Monday, November 1, 2010

Inward Feet, Upward Lift

All her classmates had gone and it was her turn now. A little overweight and awkward in her pre-adolescent frame, she turns her attention to the dirt at her feet. She doesn’t want to go. “It’s fun!” her classmates shout. “You don’t need to be afraid,” the teacher assures.  But the ground is her only comfort and that is where her slightly turned-inward feet want to stay.  “Come on! We know you can do it!” they gently coax her.  And she begins to lift her gaze.  Someone hands her a harness. Before she knows it, a red helmet is on her head. Still hesitant, she is now hooked onto the zip line’s cable.  Then it happens- they begin to chant her name, “E-ri-ca! E-ri-ca! E-ri-ca!”   She grabs a hold of the rope attaching her to the line, takes a deep breath, and whispers to herself to stop shaking. Her loosely tied sneakers seem to be listening to her classmates now as they take the steps forward  to leap off the end of the dirt runway.  And now she is flying! And her classmates are cheering! And her name is heard throughout the woods as the yells of delight overtake her fearful scream.  Safely down the ladder on the other end, her teacher wraps her arm around Erica, “Well, was it worth it? Was that awesome, or what?”  Erica just smiles, the biggest smile her teacher has ever seen.  As they walk back up the hill, the awkward girl’s body seems to take on a new confidence.  She turns to her teacher and quietly tells her, “No one has ever cheered for me before.”      

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