“You’re going to be late for your meeting, Echo!” my older brother yells at me.
“I know I’m going there, just give me a minute, ok!” I yell back at him.
“Fine, just hurry up!” he yells at me.
“I’m 16 now, I can handle myself, Len.” I snap back at him.
After the meeting, I return home, and sit on the couch, and start to write. My brother’s name is Lennard, but I call him Len for short. My name is Gwenn, and my full name is Gwendolyne, but when I was little I never talked, so it was constant silence. It was like everything was constantly an echo. So that’s how I got the nickname Echo. Well, that’s at least what I’m told.
I work in a (somewhat) low position in an insurance company. It’s only a temporary job until they can hire someone else. I’m also in the summer of high school, so it’s not like I have two lives going on. It’s a pretty boring life. You just sit in an office, write emails, and make phone calls. I guess I’ve had many other dreams for the future, but none of them have ever moved forward.
I’ve always wanted to become a dancer, but I moved on from that some time ago. I wish I could say I’m good at something useful, but the sad truth is, I’m not. I took dance class when I was younger, and I would stare dreamily at the shimmery pointe shoes that the older girls wore. Eventually, all of my fellow dancers moved on to older and more difficult classes and got pointe shoes, but I stayed there. I enjoyed ballet a lot, but it hurt my dance spirit, not being able to advance. I wasn’t flexible either. I guess that’s what made me quit.
“You have 14 reports for your clients, you need to work on those,” Len tells me.
Did I mention that Len’s my boss? And he’s also 9 years older than me. Oh yeah, and he’s responsible for me, ever since our dad died 5 years ago. He’s always been the bossy one though. Maybe that’s why he became my boss.
“Fine, I’ll get all of them done if you give me two hours, okay?” I tell him. I know I can do it in less, but I want some time to take breaks and possibly go outside.
“That’s fine with me, but you have to be the one to keep track of your work. If you want to listen to music, then go into your room.” Len says to me without looking up from his computer.
I move to my room. It has my desk, bathroom, and bed. Len’s desk is outside in the main room, but that’s only because his bedroom is smaller than mine. I plug in my headphones and press play. My favorite song starts playing. I realize what I want to do right now. With my headphones on, I grab my phone, jacket, water, and walk toward the door.
“I’m going to take a walk, I’ll be back soon, Len,” I say.
“Okay, bye,” he replies, as I walk out the door.
My walk soon breaks into a jog, and then soon enough a full-on sprint. I know exactly where I’m going. I’ve been here, in Rosemary Valley, for 5 years now, or ever since Dad died, so I know my way around. Soon enough I arrived at the town plaza. There are tons of shops here, but my favorite shop is the arts and crafts store here. Although, for some reason, today I decided to look at the music store. I walk in, and an array of musical instruments spans before me. For some strange reason, I feel the want to just turn around and run outside, so I do. My entire life feels dizzy and shaken up in those few minutes of blindly running. I let my eyes close, as my knees collapse to the ground.
Veracities invade my dreams, and the falsifications fall away like the environment around me.
When I finally wake up, I understand the meaning of the tall trees surrounding me, and just past them, is the visible waves that collapse on the shore. I remember that I promised Len I would finish my reports on time. I sit up and feel the dirt caked onto my hands. Not quite thinking right, I continue towards the ocean, knowing that I wouldn’t return.
I recall the conversation Len I had two weeks before, and it troubles me remembering I didn’t complete the last wish of him. Ever since I got on that plane.
“You seriously need to focus on your reports,” Len had said.
“I know, I’ll get those done. I’ve already completed nine of them,” I had replied. “What do you want for dinner?” I asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said before pausing. “How about that frozen mac and cheese we have in the freezer?” Len asked me.
“That’s fine with me. I’ll get that ready, then we can sit,” I responded.
I headed into the kitchen and took out two frozen mac and cheese boxes. I unpacked them and stuck one in the microwave. I had put them in two bowls, and grab two forks, and move them to seats at the counter. We sit down and finish our dinner quickly, and then Len gives a summary of what he did that day.
“I just finished some reports, had two phone calls in the morning, and a video meeting in the afternoon, while you took your walk. Anyway, what did you do today?
“Well, I finished a couple of reports, I took an online assessment and went to the plaza,” I had told him. “And well, I got a new pair of ballet shoes,” I had reluctantly said.
“Gwendolyn! How many times have I told you to quit it with this whole obsession!” He frustratedly yells at me.
“I know. A lot, but when I was walking back, I saw a dance studio, and I was thinking I could join. I already signed up for a class on Sunday. And, well, it starts next week. Will you please let me join? please?” I said, sounding somewhat like a child.
“Fine. Although, only under one circumstance; you must promise to get your reports done on time.” He frustratedly tells me.”
“Okay, I promise that I will get all of my reports done on time,” I say to him.
“Yes, you may go to these classes. But I can’t have you distracted, or distant because of these classes. If that happens, I will take you out of them. You know, like what happened when dad died. Understood?” Len asks me.
“Yup understood. I’ll get everything done.”
Those were my last words of agreement to him, the only remembrance he’ll have of me, is the shoes. The new ones he didn’t want me to get, and the old, torn ones that caused dad to disappear forever.
When the time finally came, I was bursting with so much enthusiasm. It felt like forever until the class started, but during that time I had realized that my hopes for what it would be might be wrong. And by the time the class started, I knew my hopes, and expectations were too high.
Stepping into the studio, my spirits were lifted a little. Two sides of the studio were lined with mirrors and moveable barres. We had just set up at the barres when the instructor walked into the classroom.
“Hi everyone! I’m excited to start this class with you all. My name is Kayla, but you can call me Kay. So, why don’t you all tell me your names, one of your hobbies, and when you started dancing. If you haven’t danced before, that is totally okay, because, as you all know, this is a beginner class,” she cheerfully instructed the class.
The class is mostly made up of people my age. I see two other older girls who look like they have been dancing for a couple of years, but I’m not quite sure. When their turn comes, I learn that their names are Anabel and Riana, and they both have been dancing for two years.
“Hi. So, um, my name is Gwendolyn, but I go by Gwenn. And, um, I like to draw. I danced for a long time when I was younger but I took a six-year break.”
The girl sitting next to me smiles at me before she talks about herself. I learned that her name is Chloe. The first 30 minutes of the class are warm-ups and stretching, and during that time I get to know a little bit more about Chloe. She has a twin sister, a pet hamster, and her dad is always traveling for his work. At the time I thought about how she was lucky to have her dad, actually in her life.
Eventually, the time for a break came and I didn’t even realize I was so thirsty. Afterward, we moved to center work, and she works with us individually to judge our levels. Soon enough the class is over and I was exhausted. Before I leave the studio, I make sure to exchange numbers with Chloe, and say goodbye. I would have never known that that would be the last significant goodbye I ever said to anyone.
My life swirled around me, finally deciding to put itself on my shoulders. I carried it all this way before I fell short of the end. It was everything that the equation decided to make me do, it all crashed in on itself when I broke free. When I decided to throw the burden of my life off my shoulders. That’s when I was set free. My imagination, my creativity was never meant to be there, it was all a joke, a lie, that was supposed to protect me, but no, it would never protect me. Only my wits could. And now that’s all I have left before I throw it all away, forever beyond the reach of the equation. Which is the only reason I have my powers. I kept fighting voices in my head, saying I would never be adequate. Every lie, that told me I would never be sufficient enough. It was all to prevent me from finding my true identity. And I’m proud to say that it didn’t work. It never will, and it never has.
There is nothing that will ever turn me away from this. From the newfound freedom, and knowledge of believing the obvious truths, and persevering through. Everything that I tried for, everything I wished upon, from when I was a heartbroken 11-year-old, to now. It was all for knowledge. For the obtained ability to say goodbye. The energy that no-one has ever been able to achieve. So here it is, my last goodbye. It won’t be long though. I’ll see it again. Soon. Soon enough.
Hi everyone! I really can't think of a good title for this piece, so any suggestions would be greatly helpful, and appreciated! Thank you.
Current Title Inspiration from KYLIE RUDOLF - who you can find through the link below :)
Thank you so much, Kylie!