Are you a creative writer? Then send me your contortion story. It could be:
- Made up
- Real experiences
- Unreal or abnormal
IMPORTANT! The story must have a flexibility and contortion theme. Your story can be written in German, English or French. It should contain more than 1000 words. Each new story will be rewarded with a free (month’s) membership to Zlata.de
Your story will be entered into this year's story competition.
The prize will be: annual membership to Zlata.de and the new Zlata calendar.
Melissa and the Cheerleaders
Melissa grew tired. Her biggest frustration was her lack of progress...
She decided a few weeks earlier that she wanted to be a cheerleader and had taken to the task of making the squad. She didn’t know gymnastics, she wasn’t a dancer, and she wasn’t really all that coordinated. But what she did know was that this was perhaps her one chance to impress Ronan, a freshman football player at her school. He was a tall boy with an athletic build, short air, and was completely superficial. Melissa would only discover this later on, but for now, he seemed to be a great guy.
How Melissa fell for Ronan was neither extravagant, nor a romantic tale. He just sat in behind her in maths, politely greeted her a few times, and she just fell for him. They would have brief conversations before class, sometimes in the hallways, but she never could talk to him for any extended period of time. He was never alone and that was the problem. He was always surrounded by girls, and more specifically, by cheerleaders.
Ronan was the star player on the team, and would probably be captain in his senior year. He was always getting attention from the cheerleaders and he loved it. It was all too easy for him; they would come to him, always in groups. He never had to make the first move, which is why Melissa realized that she had to do something to grab his attention, do something that would make her standout from the other girls.
The cheerleaders were all pretty, they wore make up, spent extra time in the sun to get that perfect tan colour, and clearly worked out a lot. They would tease the girls who didn’t look like them, and they would always make it obvious to the other girls how they felt about them. Ronan was oblivious, all he cared about was the attention he got from the cheerleaders, which made it impossible for him to notice Melissa.
Melissa decided that she would join the cheerleading squad, perhaps then Ronan would notice her. This was a difficult task, since she wasn’t particularly athletic or sportive. She was good at math, and painting. She loved reading and definitely had to go out of her comfort zone to achieve her goals.
To make the squad, she would need help. She hinted to Ronan that she was thinking about joining the cheer squad. He just laughed. This just made her more determined. But she had to start somewhere. She asked around school for anyone to help her, but since she didn’t look like a cheerleader, no one took her seriously. At least she knew how to use the internet.
At home, she went on the internet and just searched “cheerleading” and “advice”. Thousands of pages came up, not really helping her at all. Although, she did learn how to tie a bow in her hair so that it wouldn’t come lose during tumbling. Tumbling didn’t seem like something that she be able to learn on her own. But she also did notice that not all the cheerleaders needed to tumble, so she could do something else on the cheer team. There seemed to be a few different types of cheerleaders, those who stand at the bottom, and support the other girls during pyramid formations, and then the girls who stood on their shoulders. She could be a base, but she wasn’t strong enough. She could be a flyer, she was petite enough so that they could throw her into the air, but she wasn’t flexible enough for those standing poses.
She figured her best chance of making the squad was by impressing the team with her abilities as a flyer. To do that, she would have to work on three things: her balance, her flexibility, and her smile. All the cheerleaders seemed to have this forced smile on their faces, but Melissa figured, that if she could do a scorpion pose, perhaps Ronan would notice her, and then she wouldn’t need to force a smile. Perhaps then she would be happy.
But first, she would have to work on her flexibility. She did a little gymnastics as a kid, but not long enough to have any lasting effect. She did remember some of the stretches they used to do to warm up. She started out by stretching her hamstring, putting her foot on the table. She immediately felt tightness in her leg. She tried leaning into the stretch, but couldn’t move any closer to her foot. Next, she stretched her quad and pretty much had the same effect. She tried touching her toes, and could barely get past her knees. She tried the splits and wasn’t nearly close enough to call it a split. She tried the scorpion, and could barely hold her balance, her leg didn’t go high at all, in fact, it barely even resembled a scorpion.
She stretched for a week, everyday, for a few hours. She would go to bed later at night, just to get in a few more hours of stretching. After a week had passed, she could touch her toes with straight legs. She was happy about her progress, but it wasn’t fast enough. She tried a yoga class, which was fun. She tried that for a week, but also, not nearly enough progress to be able to do a scorpion for cheer tryouts, her one chance to join the cheer squad. She was getting frustrated about her lack of flexibility, her lack of improvement and started to lose grow despondent. She really needed help.
She found a flexibility instructor online. Her name was Olga, she ran a studio from her home. Melissa contacted her, and asked if she could help her. Olga was very kind, and assured Melissa that she would help her. She did warn Melissa that her methods were unconventional, but at this point, Melissa was desperate enough to try anything.
Olga didn’t live far away, so Melissa didn’t have to travel that much. Olga wasn’t expensive, but perhaps Olga sensed Melissa’s desperation. She could help her, even if Olga didn’t know what Melissa’s level of flexibility was, she usually had success.
Olga’s studio was in the basement of her house. The brick walls were bare, with only a few chairs and mats scattered around. The room was dimly lit. She kept the room empty, no distractions, as she preferred having her students calm, focused, and not over stimulated by pictures, posters or mirrors.
“Are you going to train looking like that?” Olga asked Melissa, looking disapproving at Melissa’s attire. Melissa always just wore comfortable clothes, usually just shorts and a shirt when training, trying yoga, or stretching at home. It’s what they always wore during PE. Olga presented Melissa with a was a colourful, tight fitting costume. It was made of spandex, covered her arms, and her legs. It moved with her. It felt strange at first, but as Melissa got used to the tight fit, it became more comfortable. Melissa put on the costume in the change room in the corner of the studio.
“Now you look like a contortionist”, Olga exclaimed as Melissa appeared from the change room. “It suits you!”
They started out with some light stretches. It was the same that Melissa had been doing all along, the only difference was that they were holding the stretches longer, and systematically going deeper into the stretches. The suit made her muscles feel all warm, and that was also probably why she could stretch deeper into the poses than she had before. Olga was very gentle and patient; she clearly knew what she was doing. She spoke gently with Melissa, and encouraged her all the way. She never forced Melissa into positions her body wasn’t ready for. Melissa was enjoying this, she chatted with Olga about school, about Ronan, about wanting to be a cheerleader. Olga laughed, she knew well what it was like being a high school girl. Most of her students were high school girls, so Olga knew how to make them comfortable, relaxed, and more specifically, open to new experiences.
“You are very tense”, Olga said, stretching Melissa hamstring, feeling how tightly the muscle resisted. “You really need to stop worrying, and let all the tension go”. Olga had a thick Russian accent, it was definitely different to the neighbourhood, but it made Olga all the more endearing. “That’s about as far as my muscle will go, it seems”, Melissa replied.
“No! It is not your muscles that are holding you back, it is something different. Close your eyes and think of a peaceful place. Imagine the sound of the waves of the ocean, the ocean breeze on your face, the sand between your feet”. Olga had often used this relaxation technique. Olga kept on stretching the hamstring, straightening Melissa’s leg more and more, lifting it higher and higher. Melissa didn’t even notice; as she was too busy imagining the ocean, the sand and the wind. All the visualizations took her mind completely off her muscles, her restrictions, of how she had struggled to even perform the most basic of stretches on her own.
Melissa’s leg was stretched all the way to the ground, that her legs were 180 degrees apart. Melissa did the splits for the first time, and she didn’t even realise it.
“You can open your eyes”, Olga said, rather proud of how quickly Melissa has shown progress.
Melissa couldn’t believe it when she realized that her legs were in the splits. She was so excited, and for the first time she believed that she could make the cheer squad after all! They kept of stretching until the hour was up, alternating legs. Melissa asked Olga about the scorpion pose, and how difficult it would be to do that pose. Olga laughed again, “It’s really easy”. Olga kicked her leg backwards, caught it with her hands and pulled her leg towards her head with the back knee bent and her leg was in a perfect scorpion pose. She pulled her leg straight, and stood in a perfect splits pose, leaning back with her head pressing against the back of her leg.
“Wow”, Melissa exclaimed, “if I could do that, I would definitely make the cheer squad”.
“You really need to think bigger than that pose”, Olga said. “The only limits to what you can do, is the limits of your imagination”. Olga dropped her leg, and bent backwards into a bridge pose. She dropped onto her elbows, forming a circle with her body, her hands and her feet touching. She kept dropping her chest to the ground where she ended up in a cheststand. She raised her head and said, “The only thing holding you back, is your resistance to try something new”. Olga rolled out of the pose, “If you want, we can work on your scorpion pose”.
“No, I want to do that!”. This was the first time Melissa had seen anyone do anything like that. She had seen cheerleaders do the bridge pose, but nothing as tight as Olga had just demonstrated. Olga had just given Melissa a new stretching goal.
On the way to the door, Melissa asked Olga how she got this flexible. Olga gave Melissa the brief version of her story, which started with her career in the circus, and how it ended with an unfortunate back injury. Olga was a talented performer, and could probably still perform today.
“Why don’t you still perform?” Melissa asked.
“Those days are behind me, besides, I like seeing the expression on my students faces, just like yours when you realized you were in the splits”. They both smiled. Olga let Melissa keep the suit, knowing that she would be back. Melissa had trained with Olga a few times, and slowly started to learn new poses. She still couldn’t do a scorpion, but she her back flexibility was improving all the time.
About two weeks later, Melissa wore the colourful suit under her clothes to school. As her flexibility increased, so did her confidence too. She was more confident than she has ever been. This newfound self-belief gave her the confidence to talk to Ronan, even with all the cheerleaders around him.
That morning, she found Ronan at his locker packing away his bag. He was surrounded by the usual group of cheerleaders who always followed him around. They were laughing and joking around. Melissa walked right up to Ronan and joked about his new hairdo. He wasn’t used to this kind of attention, but it did make Melissa stand out from the other girls. He hadn’t really noticed her before, and only sat behind her so that he could copy her maths answers. She wasn’t his type either, he was always interested in tall blonde girls who wore short skirts, laughed at his jokes, and continually complimented him.
He teased her back, about how she could never be a cheerleaders and how she could never do what they do. He never saw her do anything athletic, and cheerleading for him was all about athletic girls, demonstrating how athletic they were.
“Ok”, Ronan said, “If you want to be a cheerleader, do something athletic, something that none of these cheerleaders can do, I’ll carry your lunch tray, and eat lunch with your for a whole week”. Melissa liked the sound of that. Ronan continued, “But if you can’t, then you have to do my math homework for a month!”
“Deal”, Melissa said without hesitating. She slid her left foot out in front of her and kept sliding down lower and lower to the ground. When she reached the ground, she sat perfectly flat with one leg in front of her and the other behind her, she was in the perfect frontsplits. Two of the blonde cheerleaders also dropped into the splits. “It takes more than doing the splits to be a cheerleader”, the one said. She stood up and did a perfect scorpion. “You’ll have to do better than that to win the bet”.
They clearly didn’t want Melissa to win the bet. Melissa knew this. “Fine”, she said, “but if I win this bet,” she said, looking at Ronan, “our lunches will be private, just the two of us”.
Ronan thought about this proposition. Ronan had to agree, he knew the splits were impressive, but a scorpion was only done by the most flexible cheerleaders. Even if she couldn’t win the bet, he would still get his maths homework done for an entire month. There was no way Melissa could do anything more flexible than that.
Melissa had to try something new, something she hadn’t tried with Olga’s supervision. Melissa bent backwards and lowered her hands to the ground. She dropped into a bridge.
“Oh, I can do that”, the one cheerleader said, “in fact, we all can do that!”
Melissa ignored her, and kept bending tighter and tighter till her elbows rested on the floor and her feet were in front of her face. She dropped her chest to the ground to lay there in a cheststand. She looked up at Ronan. “How about that?” she asked.
Ronan was speechless, in fact, they all were speechless.
Melissa smiled, but this wasn’t a fake cheerleader smile, this was a real smile. She did something that that those cheerleaders couldn’t do, she did something those cheerleader couldn’t even imagine doing. She had impressed Ronan, and proven to herself how her hard work and dedication paid off. But most importantly, she stayed calm, and relaxed, just like Olga had taught her. She didn’t let them bother her for one second, and managed to win the bet, easily.
Melissa had lunch with Ronan every day that week. It was just the two of them. They spoke about all the things he enjoyed, about his favourite movie, his favourite band. It was fun in the beginning, but Melissa later realized that this was all he could talk about. That he was stuck in his own little world. She didn’t even try out for the cheerleading squad. Why would she want to train with those girls, when she could train with her best friend, Olga, who had encouraged her to try for something bigger, who taught her that her limitations were only as far as the boundaries of her imagination. Olga had taught her that she could do more than she believed was possible. Apparently, you can fold even further in a cheststand, a little pose that Olga had called a triplefold, and Melissa wanted to learn how to do that pose too. By now, Melissa had believed that she could achieve that pose too, as long as she stayed relaxed, calm, and focused on the soothing sounds of the ocean waves, the sand beneath her feet, and the cool ocean breeze on her face...