Saturday, April 26, 2008

a softening of the storm

Is it strange that the history in these sidewalks and streets make me smile? That I no longer want to run and may, just may, learn to let myself flow?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I could feel no pain.

I don't know what to say just yet -

I laugh instead:

This certifies that
Diana Gallagher
in recognition for
10th Place on Floor/Killing a Bottle
Has been selected to receive this certificate
The 19th day of April in the year 2008

wonderful friends - "SWORDFIGHT!" - their signs, their genuine smiles, their screams, their, "Screw it, you deserve this"

feelings move faster than feet as the temperature rises and lights hit faces lifted and smiling -

We are smiling but we are nervous.

My nerves finally ended - fell, in fact - 10th place on floor with a 9.3

I will always be too hard on myself;

I was smiling and I wasn't nervous as I danced, tumbled instead of thought - it was right - more than anything else will ever be -

I had worried that night, thought I didn't deserve this - yet I have changed from all of the changes this year - because I knew I was wrong.

I hadn't been smiling and I was incredibly nervous before I saluted to the judges - scores barely scraping above 9.0 for even the best Penn State girls, a balk on my whipback pass on the warm-up floor, starting floor on the first rotation of the first session of Nationals - who qualifies to finals that way?

Two weeks ago I smiled and simply couldn't be nervous, knowing that my body had been against me (it'd be bad if you fell on your rib again) and that my mind had won, knowing that six weeks before I'd fallen and groaned in pain and known that today, even if I fell, I could feel no pain.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

6:40 a.m.

Well, that was unexpected!

And now to shower/pack/North Carolina I go! :-)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"You can stand under my umbrella any f__king time you want."

I love these sorts of nights: when everything is awesome. Just right.

Andy's in the den reading Transition, Stephanie’s getting proposed to in the street, I’m asking Kelly if she wants sauce on her sternum, five us deciding that we’ll open our own gym, Angela’s laughing and falling under the table, Tanya's reading my poem and exclaiming, "You better shut the door!" Caroline’s tugging me over to dance with guys jumping up and down, “Seven millimeters is better than an inch – that’s what I tell the ladies” (and yes, Liz, that is indeed a reference to your poetry!), “This might be awkward, but do you want to dance?” "Yeah, 6,000 miles away - quite the booty call!" “I’ll make love to you like you want me to,” “Did you just say that you love the way I hold you?” “He knows who I be,” “You have to write a story about me someday,” we’re driving with the sunroof open and the windows down at 2 a.m. and the rain has faded – we are laughing and shouting too much for it to hold much sway.

I did not have to struggle for strength tonight; I already had it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

From a fine poet friend,

whose works I fully expect to see one day years from now:

I'll leave it at the foot of the Montauk Lighthouse with a message pinned saying " last thoughts for now of a ramblin coot young or old en route to dancing woman child at heart hopefully forever."

Sunday, April 06, 2008


At Friday night's pasta party, we're eating dinner and taking a break from stalking Caroline's ex-boyfriend on Facebook when someone asks, "Diana, what's your major?"

"Professional Writing and Spanish," I say.

"Yeah? What do you want to do with that?"

"Be a writer."

"Ooh, can you write about me?" Caroline asks, biting into a forkful of pasta.

"Or me?" Steph offers.

"I wrote a story once," Mindy chimes in.

There were many stories that evening -- stories of skills, sex, "being bombed," cheating and reuniting. We laughed until about a quarter to 11, when we realized, "Hey, we've got a meet tomorrow."

We are not the ones who are supposed to have stories written about us. We are the club team of an overlooked sport and if you're club, well, of course you can't be worth watching. A joke, really, of the sport as 18-to-22-year-old girls pretend to do what they did ten years ago, rejects from the "real team," older girls pulling on leotards and wobbling as someone applauds politely.

If that's what you think, I am glad you were not there yesterday.

Three o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Too late to be asleep from the night before, but you could be napping. You could be doing work, making out, staring at the clock, doing your nails. Much better uses of your time, of course.

Otherwise you would have been dismayed by a Penn State girl's front-front-half on vault, Cornell's girl swinging full-twisting front giants, Jess throwing a flight skill from every family on beam and winning the event. You would not have appreciated Mindy's roundoff back tuck on floor that she taught herself, Nicole's face-planted but valiant Tsuk, Steph's full, Cassandra's first front handspring on vault, Beth's graceful beam routine after yet another ticket, Em's newly-learned Arabian that landed on her feet.

And you would narrow your eyes at this girl, yes, not good enough for varsity, the one who fractured her rib exactly six weeks before -- she should have been out of the sport when she blew out her knee, her and that Emeline with the dislocated elbow --

How dare she look so joyous and beat nearly every other gymnast's harder tumbling with a 9.4?

Sometimes we try to tell ourselves that it's a joke, too. We laugh when Mindy does the robot on beam and know that no matter how many times we fall, no coach will yell at us or pull us from the lineup, no extra routines will be our punishment.

But if you think we're joking, you should watch our faces just before we salute the judge.

Yes, our crowd is fans for other teams, some of our parents, some of our significant others and dear friends (and Angela Calvano). And they clap as loudly as we did for you. And we do not want them to see us falter.

If you were a gymnast once and your body still has strength and will to flip, how can you sit quietly now?

We will not have lengthy online write-ups and a possible newspaper article. Only a few of our friends who weren't there will remember to ask, "Hey, how'd the meet go?"

We will have far too many photographs. We will laugh loudly and share pretzels. We will be at practice tonight because we choose to be there.

And we will have the stories that a few will read. The stories that we will all understand.

"You're chaotic."

For once in my life, I am at the perfect height.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The product of spending time with Beth and Yumi...

"You know, Emeline,"

I say as I bite into my pseudo-dinner of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, "I think this is the most emotionally stable week I've had all year."

"Are you serious?" Emeline's back is to me, but I can imagine the look on her face.

I consider. "Okay. Five days."

"Yeah, I was going to say..."

Today's lesson in chivalry

Nothing says "romance" like a marriage proposal via text message.

Oh, Angie Baby, how I love thee!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I am going to miss this place.

Emeline walks into my room with disheveled hair, looking exhausted.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

"Yeah. Can I have some ibuprofen?"

"Yes!" I scamper over to the drawer. The bottle is, of course, mostly full.

"You giving me medicine..." Emeline says as she shakes the tablets into her palm. "I never thought this day would happen."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1

Some realizations in life:

1) "Creeper" is an amazing word.

2) It probably applies to me.

3) I should stop applying to grad schools that I don't actually want to go to.

4) No matter what happens on Saturday, I'm quite proud that I managed to get all of my routnes together -- and some improved -- in the week-and-a-half after "clearing" myself.

5) I don't like even numbers besides 8, 10, and 18, so therefore, I end on 5.

6) Okay, I also like six.