It irritated Ivan immensely, but he did not know how to rectify it.
It first flashed into his frontal lobe the week before he turned eleven. Uncle Joe was on stage playing his accordion, with Mrs Rose on fiddle, and Brenton on shuffle drum. The next dance was the Pride of Erin, and Ivan had the steps down pat. He had memorised and perfected them in front of the full-length mirror in the laundry. His knees knocked as he hauled himself erect and turned in the direction of Roslyn Ellings. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jimmy heading in the same direction, a vision of confidence. Ivan gave up, rather than fall short.
That turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. He never got the hang of self-promotion, in the face of a known competition. He always gave up.
He turned, pulled his coat around him, and walked away.