Coach Dan’s Tale 1D

A knock on the window looking out to the gym — all five heads in the tiny room turned to see a teenaged girl in sweatpants and t-shirt, smiling and waving as she walked back from the glass, a long pony-tail bouncing behind her. Coach Dan and Gandy smiled, waved back.

“That’s that Hutchinson girl,” said the short-haired woman.

“Annie,” said Dan.

“You know her?” asked Gandy, pulling her sweater over her shoulders.

Dan nodded. “She’s on my fencing team, at the school.”

Gandy’s eyes opened wide, her jaw drooping as she stepped back and leaned forward, holding an arm out in Dan’s direction. “You’re — you’re Coach Dan! From the fencing team!”

Coach Dan shifted in his seat, metal chair under him groaning. “Had no idea — that running the fencing team made me such a celebrity.”

“My nephew fences,” said the man in the baseball cap. “Rex. Ankiel. My brother’s son.”

Coach Dan ‘s eyes widened. “Rex! Great kid, a real leader. Like Annie,” he said, turning again towards Gandy.

“She’s been taking classes at my gym since she was five.”

“Yes, she’s always talking about her gymnastics and dance training, how they gave her the foundational skills for fencing. Her balance, footwork — she’s an amazing athlete.”

“She still comes here, couple few times a week.”

“Just gymnastics, right?”

“Well, sometimes she has that — what do you call it?” Gandy asked, holding her right arm out and waving it in a circle.

“A foil? She uses a foil? HERE?”

“Oh not when there’s a class, I’ve told her that. But in between classes, when the gym’s empty — ”

“On the floor, right?”

“Mostly — ”

MOSTLY?”

Gandy cleared her throat, looked around at everyone else in the small room before resuming eye contact with Coach Dan and replying, “Well, sometimes she gets on that balance beam, and — ”

Coach Dan shot up from his seat, ran to the window. He saw Annie, standing on a balance beam. His shoulders relaxed, letting everyone know that she did not have a foil in her hand.

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