Our Hearts

When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to grow up to be a ballerina. I know, pathetic isn't it? I wanted to be one as long as I can remember. They were beautiful, graceful, and elegant; everything I wanted to be. I was good ballet too. I was the best because I wanted it the most. I thought I go all the way. People would know me for my dancing and I would have the life I always dreamed. I thought my family would come every week to see me dance gracefully across the room.

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. You don't get what you want; I learned that the hard way. When I went into high school my parents decided that I was getting to old to keep dancing. They said dance rarely took anyone anywhere in life and that if I wanted to grow up to be successful; I needed to pick a real career, not a hobby. My mother said I needed to be serious about my future and get my head out of the clouds. In reality, they were right. Rarely did anyone go on to be a professional dancer and truthfully, I wasn't even that good, not really.

I nodded my head like the good daughter I was and that was the end of my dancing. My ballet slippers sat in my closet throughout high school, and every day when I opened my closet door, I looked at them and realized that I was no longer a child. I was a young women looking forward to a bright and vibrant future. At least that's what I told myself. My heart would scream that I was letting dust collect on my passion, but these days, we rarely listen to our hearts.

Well, that's as exciting as my life gets. I worked hard all through high school with a 4.0 gpa, got into Dartmouth and graduated with honors. That takes us to now. College graduate, unemployed, but had a degree, from an Ivy League school, in architecture and nowhere to go. Instead of moping around with my parents nagging me to get a job, I've decided to Virginia to live with my cousin Alex. We went to Dartmouth together but she's three years ahead of me. Having her there my freshmen year was tremendous help. She's assured me that she has plenty of room in her new condo for the both of us.

She had just picked me up from the airport and was driving down the coast line to her condo. I had my head lying on my arms as I leaned out the window breathing in the ocean air.

"Alex, are you sure I can come stay with you?" I asked.

She takes her attention from the road to look at me. "Are you kidding? I can't stand living alone, it scares me to death. It'll be refreshing to have someone staying with me. I miss my college days, I feel like this old spinster living alone with her cats." She laughed turning back to the road.

"Um, Alex, you don't have any cats." I pointed out.

She nodded. "True, but I do feel lonely and I'm glad to have you come stay with me."

"Thanks. But I feel like such a burden. I don't have a job or anything. I feel so useless." I confessed.

She shook her head of glossy black hair. "You'll find one soon enough. "

I sighed and looked out the window. "Yeah, I guess. I feel so overwhelmed. I really don't have any more academic goals. I have to find a job and it's just so different. It feels like the past eight years flew by before my eyes."

She nodded, "I totally agree. I mean it seems like yesterday I was sitting in my room, sixteen years old, talking on the phone for hours without a care in the world. Now I have my own rent to pay."

I sighed again. I really hated all this adult talk. I wanted to talk about the assignment that was due the next week, or who was going to prom with the hottest guy in school, or what I was going to wear on a date. I felt like I wasted all of my teenage years being an adult, instead of preparing to be one. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life and I spent all those years thinking I did.

We both got out the car and I inspected my new living environment. It was a really cute house. It had shrubbery along the walkway and I could practically hear the ocean. We went into the house and she plopped herself on the white couch, while I went to sit in a more comfortable blue chair. "Oh! I almost forgot, we have to find you someone. If you're going to be here awhile you mine as well enjoy yourself. There are a lot of decent guys here. I'll have to introduce you."

"Alex, no. I just got settled. I don't need any men in my life right now." I said.

"How can you say that? You have so much potential, yet you insist on being such a prude."

"What? I'm not a prude! I'm just not interested in getting into a relationship right now."

She chuckled to herself and looked at her nails. "Fine, but that's not going to stop me." She said beginning to head up the stairs. I was actually kind of nervous. I didn't know if she meant for herself or for me.

"Anna, this has gone on long enough. Come home, so that you can get yourself together. Think of your family. We hate seeing you waste your life," my mother said to me over the phone.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Mom, I like it here. I think it will be better for me to stay here and find a job. I can have a life here. You told me to grow up, I am."

"No! No you're not!" she yelled into the phone. "You're being a child making stupid decisions, again. You never think Anna. Why can't you be like your sister? She had her life together before she got sick, but even then, she had her life together more than you did. You always have to be the child, no matter what you do. Your father and I have worked hard to give you and your sister a good life and you throw it away to live at the beach. I hope you're happy there because I can't get a decent night's rest anymore."

I had to wipe the tears that formed in my eyes. My whole life she made me feel like a failure. Nothing was good enough for her, no matter how hard I tried to please her. The one thing I was good at she made me quit, and look where that left me. I just want leave everything behind, which is why I left in the first place, but she always finds some way to make me feel crappy, even over the phone. "Mom," I muttered.

"Anna, stop crying. You always cry over nothing. 'm telling you what you need to hear," she said.

I sniffled. "Mom, I really need you to understand that I think this is the best for all of us."

"No! You are thinking about yourself like always. Don't make it sound like you did this for us, you did it for yourself."

I knew that at any second I lose it. I would start bawling and nothing would be able to comfort me. How could someone that is supposed to love you make you feel so bad without trying? "Bye Mom, I love you."

"Don't you dare-," I cut her off by slamming down the phone. I cried for a good ten minutes, trying to keep myself from heading home and doing what my mom told me to do. I went downstairs after I was sure I was presentable. Alex was on the couch, legs crossed with her laptop sitting on her lap.

"Hey! Guess what?" she asked.

I shrugged and sat down beside her. "What?"

"I got together a group to go bike riding through the woods and I want you to come."

I somewhat just stared at her for a minute. "I'm sorry, what?" I asked.

She sighed. "I got together a group, of guys, that are going bike riding through the woods Saturday and I wanted to know if you wanted to come with."

I shook my head. "No thanks, but thanks for asking," I got up and prepared to head upstairs again but she grabbed my arm. She laughed. "That wasn't a question. I was telling you, and besides, there will be plenty of guys to meet. They're all decent and very good-looking. You have nothing better to do."

"Your right, I don't. But I'd rather not go. I'll be no fun. Go without me and have a good time."

She stood up quickly. "You've been moping forever about nothing. Just go this one time and if you don't have any fun you never have to go again. I swear."

"Alex, it would do you no good to drag me along. I make the whole trip a drag. That, and I haven't rode a bike since I was twelve."

She pulls me off the couch and holds my hands. " You never forget how to ride a bike. You will have fun I promise. Just please come." She begged.

I nodded. "Fine, but I won't have any fun."

She crushed me to her chest and hugged me hard." Thank you! You will have the best time ever. I swear to you."