Exactly one day after the incident, Sasha stood outside of the Oyster Bar, trying to work up the courage to go in. She was only a few feet away from the door when she heard the words. "I heard her father-." Sasha turned around sharply, as two women walking past abruptly halted their conversation when they spotted her stony expression. They quickly averted their gazes and sped up until they were practically sprinting down the sidewalk. Sasha gritted her teeth as she balled her sweaty palms into fists. She had recognized the gossiping women. They both had daughters in Fanny's class, not to mention she had seen them leaving one of Michelle's bizarre tap classes.
Up until this moment, Sasha had heard no mention of the incident that took place on Saturday and she feverishly had hoped it would stay that way. Clearly, a foolish thought considering how many bystanders watched, Sasha's mother rage at her father, exposing the obvious instability present in the Torres household. Sasha peered through the window of the Oyster Bar. She could see Boo rushing around; tilting drinks perched haphazardly on her serving tray as she frantically served customers. Mel and Ginny sat idly in a corner table, oblivious to Sasha's plight outside the restaurant. Sasha turned towards the opposite direction, hastily making her way out of their line of sight, as she headed home.
The next day Sasha sauntered into class with her usual air of casual indifference, masking her irrational paranoia under layers of mocking criticism. She eavesdropped on the dancers conversations outside the dressing room. They remained crowded around the small television set, loudly uttering odes of adoration about Ginger Rogers. Sasha breathed a sigh relief. News of the incident had not reached the dancers. Yet. She smiled softly as she watched Boo twirl one of the younger dancers around in a poorly executed imitation of Ginger Rogers. Sasha took a deep breath, wiping away all traces of her brief weakness. It was time to make her entrance.
Sasha mocked Boo's words, pushing aside a twinge of regret at Boo's hurt expression. "Any other brilliant clichés you'd like to hit us with today Boo? A penny saved is a penny earned. It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Boo rolled her eyes, "I didn't say I thought it up Sasha." A few moments later, the girls all jumped as they heard Fanny call the class to order in her usual dramatic fashion. The girls rushed out of the room as Sasha hesitated by the closet door. She glanced around the room nervously, before running to rejoin the other dancers in the studio.
The role of Ginger Rogers yet another thing lost because of her impulsive stupidity. Sasha frowned, her insolence was intentional but the result still stung. Sasha couldn't deny that jealousy surged through her while watching Boo take the role she had done for 4 years. But Boo did deserve the role, Sasha admitted grudgingly. There was no one else who could perform with as much grace and enthusiasm as Boo undoubtedly would. Sasha rubbed her weary eyes, lately she found herself constantly exhausted. The strain of the past few days had taken their toll.
Her father drifted in and out of the house packing his things while Sasha's mother buried herself in work as usual. Sasha hadn't spoken to him since the incident. They avoided each other like strangers, as they fell into an easy pattern of denial. When Sasha was at school or class, her father would sneak into the house like a thief and quietly pack his things, leaving the house emptier as time went on. Only a few of his things remained and Sasha stared at them daily, a silent reminder of their mistakes. Her thoughts wandered back to those four words. I heard her father-. They could have been talking about Ginny's dad, Sasha mused. But she had recognized the embarrassed faces and averted gazes; it was a look she knew all to well. They had stopped as soon as they had seen her face. What else had they intended to say?
The possibilities were endless. Any number of words could have followed those few syllables. Perhaps familiar words like gay or cheat. These are the words she's grown up with. Fleeting seconds of malicious jokes, adding up over the years, bouncing off of thick skin, needles, leaving pinpricks of pain in their wake. But it's the less familiar, the new words, that keep her up at night, crying silently into her pillow. These new words Sasha thinks, will be strange angry daggers cutting through weak skin, slicing her to ribbons. Her fragile world was crumbling underneath her feet and deep down Sasha believed, she revealed the rotting foundation. Exposed the cracks in the bricks, in her failed attempt at getting her mother to care about for once, she had inadvertently led her mother to the truth. Her father loved a man, and no matter how hard her mother tried to remain oblivious, that fact would always remain the same.
Ballet once left Sasha feeling full of joy, now it had become an unnecessary burden. Sasha felt herself crumbling under the weight of its enormous pressure. She was tired of the constant need to be perfect. For once Sasha just wanted to forget her flaws and throw all the rules by the wayside. Her pitiful attempt at getting out through tan lines, had only garnered her a little of Fanny's contempt. Sasha slumped into her bed with a heavy sigh. Maybe it would have worked once, but not now with show season on the line.
She glanced around her room; the light pink walls were cluttered with artwork and various other trinkets. Her eyes fell on an old picture taken at a Halloween party. She was jokingly posing with the three other girls, an electric blue wig propped on her head. Sasha smiled in spite of herself as she stared at the ridiculous wig adorning her head. She stood up abruptly. The answer had been staring her in the face all along. Sasha grabbed her jacket from the nearby coat rack and headed out of the room. She had a few purchases to make.
Sasha should have felt relieved. Ballet was one less burden off her shoulders. No more show season, or worrying about swimming or tan lines- Suddenly the clothes, specially picked out for the occasion of pissing Madame Fanny off; felt itchy and hot. The boots heavy on her feet like anchors dragging her to ground. She trudged up the road to her house. Hoping just this once someone would be home. Hoping her dad would greet her at the door with a smile on his face asking how her day went.
Sasha opened the door and called out. She was greeted by her voice echoing off the newly scarce living room. No one answered. A small sheet of paper lay folded on a nearby table. Sasha opened it with shaking hands, and read the first few words off the page. "Dear Sasha"- the note crumpled in her tightly clenched hands as angry tears rolled down her cheeks. The balled up note fluttered through her fingertips and hit the floor with a soft crunch that reverberated through the room. A heavy lump settled in her chest as she whispered in resigned voice. "Coward".