Our bedroom door squeaks when it opens. Jump-scare quality, if you’re not expecting it. Rats. No, not rats. Tessa. (Who is definitely not plural.)
But I love scary movies, so I didn’t fall. Shaking, I grit my teeth. Breathe deep. Except in my current position, it should be, breathe up.
My sister comes closer. Too close. “What are you doing, Ava?”
What does it look like I’m doing? My first ever, took me two weeks of practice, now you’re not the only one in the house who can do one— “Handstand.”
She shakes her head. Makes me seasick. “No, you’re not. Your feet are on the wall.”
“Barely touching. Doesn’t count.”
“My wall, actually. Why can’t your feet ‘barely touch’ your own wall? Besides, a handstand means feet don’t touch anything at all. One hundred percent of your weight must be on your hands.”
“Ninety-nine point five—”
“One. Hundred. Percent.”
You can do this. I move one foot a hair farther away. Too much. Unfortunately, it makes a soft thump when I replace it.
“I didn’t say you did. What I’m saying is, you’re not doing a handstand. I’m still the only person in the house that can do one.”
My eyes shut. Watching Tessa’s smug expression up there isn’t helping. Also I think there might be an eyelash in my left eye.
“Don’t forget to breathe.”
Definitely an eyelash. Still not giving up.
“Admit it, Ava, you can’t do it. You don’t have one hundred percent of your weight on your hands.”
“What am…I doing? Standing up?” Talking is getting harder.
“Hmm. You’ve got a point.”
Which is really what I was doing. Making a point. It’s not like Tessa and I have a bet or anything. Gymnastics was always her thing. Maybe that’s why I’m doing it on “her wall,” next to the shelves full of trophies, ribbons, and medals.
She gave that up three years ago. Now she focuses on her blog. She’s still a winner, though. Her blog matters. People quote it at graduation speeches, including mine. (Sometimes they even credit her.) More than ten thousand people read it. Not even ten people read mine, and I know them all.
Tessa isn’t one.
So yeah, for once I want to see if I can do something simple like a handstand. Whenever Mom took me to pick her up from the gym, I’d watch her have handstand contests with her friends. Tessa always won.
“Look, you’re never going to be able to do a handstand if you don’t take your feet off the wall. I’ll show you. Do it like this.”
So I watch. Mistake. Eye contact when you’re both upside down is truly weird. She’s nowhere near the wall, and yet she could handstand there forever.
“You’ll never see my feet on the wall.”
No, I won’t. I’ll never see them anywhere. This is the first time she’s ever mentioned her feet to me since the accident. I never thought she’d joke about them. Even in her blog, she doesn’t do that.
She’s always been ahead of me, and now, on prosthetics, she still is.
That’s kind of inspiring, don’t you think? Maybe I should put that in my blog.