Arriving at ballet class for my son is a tricky act of timing. Arrive too early, he risks his life climbing and doing flips on the barre. Arrive too late, he yells at me for artlessly shoving him into his ballet shoes and bunching his socks.
This last time we arrived on the early side. Fortunately a group of girls in the yellow leotard group (or “butter” I believe is the technical hue) were already stretching on the barre. It’s a woman’s world at ballet and my son wants no part of that. Not a single one of them were trying to break their necks, so he ignored them and moved to the staircase to pass the time.
I blocked out his extreme sports enthusiasm on the steps and listened to the little girls in butter talk to one another.
“So, like, are you from China?” asks a first little girl of another.
“Um. No. I’m from Chicago. My parents are from Korea," says the second little girl.
“Oh. Yeah. I saw your face and then I heard you say you moved here from Illinois and then I was like, what?”
"Yeah, me too. I thought you were from China," says a third little girl.
The second little girl laughs. “Where are you from?”
"I was born in New Jersey. We had a dog there. His name was Rusty," Says the third little girl.
“I’m from Boston. I think. Ma! Ma! Where was I born?” Says the first little girl.
“Boston. Please stop yelling.” Says her mom.
“Ma! Ma! Where were you born?’
“The Dominican Republic.”
“That is why your skin is brown?” the little girl from Chicago asked.
"I don't know why my skin is kind of pink. I'll ask my mom when she gets back. I think it's because my Dad is from California," says the little girl from New Jersey.
“Ohhhhh, yeah. Ma!”
“Good grief, yes this is why your skin is brown. You know that. Stop yelling.”
“Do you like your brown skin?” asks the little girl from New Jersey.
And then all three of them started trying to break their necks by flipping on the bar together holding hands.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for the world.