As usual, this particular Monday twelve-year-old A.P Washington-Williams woke up before her alarmed dinged to signal 5:30 AM and the start of what was becoming her typical school week. She charged into the bathroom eager to beat her older sister who would soon wake up and want her own shower before she begin her own early morning practice ritual on either the violin or the piano. For herself, AP always showered after she finished practice. She loved to dance but had no desire to smell of dedication in Mr. Russo’s humanities class at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School, where she was a 7th grader and the new darling of the dance department.
It wasn’t until after she had donned her dance apparel, including pointe shoes, and was halfway down the basement stairs, before she remembered that she wouldn’t be fighting her big sister for the bathroom anymore until December 19th unless Moonbeam came home on the weekends. Her older sister had just enrolled in Berkshire Hills Music Academy. Her parents had just dropped her off on Thursday. It had been a big deal.
AP had really wanted to go. But her father had told both MJ, Moonbeam’s twin, and herself to go to normally scheduled classes. “It wouldn’t do,” her father reasoned. “for two of my children to skip school to see my third child off to her first day in a dorm know would it?” Morgan Washington-Williams was very educationally minded.
So AP had simply hugged her sister extra long that morning and bounced out the door. Soon she was immersed in a lecture about local history, but her sister was never far from her mind. Instead of wolfing down her usual lunch of cut up apples, tuna in Tupperware, and string cheese and the hitting the locker room to change and entering the dance studio 10 minutes before dance foundations and choreography on DF&C, as PVPA dancers referred to it. She lingered in the Radioactive Café, the student run cafeteria, where they served the way more popular connivance food that went over smashingly well with everyone but the dancers, sipping caffeinated tea and munching a broccoli and cheese Hot Pocket while she typed a quick note to moonbeam on the computer that set off in a
corner of the lunch space.
I’m at lunch, but I don’t feel much like eating. I miss you already and hope that you are settling in well. Say “hi” to Julie for me and don’t fall in love 5 times in your first week. I know you can’t help doing that, but just try, okay? I will see you Saturday for Moovin’ and Groovin’ at Fit Together or, if you’re too busy with BHMA orientation stuff I will see you Sunday when everyone comes to visit.
Your loving little sister.
She printed out the letter, shoved it into her pack back, and went to change for class. There was no dress code, even for dance classes, here. At first AP had
found that odd after years of solid color leotards, pink tights, and pink technique slippers and/or toe shoes being the only acceptable class attire. But that Thursday as she slipped into a red leotard and blue tights, she decided she was beginning enjoy the freedom. She was even toying with the idea of raiding her savings account to have pair of technique shoes professionally dyed lavender, her favorite color. Mama said that if AP wanted to that she wasn’t going to stop her, but she would make her youngest child pay for both a new pair of shoes and the dye job on her own.