating at the paper bag in my hand with the word DYMOCKS printed on the front.

“I needed to pick up the following ones in the series.”

“And what were you doing just now? Standing around here doesn’t look like getting your but back to me in the grocery store now does it.”

“I.. I…”

It was then that the elderly woman that had been bearing witness to my mother verbal attack towards me interjected.

“Excuse me madam but it was my fault. I was just talking to your daughter here about ballet.” She said defending me. Her voice soft and calm, like a violin playing a sweet tune.

“Thank you for your input Miss but you do not need to make up excuses for my daughters inability to follow directions.” My mother said quite bluntly to the sweet old lady. At that my mother grabbed my wrist and began furiously marching both herself and me back down the hallway towards the exit. I looked back at the lady before I got too far and she shot me a sympathetic look. I retuned an apologetic look to her and then turned back to the front just in time to avoid a large plant that was in my path.


The entire car ride home my mother and I did not speak. I sat there thinking about the elderly lady back at the mall and her telling me about dancing and ballet and how I looked like a dancer. But I didn’t really, at least not to me. I had long, curly blonde hair that I wore up in a ponytail most of the time. And I was quite short. I was shorter than most of the kids in my year and I had once been informed by someone that I looked like I was only twelve or so. Which I still can’t decide if it is a good thing or a bad thing. I could not stop thinking about the horrible and insensitive way in which my own mother had treated that poor, sweet, kind elderly citizen. After a while my thoughts became overwhelming and the car was deafeningly silent even though there was the constant muffled rear of the vehicle and the many others on the road. So I picked up my copy of the third book in the series and began to read. But the whole time the thoughts of what had just occurred came flooding back into my mind making it impossible to concentrate on the words written in the polished book. Did I really look like the dancer type? Would I even be cut out to be a dancer? Should I try?

The End

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