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By:HJ Bellus


“Blue, you have mail.”

My entire body freezes at the high pitched sound of my mom’s voice, and I’m not sure if it’s sheer panic or excitement. I’ve been waiting on my acceptance letter from Preston University for what seems like years, but in all actuality it’s only been two weeks and three days.

“You might want to move your ass, Blue.”

This time I know beyond a doubt it’s the letter. Try-outs were a month ago, and I put everything I had on the line. I didn’t let the other girls prevent me from focusing on the task ahead of me. Going from Boulder, Colorado to L.A. was quite the eye opener, but years of training to be the best athlete I can be came in handy and I relied on my mental strength training.

My door flies open, distracting me from staring at my MacBook and Facebook wall. My mom stands in the entrance holding one white envelope with a huge smile plastered across her face. This dream and next step in my life is as much hers as it is mine. Damn, the woman has been by my side, from baby beauty pageants to running for Miss Teen Colorado.

“I can’t, Mom.” Snapping the lid of my MacBook closed, I wrap my arms around my knees.

“Blue.” She strums the edges of the envelope.

“No, Mom, I just can’t. What if…?”

“What if you made it and you’re about to start the next chapter in your life?”

“Mom, stop! Your Pollyanna Positive attitude is not working right now.”

“I’m opening it.”

“No.” I lurch forward on my bed and snatch the envelope from her hands. “I want Dad here.”

“He’s in surgery today.” She glances down at the gold watch on her wrist. “He might be able to FaceTime. Let me go check.”

Mom practically skips from the room, and I smile at her pep-you-up attitude. Then I begin praying my dad is elbow deep in an operation.

“Say hi to Dad.” My mom bounds back in, barely making contact with the floor before landing on the bed next to me.

“Hi, Dad,” I manage with a defeated voice to his face on the iPhone.

“Hey, cupcake, why the gloom face?”

“Dad, I just…”

“Stop, not another word, cupcake. You’re always your own worst critic. Open the damn letter. I have lives to save here and no time to worry about some overly dramatic and very whiny cheerleader.”

I crack a small grin at my dad’s sarcastic words. I know he’s my biggest support system, but the man is never serious about cheerleading. It’s well known he wants his Blue to become a surgeon just like him. But everyone else in the Williams family gave up hope on that years ago.

“Dad,” I squeal. “Not funny and not the right time.”

To my surprise, I’ve opened the envelope while my dad has been distracting me. I don’t hesitate, pulling the single piece of paper from the envelope.

“I can’t do it.” I toss it in my mom’s direction, burying my head into her knees.

The paper rustles, and I know my mother is unfolding the letter. I hear each movement, but can’t force myself to look up.

“Miss Blue Williams, it’s with great pleasure we are contacting you today.”

The rest of her words are blurred together in one jumbled mass of freaking words. The part of my brain that registers speech goes out of order until I hear the word “accepted.”

My gaze shoots up to study my mom’s face, and when I see tears rolling down her cheeks I know I’ve done it. I’ve made the cheer team at Preston. It’s one of those moments in life when everything stands still while all the hard work and effort toward a certain goal replays in your mind. All those extracurricular school activities missed for another gym session, the sleepovers with friends not attended because I was away at a dance competition.

“I did it.” Each word comes out individually rather than a flowing sentence. “I fucking did it.”

I hear my dad in the background scold me for my language like he always does, but this time I don’t pay any attention to him.

“I did it.” Each time I repeat the words they get a little louder. “I did it.”

I leap to my feet, jumping up and down on the bed, squealing like a stuck pig and shouting all kinds of explicit words from bitch to ho and fucking A, I did it. I catch my dad’s proud smile out of the corner of my eye, and yes, he’s shaking his head at me.

“Mom.” I throw my arms around her and embrace her in a full throttle hug, Blue style. She drops Dad and the letter, and I squeeze harder. This moment is only truly happening because of all my mother’s persistence and belief in me. Being the only child, I always felt that invisible pressure to be the best I could and to impress my parents. They always held high expectations, but never crossed the line of being lunatics.

Yes, lunatics. You know the ones. They put their baby in pageants at three months old, drive across the country for cheer camps, and buy a ten thousand dollar evening gown for Miss Teen Colorado…those kinds of parents. Yes, my parents provided me with all those opportunities, but I was the driving force behind it, pushing myself harder and faster.

“I love you, Blue Williams.”

Okay, they were a bit crazy naming me Blue, but in my mother’s defense, it made me stick out from the crowd.

Pulling away from my mom’s hug, I deepen my smile. “Thank you for everything. You too, Dad.” I wave down to him. The iPhone happened to land by our feet, so my dad is staring up at our crotches. Awkward…actually, it brings awkward to a whole new level. Using my toes, I slide him closer to my mom’s side, giving him a nice view of her.

“Blue, if I have to drive out to California and pick up your knocked-up, freshman ass, I’ll sell you as a slave on the black market in Mexico.”

I get my looks from my mom and my humor from my dad. Never serious, that man, even in a situation like this, but from his proud smile and that twinkle in his eye I know he’s proud as hell.

“Deal, Dad. I love you.”

“I love you too, Blue.”

Mom uses her big toe to disconnect the call, and we fall down on the mattress in a fit of laughter.