By Nancy Slavin
Love is me snipping at light blue tulle and a thin elastic strap and then reattaching both difficult fabrics onto the front of the ballet costume. I had to get out my reading glasses to thread this needle. Even after paying fifty-five bucks for this costume, I’m doing all this reworking because the dance teacher said if I don’t, the feathery tulle will obscure the little purple pixie wings. And we cannot obscure the pixie wings.
Unlike my daughter, I was a basketball player. When my own mother took me to ballet class as a young girl, I lasted the whole of a minute before I died of boredom. The ballet teacher even told my mother “your daughter does not want to be a ballerina.” I wanted to run and pass and steal a ball and shoot a three pointer. I ran into things like a Mack Truck. As an adult, I’ve worked as a rafting guide and a loud-mouthed feminist activist. I’ve never leapt daintily or pirouetted without wiping out in my life.
I’ve sewn a clump of tulle together by accident. I cut the thread and start again. And now I cannot find the hot glue gun, which I bought earlier this year because my daughter does crafts on top of ballet. She crafts all things tiny and delicate – beads, small clay bunnies wet with paint lined up on our dining room table, fairy houses made of moss and grass and small flowers. But the hot glue gun is not where it goes, and I know my daughter put it somewhere obvious to her but inscrutable to me. And she needs this costume today for rehearsal, and I cannot glue on the pixie wings without the hot glue gun. My Mack Truck compulsion to destroy rears up in me as I storm the house looking for the gun. I scream out loud to no one “put shit back where it belongs!” until my voice goes raspy. These wings, made of glitter and fairy dust – I’m going to stomp on them like an ogre, like a horrible mother.
But, I do not stomp. Later, when volunteering at my daughter’s school, I ask her, “child where the gun is so I can finish this costume?” She tells me where it is, and I chide her for making a mess. When I get home, I plug in the glue gun and I press the wings in place. They sparkle with a million glittery flecks, just like my love.
Nancy Slavin has been a long term English literature and writing instructor for a community college and as well as a violence-prevention educator. She’s authored a collection of poems, Oregon Pacific (2015), and a novel, Moorings, (2013). More of her work can be found in Rain Magazine, Barrelhouse, hip mama, Literary Mama, and Oregon Humanities Magazine. Her website is www.nancyslavin.com.