It is the end of Dystonia Awareness Month but not the end of the Dystonia Around the World challenge. Dystonia UK have extended it until the end of October – phew! I may achieve my mission of 1000 miles after all. To support or find out more about the challenge and dystonia click here.
This piece was written from the writing prompt, scarecrow, given by my local writing group. It always amazes me how diverse people’s flash fiction is from the same word and where their imagination takes them. Graham is a side character in my current work in progress; I hope you enjoy.
Graham’s mood plummeted as he slipped into the village hall to join the adults lining the wall. All standing in silence. The class was still in progress. He checked his watch. Time was ticking and his meticulously planned schedule was in jeopardy; the match started in less than an hour. It was not fair, Saturday’s were his time to relax with the lads, and a few beers after a long week at the office yet with one phone call from Louise’s work and his Mum’s refusal to babysit, he was watching a troop of girls dancing to music from an out of tune piano. He consoled himself that if they ran, he could still make kick off and easily bribe Elsa with extra screen time and chocolate while he took a shower to wash the remains of football training from him. What Lou did not know wouldn’t hurt her.
Not that song. He groaned at the familiar tune drifting across the hall. The woman next to him tutted to highlight her disdain at the interruption. She studied his clothes and stepped back to avoid the mud splattered on his tracksuit staining her white jeans. Dingle Dangle Scarecrow -the loop of lyrics wormed into his brain during their summer holiday when Elsa played it on repeat. The worm roared to life again as the would-be ballerinas rose from the floor to spring into action with their floppy hands. He knew he would hum the blasted tune next week in meetings unless something more suitable replaced it soon. For the second time in minutes, he cursed his Mum for encouraging his youngest to join this class.
With his hands stuffed in his pockets, he shook his head and released a deep sigh. His fingers clutched the cold metal of a whistle; he did not belong here. Elsa did not belong here. Not his daughter. She belonged with her brother and cousins, getting muddy on a football pitch. As soon as Louise announced her pregnancy everyone expected another boy; a brother for Jake to play with. A girl had not been born to the Towsers for generations. There was no need to believe the run would end with him. He purchased a babygro supporting Leeds United after the first trimester and dreamt of taking his sons to a home match. Louise’s eyes lit up when the midwife announced the newborn placed in her arms was a girl and she had visions of dresses, bows and playing princesses, but the football bug won. Elsa preferred playing with her male cousins on the pitch and helping his Dad in the shed while dressed in dungarees to playing pretend with dolls. She never wore dresses after the raging tantrum when she was a bridesmaid. His dream of watching his child play for England remained intact. But now, she had traded shorts for a pink leotard and her studded boots for delicate ballet slippers. The mop of unruly hair was tamed into the classic sleek bun. He struggled to recognise her as she enthusiastically pointed her toes. The music stopped, and Elsa nudged the neighbouring girl sharing a joke, their eyes alive with happiness. There was no mistake; this was the mythical Laura who had captured Elsa’s friendship and pressuring her into following rather than being the leader he imagined Elsa being. And then his Mum encouraged her by saying everyone deserves the chance to dance? What was that about? His mum never danced in her life.
“Ok my little scarecrows, it’s time to get changed but remember, ballet is all about practise.” The teacher rose on pointe and spun several times with a grace Graham had never seen before. Elsa’s mouth dropped in awe at the magic she was seeing. Graham ambition shattered. He knew he had lost her to a world of bright lights and tutus.
Happy writing and stay safe!