The happiness you deserve

by Jenny

Sam spat out the clot of earth and pulled himself up to sitting.

“Thanks for the trainers, mate. Don’t forget to bring extra crisps for my lunch tomorrow, yeah?”

With a spiteful laugh Chris cycled off, kicking a cloud of dust at Sam as he went.

Sam gathered his things, brushing the mud off his leotard and collecting his dance shoes from either side of the road. Chris had taken his trainers and his rucksack so he bundled his ballet gear up in his hands and started, barefoot, for home.

At lunch the next day Chris slid his empty tray over to Sam

“Fish and chips for me love, will you?” He winked and sprawled out on the bench. When the others turned their backs to join the queue Chris mimed dainty ballet moves at him and Sam took the tray, paid for both meals and said not a word.

He put Chris’ lunch tray down and went to sit elsewhere, but Chris wasn’t having any of it. He pulled Sam down to the bench beside him and launched into the conversation, spraying chip fragments as he spoke.

“Boys, saw this programme on telly last night about these queer boys doing ballet”

His eyes flashed dangerously at Sam as he grinned and put on a falsetto voice

“Daaarling run me a bubble bath I must prepare my pirouette.” He fluttered his hands and laughed, showing the chewed up food coating his tongue.

There was some scattered laughter. Sam said nothing. Chris enjoyed this balancing act; threatening to tip his secret into public knowledge at any moment, then hauling it back into precarious safety for a while.

“Sambo, where’s my crisps today?”

Wordlessly Sam took a packet of ready salted from his bag and watched Chris devour them. He saw the other boys exchange looks then stare at him.

The end of year was approaching. The last day of school was always a talent show in the assembly hall instead of lessons.

On the day itself the corridors filled with bustling students carrying musical instruments, sheaves of paper, armfuls of homemade costumes. Beautiful Bella Davies flounced around in black cherry lipstick and layers of chiffon, drawing the gaze of every boy in the school.

Chris’ gang would sit at the back being as obnoxious as they could. Sam, however, had other plans.

When the curtain rose to reveal Sam and Bella locked in an elegant embrace, arms and legs entwined, Sam could practically hear Chris’ jaw hitting the floor. And when he executed a perfect grande jete the entire hall erupted in rapturous applause.

When Sam and Bella took their bow, Sam took the microphone and waited for the reverent hush to descend.

“Thank you so much. Bella and I have worked so hard on today’s performance. There’s one person in particular that I must mention. Chris Giles. Your support has meant everything. I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us in the way you hoped. I tried to be what you needed, but I couldn’t lie to either of us anymore. Know that Bella and I wish you all the happiness you deserve. I’ll always treasure our time together...”