"That's all. You're all dismissed.", the manager said. The restaurant crew said their goodbyes and parted in their own ways, with one man looking down at his feet with his hands inside his gray hoodie pockets, walking without a destination in mind.
"This fucking sucks…", the man thought as he felt an ache from within his chest- as if he felt something was missing within him.
As he took more and more steps, he passed through crowds that giggled and laughed in their own conversations… but he felt miserable despite the lighthearted atmosphere. What does he need in order to feel happy?
The man pressed forward into the unknown, but his mind can't help but look back to his past.
The man recalled when he was younger, donning the same gray hoodie along with baggy pants and fresh red Nike's.
"Ey yo- wassup, cuh!", his younger self said as he reached for a friend's hand, high-fiving it. He and his friends met in the middle of a park and into the skating section, setting up a "dance floor" made of cardboard and duct tape on top of the circular stone floor.
As they warmed up and stretched, one friend of his asked a question. "Yo Darren, got any plans for a career? We're about to finish our last term, dude."
"Not really.", he responded as he folded his hand down, stretching his forearm and wrist.
"Aw, man. Aren't you scared for the future? You wouldn't want to end up in the slums, smoking coke or some shit, right?", his friend asked as he reached for one foot with his legs spread apart into a split, stretching the side of his stomach.
"Psh- I'll be fine as long as I can do B-boying.", Darren responded with confidence.
It was nice reminiscing about the past for him until- *crunch*
The sound of an autumn leaf being crushed by his foot made him cringe, remembering a certain injury that halted his B-boying career. He paused, gripping his left shoulder tight with his right hand. Now that he doesn't have B-boying, what will he do now?
Having little to no choice, he kept his head down, pressing forward yet again into the unknown. He used to be so passionate in his craft but now… he is just a shell of his former self.
Moments after pressing forward, a harsh breeze carrying autumn leaves blew at his face, pushing his hood back and revealing his black hair styled in a fresh undercut as well as his dark eyes. He instinctively lifted his right arm to guard his face and as he peeked, he was surprised.
"Wait… I've been walking here all along?", he asked himself. He didn't know that he was headed to the park where he used to "break" with his friends. A sense of nostalgia washed over him along with a crippling weight inside his chest, stopping him in his tracks. He quickly turned around- but he realized it. He has been running away from his past instead of facing the memories, for they only make the void in his life larger. Maybe… if he came into terms with it, maybe he wouldn't be so sad.
Darren had resolved himself as he felt the breeze grow weaker, and he turned around and walked into the park again, his sneakers tapping onto the stone brick road and crushing autumn leaves. Despite being alone in the park, it seemed lively to him as he remembered memories of him and his friends goofin' around, doing "freezes" on some benches and being idiots… but such memories from the past invoke a longing for what you can never have again.
Darren stopped in front of a marble fountain, where autumn leaves floated like ships on the waters that reflected the orange afternoon skies. He recalled that there was a myth about the fountain granting wishes if one were to drop a dime, and couples who threw one together will last 'til death do them part.
Darren rummaged through his pockets to grab his black purse to get a dime and place it on top of his thumb.
"Here's hoping that it works…", Darren thought before clearing his voice and uttering "I want to experience B-boying again." He then flicked with his thumb, sending the coin upward- but not enough to fall on the fountain, so he figured he might as well catch the coin.
He waited for the right moment- until he swung wide with his left arm in an attempt to catch the coin-
"Argh!", he grunted as his left shoulder ached. He missed- but the coin hit one of his fingers, and it was sent flying into the fountain. Such ripples washed away the reflection, revealing lots of coins resting deep like sunken ships within the fountain.
"…Shit, that was reckless! But no one grabbed their coins back... guess that means-"
As he was turning around, a sudden arm wrapped around Darren's neck and a hand pressed his head deeper into the arm, choking him.
Darren squeezed the arm with both hands desperately- but the arm seemed to be dragging him backward whilst choking him- the choke getting tighter and tighter by the second. Darren helplessly tapped the arm and reached for the back of his head- until…
His arms became limp and fell to his sides as he fell unconscious.
"…what happened?", Darren thought to himself. His eyes were shut and he felt as if his body was floating whilst being pricked by thousands of needles, numbness slowly taking over his thoughts. He wanted to scream- yet his body didn't obey him, and undiscernible whispers surrounded his ears. It was like a trance state where he was aware of his body through the numb sensations. As time passed, Darren slowly stopped resisting- the whispers now becoming clearer and clearer to him.
"Be careful what you wish for.", a voice whispered. He then felt a sudden squeeze on his lungs and he desperately tried to breathe- but his body rebelled against his command again. Like a desperate swimmer stuck under the waters, he tried and tried to force his body to move- and a cold sensation grew colder and colder inside his stomach.
A kid jerked awake, his muscles tense as he desperately gasped for air.
His vision was blurry, but everything seemed clearer after several seconds of hyperventilating. He found his lower body encased with a warm white blanket and his feet facing the foothold of the bed.
He forced himself to take slow breaths, calming him down a little bit- with the cold feeling from within his stomach slowly fading away. The kid removed the blankets, revealing his thin legs having an almond skin tone and without leg hair.
"Where am I-"
The kid noticed his higher pitch and he grabbed his neck, noticing that it was smaller than he expected it to be- and he stood up and away from the bed- with the foothold reaching up to his waist. Somehow, he wasn't the same as… before?
His mind seemed foggy at the moment and he seemed to be bothered by his body. It felt… off yet he doesn't know why- but there was one thing he knew he must do-
The kid walked further away from the bed and into some empty space- his feet feeling the soft surface of the dark wooden floor.
"Toprock!", the kid shouted in his mind. He tried to do basic Toprocking steps- but… each time he tries to distribute his weight- his other leg stutters, delaying the movement as well as forcing most of the weight to the other leg.
"No… way!", the kid shouted in disappointment. His weight distribution was off- the foot placement didn't seem to match up as well to what his body told was right, and he was flatfooted.
"…How about footwork!?", the kid asked himself. He then got on all-fours- standing on his hands and toes. He tried to change his grip on the floor with him trying to stand on his three inner knuckles- the pinky, ring, and middle inner knuckles with his thumb down for support but… his thumb hurt, with him clearly lacking the flexibility on his hands and his wrists shook, lacking the stability to hold him up. Knowing this, he was forced to stand with his palms and toes.
"…The footwork is wrong too- freezes!"
The kid then stood on his knees and rested his butt onto his feet with him folding his arms in front of him, left wrist twisting counterclockwise and right wrist twisting clockwise, both into 90 degrees, fingers facing away from other. He then moved his elbows inward, just below his ribs as he hunched his back a bit- before leaning forward, placing his hand and head down- his stomach and ribs resting on top of his arm and elbows. He then tried to lift his feet up- but his arm and core shook, forcing him to place his feet back down. Once again, he lacked the strength required for "freezes".
"No way… so B-boying is once again stolen from me…", the kid thought as he sat onto his butt. A sudden thought came into his mind and from that thought- more and more thoughts came. He remembered the very first move you need to learn when starting B-boying, the "Groove". In his mind, he knew all the name of the moves as well as their accurate depictions.
"No- it wasn't taken from me… It's still there- and it's just waiting for me to learn them!"
The thought lifted up his spirits, a wave of determination motivating him to start working on getting back to where he was at.
"…What were you doing?", another kid asked.
The kid on the floor looked up to see another kid having a lighter skin tone and black hair that flowed down to his forehead, some of it covering his right eye… but that was probably for the best. The kid closed the book he was reading, his blue eyes having narrow pupils like an eagle, staring through the other kid's soul.
Hi guys! I'm back from the break- and I wanted to tweak the story a lil' bit. I'm working on adding a more mature feel and pacing on it! I hope you guys enjoy this!
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.