She liked dancing. She danced as soon as she woke and whilst she made her bed, she danced. Then, she danced down the stairs and into the kitchen—where her father prepared her cereal and her mother packed her lunch. She danced as she brushed her teeth and her mother combed her teeth. She danced as she tugged on her favorite dress—a pink tutu from ballet class with her favorite, sparkly jean jacket with the pink gems. She even danced when her mother told her, ”For goodness sakes, Mary Jane Elliot-Smith, put something else on. You’ve worn that thing for four days in a row.”
She danced as she walked to her bus stop, with her daddy watching on. She danced as she got on to the bus and even danced as the older kids snickered while the little ones stared at her in awe. She danced as she got off the bus and danced all the way to Ms. McGuire’s classroom. Her feet danced while she sat reading her spelling book and eating lunch.
But the year she turned 17, after her father got killed because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and students at Simmons High bullied Mary Jane Elliot-Smith for taking too many pills one rainy Friday night. The year she dropped out of school and ran away from her home because her mother was admitted into Northlake Rehab Center, was the year Mary Jean never danced again.