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The Gymnast in Waiting

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects including education and creative writing.

Photo of Oliver Strümpfel who broke a beer carrying record in 2014 in Bavaria, Germany

Photo of Oliver Strümpfel who broke a beer carrying record in 2014 in Bavaria, Germany

“Waiter! Where’s my order!” The cigar-chomping behemoth shouted.

“Coming!” Felipe yelled.

The pint-sized waiter meandered his way through a busy restaurant while balancing a big tray of drinks above his head with one firm hand. With his agile skills and grace, he made it to the behemoth’s table with the greatest of ease.

Felipe would have given himself a “10” for that move. Anyone who knew anything about gymnastics would have done so. But nobody paid attention -- as usual.

“It’s been fifteen minutes!” the behemoth roared. “Get me more beer!”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He should have been a champion by now

“Yes, right away,” Felipe said.

He emptied his tray and went for more.

Days like these made him yearn for his first passion in life. He wished to be on the mat one more time to compete for the gold. Competing to serve a loud jerk would never come close to that feeling.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He should have been a champion by now. Years ago, Felipe was the greatest gymnast anyone had ever seen. He was on his way to the biggest stage on earth – the Olympics. However, money got in the way. So did a few nasty injuries. Suddenly, that small window he had to display his talent and passion slammed shut. Soon his name faded, as well as his reputation as a great gymnast.

He tripped over the chair and the man. Yet, somewhere in the middle of the air, instinct took over. He somersaulted, landing on his feet. The bottles and mugs on the other hand flew high and were about to rain down on patrons.

His time to reminisce waned. The customer’s need for that golden brew was too strong to ignore. He fetched a new round and, once again, traversed his way through the crowded dining room with his precarious beer bottles and mugs held high above him. He dodged a chair, a baby throwing pasta, and a lady hurrying to the bathroom. He was almost there, but the very cigar-chomping behemoth -- that was becoming the bane of Felipe’s night -- decided at the last minute to push his chair back into his path.

He tripped over the chair and the man. Yet, somewhere in the middle of the air, instinct took over. He somersaulted, landing on his feet. The bottles and mugs on the other hand flew high and were about to rain down on patrons.

Within seconds, Felipe reacted, contorting, twisting, and even flipping to catch each one.

All was well. Felipe averted a disaster. However, the place was stone quiet. He scanned the room to see looks of exasperation and surprise plastered on their face.

 He dodged a chair, a baby throwing pasta, and a lady hurrying to the bathroom.  Originally posted at www.budgetneon.com

He dodged a chair, a baby throwing pasta, and a lady hurrying to the bathroom. Originally posted at www.budgetneon.com

That awkward moment subsided.

“Oh yeah, that’ was awesome!” somebody in the crowd yelled.

“That’s my hero!” another yelled, this time clapping. “He saved my beer!”

The adulation spread through the crowd. The place reverberated with cheers and whoops as well as a lot of clapping. Moments later, those who were seated were on their feet giving Felipe something he hadn’t had in years – a standing ovation for a job well done.

“I hit a perfect 10,” he murmured as a triumphant smile crossed his face. And, for the first time in a long time he had gone for the gold.

“I hit a perfect 10,” he murmured as a triumphant smile crossed his face. And, for the first time in a long time he had gone for the gold.

“I hit a perfect 10,” he murmured as a triumphant smile crossed his face. And, for the first time in a long time he had gone for the gold.

Comments

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 30, 2018:

One never knows when one's skills will be called for and recognition comes. Many days, we just plod on.