“Gaze into me,” telepathically called Crystal Ball, “View into your future, where I will tell all.” The calls lured Charlie-Sue, toward the table where Crystal Ball sat upon her holder, ready to be viewed. She knew this was the working room of Esmeralda the Gypsy, who told fortunes for a living, to men and women seeking assistance in their lives that seemed unclear and needing revelation and introspection. Where the gypsy was at the moment, Charlie-Sue did not know, but quickly she wanted to view her fortune, before she’d be ushered out, hurried away, told to go. She narrowed her eyes as she gazed inside, and what did she see, but herself receiving a large prize! It was incredibly pleasing to see. It was a trophy, golden and tall in stature, with a universe sitting atop of the pillars, and from the outside where she viewed herself, Charlie-Sue felt she had achieved much more than she’d felt capable of. She knew not what the prize was for, but she wanted to celebrate her future achievement, of this she felt there was much more in store, a future where she would have much to celebrate, more and more!
Charlie-Sue was talented at many different things, but most of all she was a prize winner at gymnastics and high jump and other such activities. On the athletics track she burned away the ground, from sprinting so far away from her competitors; smoke was almost viewable to be found! But where she shone the most was on the poles, the high bars, where she would twirl and twirl herself, then onto the higher bar she’d be thrown.
She was ultimately the best in her club, where she trained six days a week, with the seventh spent stretching extensively at home, unwinding those tight muscles that almost could groan and speak. Some of the kids in her school were jealous of her skill, they would not accept or understand that her talents came from working extremely hard, until, they witnessed her activities in the gymnasium one day after school. A group of her classmates had snuck by the building, and now they realised she worked so hard, that calluses came with her determination, and that she worked intensely to maintain and advance her skills.
Charlie-Sue continued to look intently into the ball, wondering whether this was a sign she would win the upcoming championship of the world. She was known as astounding the world over, for being a girl of merely twelve years old, for being entered, as a special case, to the adult championships of the entire world. The competition was known as Mister and Missus Gymnastic Champion of the Universe, she had trained so immensely well, that her coach even offered her to take a week off to relax with the understanding that she was so well practiced, she could afford to take off from training for a spell.
Of course, Charlie-Sue and her mother made the unanimous decision to continue on with her training, the very thought of temporarily ceasing it caused her head to become drained and paining. For, if she made a mistake, say she slipped and fell off the bars in the championship, before thousands of eyes on the stage, she could never forgive herself for allowing the lapse of judgement at accepting the week off to relax. She knew it would be a dramatic moment, and one she would regret for the rest of her life. For that was how Charlie-Sue was, of gymnastics she was dedicated, and would be for the rest of her life.
However, now the competition was in two weeks, and Charlie-Sue took the recent fortune of the crystal ball as a sign that she would win, so, slightly, here and there, she slacked off on her practice, for she already felt, no, knew, that she was going to win. But how could she feel so confident when she was competing against adults who had trained for as many years as she was old, however, the confidence of this little girl was an ultimate potent potion, she was so very steadfast, and very bold.
Then came the moment, her section, of which she was incredibly skilled, the high top bars, not one, not two, but three, stacked and angled in a row. Oh, how high she swung, around and around she tossed her thin frame of a body, well toned, muscled but not overly so, and with a large loop-de-loop, as a final manoeuvre the crowd gasped, as she lost her footing on the landing, the crowd was dismayed, but not as much as Charlie-Sue would be! As the moment flashed and replayed in her mind, over and again, never ending, now presented as stills, she was devastated, ashamed, and from the throbbing pain felt greatly ill. Her ankle was shattered in three places, she would later discover, and a painful recovery and physiotherapy daily, for many hours, and the worst part of it was that she couldn’t continue to train, to prepare herself for the next Missus Gymnastic Champion of the Universe again.
Why did I listen, why did believe? lamented Charlie-Sue, of the fortune telling crystal ball, that had merely reflected her dreams. Why did I think that I would so surely, easily win? She cried and cried to herself, from the lonesome bed in hospital, while her mother stood outside, head against the door, wondering at how to console her daughter of her shattered dreams. She simply didn’t know how to address her, to care for her, when she was so despairing and couldn’t be made to feel that it was okay, to have made a little mistake, despite what she would later say or claim. Charlie-Sue believed she had made the biggest career mistake of her life, but how could her mother rectify her daughter’s thinking, when gymnastics was her entire life? She could feel her heart perpetually sinking. Saddened at the moments, of hearing yet again more tears from her daughter fall, she quietly walked away to the communal seating outside, and proceeded to make an important phone call.
“Yes, I’ll hold,” she replied, in a most formal, important tone. And then a pause, and she commenced talking, arranging something that was very important to her to create and of this to have it known.
The very next day, a woman who was surprisingly familiar to the eye entered the doorway of the hospital.
“Where can I find Charlie-Sue Morgan?” she asked the receptionist girl. She pointed behind her to the left, and automatically muttered, “Room Three-Oh-Three,” and off the familiar woman bounded, with something in her backpack bulging, begging to be seen. When she entered Charlie-Sue’s room, her eyes bulged in amazement, at the sight of this woman now in her world!
“Amy Ladanz! You won the championship! I’m such a fan of yours!” was all that Charlie-Sue could call.
With modesty, warm, twinkling eyes, and a smiling face, Amy sat by Charlie-Sue’s bed and proceeded to say that she had heard of her most unfortunate event, that she was sorry that it had occurred, and how was Charlie-Sue feeling, was she okay? Amy had been away from the stage during the Charlie-Sue’s fateful moment in the championship, unable to provide a few comforting words or a hug to provide some comforting sense to the devastated girl during her hardship. Gossip and rumours about the twelve year old girl’s accident had been carefully and temporarily suppressed, by the media who believed depressing news of this nature should not be spread. Afterwards, Amy had only heard of the accident through Charlie-Sue’s mother, and when she had been entirely informed of the disaster, she knew she must make it to the girl’s bedside, at her next available hour.
“And I have something for you,” she said, her mouth curling into a genuine, heartfelt smile. From her backpack, she presented Charlie-Sue with her first place trophy, with a flashy, eloquent style. How Charlie-Sue sobbed, but now it was with tears of gratefulness and delight, a display of acceptance at how her fortune had turned out one and the same, just slightly different, and now with her prize held high to the sky, she was a champion in her own league, for being so brave despite her injury, today and every night indeed.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.