Taylor took a deep breath and raised her arms above her head. She took a step and lowered her hands to the ground. The flip she made wasn’t perfect, but she put her left leg forward and twisted her body for the next move in her gymnastics routine. That’s when the pounding began to fill the air.
The sound of Billy’s drumming threw her off balance. Taylor’s legs slipped out from under her, and she sprawled on the grass in the backyard. Frowning, she looked up at the window to her younger brother’s room. The drumming came through loud and clear.
“Billy, stop making all that noise!” Taylor yelled. “I can’t get the rhythm right for my routine.”
The drumming stopped. Billy stuck his head out the window. “You call that a routine?” He began to tap on the windowsill with his drumsticks.
Taylor sighed and got up off the grass. “You know I’m planning to try out for the gymnastics team next week!”
Billy finished tapping out his tune. “I have to practice too.”
“That noise isn’t as important as my routine,” Taylor told him. “They only have tryouts once a year.”
“Then you’d better get back to practicing,” Billy said. He disappeared back into his room, and the drumming began again.
Taylor sighed and raised her arms. She tried a few more moves, but then gave up when the drumming became louder.
Later that day, Taylor passed by Billy’s room. He wasn’t there, but his drums stood in the middle of the room. The drumsticks he used to make all that noise were on top of the biggest drum.
Taylor walked into the room and picked up Billy’s drumsticks. What if she hid them, just until after the gymnastics tryouts? Would that really be so bad? She had asked Billy to stop, but he hadn’t. It was his fault she had to hide the drumsticks.
When Billy noticed his drumsticks were missing, he asked everyone in the family if they had seen them. When he asked Taylor she shook her head and went back to her routine. She could concentrate now, and her practice went better than before. But she still didn’t think she was good enough to make the team.
When she saw Billy the next day he looked sadder than ever. He kept searching for his drumsticks. Taylor felt so sorry for him she almost told him where she had hidden the drumsticks. Then she thought of all the noise he would make to get back at her for taking the sticks. She went outside to practice her routine.
The day before tryouts came. Taylor’s routine still seemed wrong; she couldn’t get the rhythm right. Billy’s sadness was bothering her too. Taylor knew she had done something wrong. She went and got the drumsticks and gave them to Billy.
“Thanks, Taylor!” Billy said, giving her a big hug. “Where in the world did you find them?”
Taylor sighed. “I didn’t find them. I hid them from you. I wanted it quiet so I could practice my routine.”
“You hid them? I’m going to tell Mom!” Billy cried. But then he noticed how sad Taylor was. “Why did you give them back?” he asked.
“You looked so sad,” Taylor said. “And taking them was wrong. I should have tried to get used to your drumming. Anyway, I can’t get my routine right. I can’t get into the rhythm of the moves. I might as well forget about trying out for the team.”
Billy sat down on the grass. “Why don’t you show me what your routine is like?”
Taylor wondered why he wanted to see it, but she nodded and raised her arms. She did a handstand, but immediately felt off balance. As she turned her body for her next move, she heard Billy tapping on the edge of the driveway. He tapped out a rhythm that seemed to mirror the moves she made.
Taylor felt her movements grow smoother. The tapping sound helped her get the rhythm of her routine right. She went through all her moves, did a final flip, and stood up straight with a smile on her face.
“You did it!” Billy said, giving a final series of taps with the drumsticks. “You looked great, Taylor.”
She gave Billy a hug. “I think I’ll do OK at the tryouts, as long as you promise to be there.”
Billy grinned. “I promise!”