A flash fiction in dialogue
But I thought you liked ballet.
I do but I don’t like people watching me.
Let me check your hairpins. Stop frowning. It’ll be good for you.
Competition gives you something to strive for.
We all need to step out of our comfort zone sometimes.
Our what? Mummy?
Comfort zone. It’s like… Well not just doing things that we find easiest all the time. Erm… Taking risks, being brave, pushing ourselves. Does that make sense?
I’m not sure, Mummy. Do you mean doing things that scare me?
Yes. That’s it. Clever girl!
Why do I want to be scared?
Well, because when it’s over you can say, ‘I’m glad I did that.’
Why would I be glad to be scared?
Because it won’t be as scary as you thought it would after all. You’ll have conquered your fear.
Like slaying a dragon?
But I’d rather not.
I’m not a fighting person. And what if I don’t win?
You’ll have done your best and you’ll be better prepared for next time.
Next time? You want me to be scared again?
No. I want you to face your fears and step out of your comfort zone occasionally.
I think that’s silly.
Yes. People that want to be scared can watch scary films and do a bungi-jump and be in ballet competitions. The rest of us can carry on not being frightened. And stay in our comfortable zone.
It’s not that kind of comfortable.
No. It’s comfort – as in easy, sometimes too easy. Maybe even just doing what’s familiar because you’re scared of the unknown – of taking chances.
I do like the unknown, though, Mummy. I like learning about new things. But I like familiar things too. I don’t have to choose, do I?
What about when you grow up? You’ll have to do all sorts of new and scary things.
Will I have to win competitions?
Well, er, only if you want to.
Well I don’t want to. So can I go home now?
But darling, life is full of risk and fear and I want you to be strong and be prepared. You’ll be okay, I pro –
– Sorry folks. You won’t be performing tonight. The last dancer’s vomited all over the stage. Scared witless. Never seen anyone so white.
She won’t be so scared next time, will she, Mummy? Now she’s slayed her dragon?
– I wouldn’t be so sure of that, love. That’s the third time she’s puked in a competition.
I think she wins, then, doesn’t she? She’s been the most scared. I hope she can go back to being comfortable now.