The music is Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Clad in a purple tutu and pink tank top,
my seven year old friend dances with abandon.

She is uninterested in and oblivious to
what boys think of her.
She just wants to be moving.
She just wants to make people laugh.
She just wants to eat more freshly baked
chocolate chip cookies
and put the silver star on the top of the tree.

She is utterly uninterested in anything that does not give her immediate pleasure.

She shows me all of the ornaments
that she has made, commenting
enthusiastically that the brown stars
smell like cinnamon.

One by one,
she unearths her personal archeology
of Christmas, athletically pirouetting
as her mother strings the lights on the tree.

Without warning, she starts counting
very loudly (mostly) in Spanish,
accentuating each number with
choreographed sculptures of her strong arms:

“Uno, dos, tres, quatro, DONUT!
Uno, dos, tres, quatro, DONUT!”

All three of us are laughing in the glow
of the Christmas tree and its newly hung
white lights that alternate in their illumination.

In this moment,
my seven year old friend,
the ballerina,
is my hero.

She reminds me of what I have lost.
And what I can still regain
this season.