The Dancer

The bounce in the beat tickles my ears, works jitters into my lungs, and forces itself out through my limbs.

My jacket bounces off my body as I dance. My thick as thieves hair forces my scarf off my head. My cousins call my God-given, African hair bushy (and think I should have it hidden or styled at all times). I don’t care. I let the scarf fall into a ring by my moving feet.

People in the street stop to look. I’m not doing it for them though. I’m doing it for her.

Yeah, she was a girl from church. She was one of the few kids like me who walked our suburban town (since our parents didn’t double as our chauffeurs). She always wanted me to come over, but my parents didn’t allow sleepovers and I didn’t allow gushy feelings.

We would eat pizza together when I ran into her at the mall. We would sit together at school. She called me her best friend. She was a girl I knew from church.

Then, an 18 wheeler rounded a corner too quickly. They always drove through her part of town too quickly. It dragged her down an entire street before the driver noticed. She wanted to be a dancer.

I wanted her to be happy.

A girl in a pink dress and little ballet flats drops a dollar onto my scarf.

I can’t look directly at her. I wouldn’t be able to finish.

View my newest title No Pain in Vain on Amazon at: Follow as an Ivorian doctor navigates prejudice in American health care. All proceeds will go to charity.

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