My name is Mia Gerard, and dancing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I don’t think there has ever been a time I didn’t love it. When I was five years old, I was enrolled in my first ballet and jazz class. Dance has always been everything to me. That’s why after working so hard for so many years and putting countless hours into it, I was thrilled when I began winning competition after competition, and the rewards rolled in. However, nothing came close to winning the heart of Leo Dancy.
From the moment I laid eyes on him that first day in my 7th grade English class, I felt our connection. I know it may sound silly. How can a twelve-year-old know when she is in love, right?
Well, although I did not have concrete proof, I knew what I felt. It was a feeling like no other. My heart raced, and my hands got sweaty every time I was near him. I know it may sound cheesy, but I literally felt like he and I were the only ones in the room.
Oh, when I think about it now I can’t help but let out a chuckle. I can still see Leo coming in with his blondish hair and green eyes looking right at me. I hadn’t seen him for a while. We went to the same elementary school, but his parents moved to Chicago, and we lost touch.
I was just glad to see him back in Ann Arbor. That’s one thing about Leo. He was always such a comedian. I really missed his jokes. Plus, I had never been very social due to my hectic dance schedule. Most of the girls, except for Courtney Deegan and Keyla West, always ignored me or gave me a hard time. Truth be told, I always seemed to get along best with boys in school. I guess it had to do with the fact that I acted a bit like a tomboy. I know dancers are supposed to be graceful. Not to say I am not, but it doesn’t hurt to just have fun and enjoy each day without always having to worry so much about being graceful or perfect. It is okay to laugh and enjoy time with those that make you happy.
Leo seemed to think the same way. I loved that about him too. He was also very polite and friendly. It didn’t matter who you were, Leo always made time to say hello and smile as you passed him in the hallways. Even when the few bad kids tried to stir trouble, he would always crack a joke.
“Is that the best you got?” he would say.
I thought that line was classic. Leo sure liked using it, and it seemed to work for him.
In just a few weeks, we became fast friends. I was very surprised to see him at my end of the year recital one night. As I danced to one of the last classical pieces in my contemporary dance performance, I overheard him call out, “Way to go, Mia!”
I could not help but blush as everyone in the audience turned to him.
They all smiled at me, and then the crowd applauded even louder. Oh, I can go back and replay that forever. That was the moment I knew I had feelings for Leo. It was the same sort of thing I’d felt when he first came into English class, only deeper.
Oh, I don’t want to ruin our friendship. What should I do now?
I knew how I felt about Leo, but that did not mean he felt the same way. Did he? I thought about playing it cool.
I don’t need to say anything. If I do, and then I find out he doesn’t feel the same way it will be weird between us. No, there is no need for him to know. Friends, it is.
For the next few days I could not stop thinking about Leo. It was getting harder to be near him, and all I wanted to do was hide my feelings.
“Mia, are you okay?” he asked.
I grabbed one of the books in my locker and responded with a smile, “I am fine, Leo.”
“Well, I wasn’t sure.”
I looked into his eyes, and he stared at me with a puzzled look.
I sighed. “Leo, what is the matter?”
“Well, I notice you are wearing two different types of shoes today.”
“What are you talking about?”
He smiled and pointed down.
I was mortified. Leo was right. My shoes didn’t match. One was my running shoe for gym, and the other was my dance shoe. I did not know what to do.
“It is okay, Mia.”
Okay? How can he think it is okay? Tears welled up in my eyes.
“Mia, it is okay.” He came closer. “The only reason I asked is because my socks don’t match today.”
I smiled and looked down at his feet. “Oh, that’s right.”
We laughed together, and then I realized that the bell was about to ring, and here I stood wearing shoes that didn’t match with a guy who was wearing mismatched socks.
“I say we blame the weather.”
I nodded. “That is right.” Michigan weather was always changing, and even though it was April cold temps still blew in from time to time to disorient you.
“Come on. I will walk you to class.” He grabbed my hand.
I looked up at him. “What are you doing?”
“Well, don’t you think it is about time we make it official?”
“You know I want you to be my girlfriend.”
I blinked. “You do?”
He nodded. “Yes. Do you accept?”
I felt my heart racing again, and it was hard to get the words out. “Yes, I accept.”
He held my hand as he walked me to my next class, and I didn’t care about my shoes anymore.
“I will see you in English class, Mia.”
I smiled. “See you then, Leo.”
I can recall this day as if it were yesterday. If only there was a way to go back. I knew from that day on that Leo Dancy would be my soul mate—someone I wanted to be with the rest of my days. I fell in love with every part of him.
He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Oh, I get so teary-eyed as I remember everything. But that’s all in the past. There is no future for us.
No, I refuse to think that way. This just can’t be the end. I do not want to wake up. I want to stay asleep. Leo, my love, I want you to take me with you. Please take me with you.
This book began its journey in 2013 for the National Novel Month but the idea for this book began in July of this same year. You know it is amazing how one character from a show can impact so much of my life and it did when I awoke to the tragic news of his death. It was something so profound and for me it felt like losing a part of my family. I thought about the pain and hurt it caused those he loved and this is when Chasing Clarity was born. However I did not want to write his story. It was more about bringing the theme of love and loss and how my main character Mia will try to overcome the tragic obstacles and be able to find a purpose and pursue on her dreams. I know friends who are like family that have been through this type of pain and my hope is that Mia’s story will help in the healing process of their own hearts.
About the Author:
Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writer’s Group on Linked in 750 in 2012 and she also started to connect with other authors through the World Literary Café. She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series. While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when Closure was born. With the help of her editor Closure grew from a short story to a full novella that Author Stein is excited to share. Her First Debut Novel came in July 31, 2014 entitled, Closure and now she has just released her first YA called Chasing Clarity out October 5th 2015 . “ This is the first of many to come.”