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By: Connie Cao

She dances and jumps, leaping gracefully from toe to toe, spinning beautifully, and landing successfully. Her tutu flows around her, making her resemble a flower. Her hair danced in the air, and her face was full of beauty.

The first-time mom brought me to a theatre, I was deeply in love, from the rows and rows of chairs to the lights that beamed different colors. Even the doors that greeted me on the way in. I couldn't wait, for I was about to see the beauty of the Swan unravel.

The Swan was my favourite ballet dancer; she was extraordinary. She seemed to float in front of my eyes, drifting from side to side, her arms flapping gracefully around her.

At age 12, I longed to be a ballet dancer, but I was none of the sort. I was fat and chubby. "She's adorable," my grandmother would say, but my classmates thought differently. "Look at her state, pot-bellied; she looks like a panda that learned to walk on its hind legs."

The morning summer air drifted in my classroom, but the air conditioning wasn't on, so my class looked like a bunch of chicken wings in a microwave.

Ms. Huron greets us with a smile, beaming from ear to ear. "Good morning, class!" she thundered, and everyone jumped up. "Good morning, Ms. Huon," we all chant back. Ms. Huron was in her usual mood, writing down the attendance rapidly with her spotted pencil. "Alright…now who can tell me the answer to today's question??" said Ms. Huron glancing around the class. A girl in the front swung up her hand, waving frantically.

"Someone who hasn't answered in a while!?" Ms. Huron says in her usual sing-song voice. The girl lowered her hand, disappointed. "What about…hmm…Mary?"

I glanced up, looking at her. "Oh…uh…I….um…." I could feel my face burning. The girl in the front glared at me, then raised her hand again. "All right, then, Rebecca," Ms. Huron said with annoyance. The girl beamed and started blubbering the answer.

After what seemed like hours, the bell finally rang, announcing that it was now recess. I was the last to go out, head down, shoulders slumped, strolling out of the class. I was damn shy, I could barely string a word or two in a conversation, and I had no friends because of my lack of communication.

I sat in my usual seat, in the corner, but what I wasn't expecting was when someone came up to me. "Hi! I'm Angel! I'm new here. Do you want to be friends"? I looked up, and what shocked me was that she was chubby and fat like me. "Uh…I…uh…." "Ok, then! I guess we're friends." Angel said, grinning, showing her straight white teeth.

Angel was real talkative; she could go talking for hours without taking a breath. Her pigtails swung madly around her as she spoke with determination. It was because of Angel that I began to feel more confident. She walked with her head held up high, and she also loved ballet. People would point and grin, but she ignored them. I wish I were more like that.

As time went on, Angel and I would hang out more and more often. Whenever Ms. Huron would call on me to reply to a question, I would answer confidently. When the morning bell rang, I wouldn't walk out slowly, but quickly with my head held up high, so I could go and meet Angel.

Every weekend, Angel and I would dress in tutus that we begged our parents to buy for us for our birthday and pretend to be ballerinas.

As Angel and I reached our high school years, we began training our ballerina skills at a different level. Go to classes, watch YouTube videos, and watch professional ballerina dancers.

At last, when I finally managed to play on a stage as a ballet dancer, I thanked Angel for everything, and she thanked me for everything. We trained for our show titled "Everything's White," getting the main parts, not afraid to show ourselves.

As the curtains opened, I held her hand, walked out, and started dancing. Hair flowing in the air, leaping gracefully from toe to toe, spinning beautifully, our hands gliding gracefully around us. And at that moment, I felt freedom; I felt so alive; I felt like a Swan that wasn't afraid to show its true beauty.

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