Dancing Queen

The phone at work rings around 3:30 PM on a Tuesday. I am in a rush and I answer with some trepidation hoping that this is going to be a short call.

The caller is quiet for a minute.

Then comes a concerned voice.  “Mum, can you pick me up? I need to get dressed for the school disco tonight”.

Miss A, in her infinite wisdom has decided to call me up, fearing that Mum could be be running late and the very important part of getting ready for the school disco stand a chance of being forefeited.

“A, are you okay? Why are you calling me” (yes, I have these moments when I make her state the obvious mainly because I panic when she calls. )

“The other girls went home to get dressed. Are you coming?”

“I cannot leave now, Bubbles. Please go to After School Care and stay with Claire till I can come and pick you up.”

[At this point, rapid whispering with another person happens]

“We have the school disco today…”

“I know, A. Please go to Claire. I will be there in half an hour.”

[More rapid whispering – with the teacher as I later realized].

The busy schedule is rearranged. I take some time off and rush to pick her up. All the while wondering when the chubby little baby that giggled in delight as I made faces at her grew up to be this smart little person that thought of asking the teacher’s permission to call Mum up so that she could get to the school  disco on time.

Much dolling up happens. Yours truly has limited hair styling skills and A has limited patience. A truce is reached for and we dress her up in what are defined as “funky dunky” clothes. Hair spray and lip gloss do the rest.

She asks for some Maggi because “Maggi is the only food one should eat before a disco”. Money to buy utterly inane trinkets is handed out. Photos are taken and I finally drive her to school. The “disco” is the Year 2s and the Years 3s dancing in a room with the school teachers – it is a girls school so one spies all kind of girls – there are some little ones and some not so little ones – but all of them are dressed up in “funky dunky” clothes, and have bright dancing shoes.

Miss A arrives from the disco two hours later. Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes are a bright sparkle. She is humming a tune I have not heard before. The sparkly shoes are kicked off with much abandon even as she prances around the room. I resist the urge to pick her up and hug her tight- instead I watch this little person who tells me how they played “The Black Eyed Peas”  three times in a row and how at a disco you do not dance with anyone – but you dance as a team _with_ everyone. She is her own little person now and I feel a wave of pride and joy and fleeting loss as I see her in action. Childhood is a one way street – you realize this only when you arrive at the bend in the road from where you can no longer see the road that was, in its entirety.

She changes into her jammies and wears her odd socks (they are holey and old but she refuses to wear a warmer, cleaner, newer pair). She has scrubbed her face but a few obstinate remnants of lip gloss can still be seen on her face. As she settles down with a glass of milk and a marshmallow, I catch a glimpse of the little girl who believes that odd socks are the “comfiest”, who drinks her milk with exactly three marshmallows and who needs her stuffed dog with her when she goes to bed.

Perhaps some crossroads take you to the top of a hill from where you can always see the paths taken. Perhaps there is solace in knowing that  you can always cast your gaze over what once was, even though you never get to transverse those roads again. Perhaps the journey ahead is easier when you can have the luxury of counting the milestones along the way.

She falls asleep with a smile on her lips and with the stuffed dog next to  her. I turn off the lights even as I wish that her dreams bring her home to a night of rest, no matter how far she travels. As I walk out of her room, I realize that I am humming a tune that I had not known before today. Not all streets are one way. And the ones that are can sometimes allow you to travel very, very far.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bilbo
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 17:05:48

    luuvved reading this one again 🙂

    Reply

  2. Rajavel
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 17:35:52

    Ahh yes ! They all suddenly become grown up ! I got a call recently “No daddy, Amma didnt call up and give the phone to me, I called up on my own because I wanted to” .

    Loved it Scarry !

    Reply

  3. Captain Nemo
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 23:08:29

    I reached office late afternoon after some hectic meetings and long travels. This one is a quickly composed odd piece (unedited, as usual) which came to my mind upon reading The Dancing Queen…

    My mind plays dirty tricks,
    as it ages old and young;
    sometimes unmindful
    of the company I am in.

    The world of magnets and miracles
    still fascinate me
    and the odd butterfly that flits past my visor
    while I ride the highway
    still makes me smile.

    I think I need to stop for a while
    and revisit my childhood
    as my older companions
    play catch-up with me.

    Then I realize:

    I have been on a two way street
    for a long long time now,
    I have not traveled very far,
    I think I am where I was.

    Reply

  4. scarlettletters
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 12:25:30

    Thanks Billy 🙂
    Rajavel – that is such a milestone, isnt it?

    Captain, this is AWESOME. Loved the last two lines…..absolutely:)

    Reply

  5. enig
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 13:00:16

    Awwwww ….I think this expression captures my emotions full for now! lovely lovely writings, Scarlett…how many stories do you have hiding down those sleeves…I want these never to end…never …ever…

    love,
    enig

    Reply

  6. scarlettletters
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 15:39:33

    Awwww, every time I wonder if I am boring my handful of readers with kiddy tales, I get a comment like yours. And it reassures me. So much.

    Hugs,
    S

    Reply

  7. IW
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 17:58:41

    >> I feel a wave of pride and joy and fleeting loss

    Your post’s are making me all mushy *sniff* *sniff* *sniff*

    Reply

  8. scarlettletters
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 10:55:44

    Awww, there, there. (*offers hanky and lollies*)

    Reply

  9. Aria
    Oct 10, 2010 @ 22:13:34

    I don’t know what else to add, the comments above say almost everything.. and I also can never tire of little Miss A’s stories.. : )

    Reply

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