Patrick looked up at himself in the mirror. He was so proud of his smooth and round face. Yet, he couldn’t groom it the way girls could. “Hey, Pat! You better hurry, if you wanna go to your football class!” called his Dad. Patrick sighed and walked unwillingly towards the car. “I don’t want to play football, Dad,” Patrick pleaded. “What? My son, you are a boy and boys play football,” said his Dad. Patrick flinched and said in a small voice, “Dad, I feel I will be better at ballet.” Even though his head was down, he could feel his father’s anger rising. “I don’t want to hear anything else. You will and you must play football no matter what,” said his father and that closed the matter.
The sound of ballet music reached his ears as he tried to concentrate on his drills. “Patrick!” barked Coach Brown making him jump. “If you wanna excel at this game, son, you gotta practice hard and focus.” He said while keeping his voice from rising. Patrick could do nothing about it so, decided to keep mum. While waiting for his dad to pick him up, his eyes lingered over the ballet class to his right. He began to daydream about the pink bellies and the graceful steps when his dad tapped on his shoulder. He walked away as his father asked him about his class today.
Patrick was doing his homework while watching TV. He hurriedly changed the channel from a fashion show to a football match as he heard his father approaching the living room. “Oh, my boy! Can you believe your sister? She wants to go to the prom in an unbelievably short dress for her age. And the funny thing is, she refused to go to the prom if I don’t buy her the dress. Girls!” said his father with a laugh. Patrick gave a small laugh and bent over his homework, a plan forming in his mind.
Patrick tiptoed to her sister’s room in the dead of the night. He discovered her cheeks to be shining with tears. He gave a small shake and she woke up. “Pat! What are you doing here?” she said in a cracked voice fighting to be steady. Patrick shrugged and bent over here to tell her a plan by which she could go to the prom in the dress she wanted. Blossom smiled and went to sleep more contentedly than ever.
“Good Morning Dad!” Blossom said with an affectionate hug to her father.
“What a surprise! Are you, all right, now?” asked her surprised father.
“Dad, I know that you are only concerned for me, so I have decided to go to the prom in a more simple and mature dress,” Blossom said with devotion.
“Now that’s my girl! It is good you came around soon enough. Now act like a proper 18-year-old girl. I want you to go to your ballet class, leaving Patrick home. After your class, you will get home, get ready for prom, go to school and come back strictly at 9. Do you understand?” His father insisted.
“Why? Won’t you guys be at home or what?” asked Blossom innocently.
“Yes honey, we need to go to your grandma. She is quite unwell and would even need to go to the hospital. We will most probably return home by tomorrow morning if we leave in one hour. Sweetie, you will be good and follow my command, won’t you?” asked her father, hope in his eyes.
“Of course, dad.” Blossom lied right in his face.
That evening, Patrick glided alongside his sister in black bellies and black footless tights. “God, Pat! I never knew you liked ballet,” said Blossom. Patrick smiled as he had finally discovered himself. “I must say your brother is a natural. You should enrol him too,” said Miss King as they walked out of the studio. Blossom and Patrick had no answer to that. He bid goodbye to her with sad eyes.
Patrick eyed Blossom’s make-up as his sister bought her prom dress from his pocket money. “Pat, you want something?” asked Blossom. Patrick shook his head. “Thanks, Pat,” Blossom said affectionately. Patrick nodded his head and muttered a soft thanks to her for letting him go to ballet class without letting their dad know about it.
While his sister was away, Patrick watched ballet and fashion shows as much as he wanted. With every move he imitated, he wondered when would he be able to discover, explore, and be free about his true identity.
~Suhanee Ranjan, Amity International School, Noida
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