This flash fiction was inspired by a prompt in a daily flash fiction group on Facebook. Enjoy!
2/22/16 Monday prompt word stew. Put these words together to make a 200 word piece: Coffee; lunge; ballerina; chocolate chip muffin; yellow; donkey kick
“Seriously, Mom?” Amelia groaned as she stumbled out of the dressing room, still tugging at the yellow fabric. “Why do I have to wear this?”
Susan sighed, but the sparkle in her eyes never faltered as she motioned for her daughter to spin around so she could admire the full effect of the embroidered leotard alongside the layered tutu. Amelia didn’t move; her arms dangled at her sides and she raised a skeptical brow.
“Because it’s your first recital of the year, honey!” her mother exclaimed, sipping at her steaming black coffee. “Don’t you want to look your best?”
Mia just managed to resist rolling her eyes. She didn’t even want to do the recital. The only reason she’d stayed in the dance class this long was because her mother insisted upon it until she found another extracurricular on her own. So far, she had tried soccer, basketball, swimming, and gymnastics, but hadn’t taken to any of them. She was just too uncoordinated for sports.
“But, Mom, I stink at ballet! Even Ms. Hawthorne agreed that my grand jetes look more like donkey kicks than dance moves!”
“What?” Her mother yelled. Her eyes flashed. The vein on her forehead bulged as she stepped closer to her daughter. “She said that to you?”
Amelia winced. Uh, oh. She knew she’d slipped up the moment the words left her mouth; her mother was extremely overprotective, and her bad side was not something Mia would wish on her worst enemy.
“Mom, really, it’s fine. It doesn’t matt-”
Susan scoffed. “Of course it matters, Mia! No teacher should talk to her students that way. In fact,” she riffled through her purse until she found her cell phone, sliding it open and scrolling through the contacts, “I’m going to call the dance studio right now, and give them a piece of my mind.”
“No!” Amelia shrieked. Her voice rose more than she’d intended. Her mother stopped, her thumb hovering over the number. A few passers-by paused to stare. Mia’s cheeks reddened, but she did her best to ignore them. “Really,” she insisted, quieter this time. “It’s not a big deal.”
Susan scrunched her brows and studied her daughter’s pleading gaze.
“Besides,” Mia glanced at the clock on her mother’s screen, “she won’t pick up now anyway. It’s 3:30; she’ll be in the middle of tap class.” Mia held her breath as she watched her mother’s eyes flicker between her face and the phone.
Phew. Mia’s shoulders dropped. “Thanks mom.”
“I’ll wait until later this evening.”
Amelia blinked. “Huh? But I thought–”
“Sweetheart,” Susan sighed, sitting down on the chair outside of the dressing rooms and dropping her phone back into her bag before making eye contact. “I can’t just let this go. Teachers need to help their students succeed, not patronize them.”
Mia frowned. “But, Ms. Hawthorne wasn’t…”
Susan shook her head. “I’ve seen it too many times in my own classroom, honey. Kids come in and they have trouble learning for weeks because of bad teachers in the past.” She looked at Amelia’s pensive face and her features softened. “I’m sorry, baby, but it’s my duty as a teacher to say something.”
“Mom…” Mia fiddled with the edge of her tutu. “That’s different. You’re a middle school teacher. And Ms. Hawthorne… It’s not the same.”
“How is it different, honey?”
Amelia bit her lip. “It’s just… You always tell me that if I don’t do well in school, it’ll be harder to get a good job when I’m older, right?
Her mother nodded, the smallest smile tugging at the edges of her lips. “Not impossible, but harder, yes.”
“With stuff like dance… It’s supposed to be fun, right? I mean, I know people can grow up to be ballerina’s and stuff, but… People do that because they’re good at it and they like it, don’t they?”
Her mother raised a brow. “Well, I hope most of the jobs people do are because they like them, Mia.” She paused. “Why do you ask?”
Amelia looked down and shuffled her feet. “Well, you know I don’t like dance very much…”
“Honey, we’ve been over this… I won’t make you stay in dance, but I want you to find something else fun to do. Until then…”
“But I think I did find something I want to do! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
Mia’s mother perked up. “Oh? And what’s that?”
“There’s a baking class starting at the community center next week. It’s not too expensive, and the recipes look really fun. They’re making chocolate chip muffins for the first lesson.” Her eyes shone as she rattled on about the details, and Susan couldn’t help laughing at her excitement.
“When did you find out about this, then?”
“Last week. Natalia, an older girl at the studio, told me as I was leaving one day. She’s a volunteer at the center.”
“Well, it sounds very interesting, sweetie. We’ll check the website when we get home.” Mia beamed.
“Really? Thanks, Mom!”
Susan smiled as her daughter hugged her. “Sure. I’m proud of you for finding it. But I still think I should talk to Ms. Hawthrone. I don’t want her being disrespectful to other students, either.”
“She wasn’t being disrespectful though.We were just joking.”
Her mother eyed her. “You were?”
Mia nodded. “Mm hmm. I told her yesterday that I might be quitting soon to join the cooking class. I was the one who made the joke about my jumps; she just laughed and told me to keep working on them.”
“And she wished me luck if I join the cooking class.” Mia shrugged. “Face it. Mom, I’m just too clumsy to be a ballerina.”
As if to prove her point, Amelia geared up for a pirouette only to end up tumbling right into the nearest clothing rack. Her mother jumped up and lunged forward, holding it steady.
Susan laughed. “Well, then I guess we better not buy this leotard, hmm? Should we be looking a chef’s coats instead?”
“Don’t jinx it, Mom. Let me get through a couple of classes before you go redesigning my wardrobe– again.”
“Only if I get to sample the treats first. Deal?”
Amelia giggled and shook her mother’s outstretched hand. “Deal.”