A spider on the shoulder

The high school where I spent between the age of 16 and 18 was a girls-only school, and it was locally famous for its unique school festivals. The biggest and most important among all was the annual song and dance contest held in autumn.

The contest took place in October, but the preparation would start as early as in June. Each class would choose a theme and music pieces, then those talented in poetry would create a lyric to the music and those talented in dancing would create a choreography. Once the songs and the dance steps were complete, it was time for the whole class to start practicing them.

The practice was done in a most serious manner. I had a good background in music, so, practicing and memorizing the song was never an issue. However, dancing was challenging to me since back then I somehow believed that I was a poor dancer.

It was in my final year of high school. Our class had a most passionate group of people, and from the beginning, there was a heated atmosphere that we were aiming for the first prize at the contest. Each morning was dedicated to the song practice, and after classes, we practiced dancing.

I would learn the choreography most ardently at school, and at home, I would practice in front of the mirror every evening. Though I was awkward with my classmates at school, I actually liked dancing with them, and I put all my energy that I couldn’t express at school into dance practice. Our dance instructors (my classmates who put together the choreography) were very strict, and everybody was scolded for any missed step or missed timing during our group practice. I was no exception. The dance practice was a strange utopia where every self-conscious teenage girl carrying different circumstances could meet and connect with each other’s energetic presence.

One day, we were practicing our dance in the large school courtyard. It was a hot summer day, and the courtyard was humid and dusty. After some intense practice, we took a small break. As I sat down on the concrete tiling to rest, I found something black resting on my left shoulder. I turned my neck to have a better look at it, and jumped. It was a big black spider. I screamed in total surprise, and stood up to remove the spider from my shoulder.

When I looked around to see if I had surprised anybody with my hysterical sound, I realized that nobody was watching this direction. Everybody was busy chatting with somebody else. And as I sat back to my position, I struggled for a moment to push back the words that were ready on my tongue – “Hey, guess what happened? I just had a spider on my shoulder!”

When the break was over, our dance instructors’ voice flew in the air, and we were all back together in the utopia of strict dance practice.