C 2004 By Gracie Prior
CHAPTER XVIII. THE STAR
(Terry had to leave Havenward to practice for the gym show. Let's see how he does.)
Butch sat with his parents at the gymnasium. He looked around for his friends. Jimmy and his parents were looking for a seat. Butch waved them over. "Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Falcon, how are you?"
Mr. Falcon looked at Butch and sat down without smiling. Mrs. Falcon said, "Butch, Frieda, George. We're excited to see Terry do his acrobatics. Have you seen his parents?"
"We just got here," Butch said. He looked around some more. He spied Mr. and Mrs. Raymond walking along the far end of the gym. The place was starting to fill up. Butch waved wildly at them.
"Butch, for heavens' sake. Let the Raymond's sit where they want. Don't look like an idiot." Mrs. McNeil said.
The Raymonds sat down on the bench on the first row. They were focused straight ahead. Philip and his little sister, Kathy, were there, too.
From the far corner of the gym, a small band began to play a march and the tumbling team ran in and lined up. Terry was about in the middle, height wise. They all wore white shorts and white tee shirts with the school name, Elsbeth Elementary, written on them. The program started with the pledge to the flag, and then an announcement of greeting by the principal and the location of refreshments afterwards.
An official checked the mats and placed a small device called a trampolette at the front of the first one. Mrs. Osgood, the gym teacher, had a teen aged assistant lay down on his back about half way down the mat. A very small girl gymnast walked up. She made a short run, jumped with both feet on the trampolette, put her hands on the teenager's knees, and he carried her over with a perfect landing on her feet. Several other small athletes repeated this maneuver. An older group did mid-air turns between the jump and the landing.
The mini-tramp was taken away and a girl went up to the mat. She had her run, did four handsprings in a row and landed on her feet. Then Terry came up and took a run. He did seven handsprings and just managed to land on his feet at the end. The audience loved it all and clapped heartily.
At intermission, Butch looked abound and saw Mary and her parents show up. "Sorry we were late. Daddy had to help one of his people at church. Mom said I had to wait. What did I miss?"
"Terry was so good." Butch said. "They were all great."
Mary looked at her mom and dad sideways, a move Butch knew was on the sly. He knew she dared not glare at them, though she would have liked to. "Maybe he'll do better stunts in the second half," she said.
The gymnasts returned. The crown watched as a large trampoline was set up in the middle of the gym. A group of gymnasts stood around the sides to protect the jumpers. When it was Terry's turn to jump on the trampoline, he did some sits and turns. Then he bounced and did a forward flip, landed and then right away a back flip. The other players were good, too. Butch thought Terry was the best. He was a loyal friend. After the show, they all met in the cafeteria and talked to each other and the parents.
Butch found the Raymonds. He ran over. "Terry was so good. I was so proud of him." Then he felt silly about the comment. "I mean you must be so proud of him."
Mr. Raymond was beaming. "I had no idea Terry could do anything like that. I was surprised and proud and amazed all at once."
Mrs. Raymond held her husband's arm. Butch thought she looked relaxed and happy. He thought Mr. Raymond looked well. He was glad because Terry was constantly upset about his dad being sick.
Finally Terry and the gymnasts showed up. Terry found his group and he got a hug from his mom and dad, and Butch and Jimmy just shook him. They didn't know what else to do. Mary went up and gave Terry a hug. "You were great," she said.
"We're going to travel to Lindville next week," Terry explained. "It will be our first away meet. Isn't that great?"
"You will wow them," Jimmy's mom said.
* * *
I just have to tell you about this gymnastic show Terry was in. I've never seen anything like it. I didn't know he was good at stuff like that. I always thought we were about the same, pretty average guys, just the two of us. But there's no way. Terry is a star. He is simply amazing. I guess he's still good old Terry, but I won't ever think of him the same way again. I don't feel bad. I mean I can do things. I just feel like there's someone I thought I knew that I really don't know at all. It's weird. I wonder who else is holding back on me. Jimmy? Could he be hiding some talent I don't know about? Whatever could it be? Mary? She doesn't seem any better at things than most of us. But what if Mary has something that will make her different? I'm confused. I like Terry to be great. Still, when things change, you feel so lost. I feel lost. I don't want to lose Terry or Jimmy or Mary. I won't, will I?
Butch, signing off
(Next time - does Terry get to bask in the limelight, or does something more shadowy lurk in his future? Come back next Friday and see.)