Dancing was her life, her soul.
When she was happy, she danced.
When she was sad, she danced.
When she was angry, she danced.
Dancing was the only way for her to escape from the sadness and frustration of her life.
Then one day it all changed.
Mama and Papa are fighting again. Papa broke the vase that Nana gave us. It was Jenny's favorite one. She cried. I tried to comfort her, but she just kept crying. Lexi stayed in her room with music blasting out of the speakers. She wasn't crying. Lexi never cries. Eventually Jenny fell asleep. Mama and Papa kept screaming at each other. I covered my ears with my hands. After awhile I fell asleep too.
I woke up when someone slapped me across the face. It was Lexi. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and she was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.
"Mama's gonna have a fit when she sees you wearing those shorts," I told her. They barely even covered her thighs. Mama had said that only good-for-nothing disgraces wore those types of clothes. Lexi had stormed into her room and slammed the door shut.
"Well, what Mama don't know won't hurt her. Now get up. It's already nine. I've got places to be, people to meet," Lexi replied, her arms crossed. She was going on a date with her boyfriend, Daniel. He was a jerk.
"Where's Mama?" I asked.
"At Aunt Rosa's. She'll be back any minute now. If you don't get your butt downstairs in ten minutes you won't get any breakfast," Lexi said. She then walked out the door.
"What's the difference? Your cooking tastes like cardboard anyways," I muttered under my breath.
I crawled out of bed and woke Jenny up. She was strangely silent until I started braiding her hair. Jenny's usually bursting with things to say.
"Lisa? Are Mama and Papa going to get divorced?" she asked.
I was caught off guard. "I-I don't know, Jenny. They probably won't. Don't worry about stuff like that, okay? Everything will be alright."
I sighed, and resumed braiding her hair. It's the colour of gold. People always say that Jenny looks adorable. They always say that Lexi is beautiful. But I'm just plain old Lisa. No one ever looks twice at me. Figures. The only time that people really notice me is when I dance. Mama says that I was born the first thing I tried to do was dance away. It's funny how people say that music can take all your cares away. That's not true for me. Dancing takes all my cares away. When I dance, I can forget everything, all the sadness and frustration. It all just melts away. When I dance, it's just me, myself, and I. When I'm sad, I dance. When I'm happy, I dance. When I'm angry, I dance. I suppose you could say that I love to dance. That's the only thing that's really special about me—my dancing.
I'm shaken out of my reverie when Jenny asks another question.
"Are you happy?"
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.
"You look sad."
"Oh. No, I'm not sad. But I will be sad if we miss breakfast. Come on. Let's go."
If anything can taste like cardboard, it's Lexi's cooking. The only thing that she's actually decent at cooking is toast. Unfortunately, toasts tastes pretty much the same no matter how you cook it.
We eat in silence, me picking at my food and Lexi glancing furtively at the door every few seconds. When we hear the key turning in the lock, she jumps up and dashes upstairs. Even when Mama's upset, she's scary. Lexi's halfway up the stairs when the door opens and Mama comes in the house. She sees Lexi, and sighs and shakes her head. But she doesn't say anything.
Lexi is frozen in disbelief. Then she slowly turns around and walks down the stairs. She walks to the door, and gives Mama a long, hard look. Then she walks out the door. She slams it behind her.
Mama still doesn't say anything. She just sits on the couch, staring at the air. I can't take it anymore. I run out the door.
I need to get away from there. I'm tired of having to put on a brave face all the time. I'm tired of pretending that everything's going to be alright. Nothing's alright. Nothing has ever been alright, and nothing will ever be alright.
I curl up on a park bench and watch the children playing on the playground. They look so happy, so carefree. They're unburdened by life, and haven't gone through any hardships. They probably still believe in Santa Clause. I used to be like that, too. A long time ago. Before Papa and Mama started fighting.
I remember the first time they fought. I was only five. I'm still not sure exactly what it was that they were fighting about, but it was awful. I had hidden under the kitchen table, trying to block out the sound of my parents screaming at each other. I remember Lexi, screaming at them to stop. But they didn't hear her. And if they did, they ignored her.
Sometimes I wonder why Mama and Papa are still even married. Sometimes I wonder if things would be better if they just got divorced.
I stay there for countless hours, lost in my thoughts. Time ticks slowly by. The sun is setting when Lexi comes rushing towards me, her hair flying behind her. Her forehead is creased, relief, hope, and worry painted onto her face. It is the painting of an artist who could not decide which colors to use, and decided to color the painting with all three. She recognizes me, and a smile blossoms across her face. In that fragile, evanescent moment, I realize just how beautiful she is. Her smile disappears just as quickly as it appeared, a cold mask of stone drawn over her face.