Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Patrice Garrett
She swaddled her ankles in soft pink wool, pink as the tights that clung to her still slim legs. She wasn't tall but she'd been told that her legs were amazingly long - a comment she'd always cherished. It made her feel special and powerful. Gave her a leg up, as it were. She grinned.
The dressing room was shabby. It had always been so. She peered into the aged floor- to-ceiling mirror. Even with its myriad stains and distortions she could see that her black leotard rested like a second skin against her still boyish hips and small breasts. She was grateful for the garment's long forgiving sleeves. After all, line was everything in this particular world. Squaring her shoulders she turned and walked down the hall toward the palace of her passion.
A familiar anxiety fluttered in her belly as she stepped into the cavernous room. Gloved in the thinnest of leathers, her slender feet, pressed into the floor boards unconsciously feeling for its spring, and the nicks and grooves, polished to a warm glow by the gliding and leaping of a thousand eager feet.
Drawing a deep breath she looked up and surveyed the sunlit space. Dust motes drifted and danced to unheard tunes in the sun-spattered air. Two-dozen young and limber pairs of arms and legs stretched and reached, pulled and pushed, testing their limits. Twenty-four pairs of eyes suddenly alert, like Amazon warriors aware of possible challenge, stared, unforgiving—assessing her—tracking her movement as she crossed the large space. Head held high, she chose her place at the barre.
Even as she began the process of flexing and bending, gently rediscovering her body, she too watched, peering at the others from under hooded lids. She was glad, she realized, not to be as they were, so young and lovely, and driven. She had been like them once. Before life and injury had humbled her, flinging a rockslide in her chosen path.
A small, secret smile flitted across her face and she turned her attention inward to focus on her most cherished dream, one she cosseted for decades. She truly would be no competition, nor had she the desire to compete. She was ready to pursue the fantasy that had thrived, alive and well in her heart for more than 40 years—ballerina, or as close as she could get.
That she was me.
Patrice Garrett is a published writer, rider of horses, and PR professional currently enjoying life in Sonoma County, California. In addition to herPR writing, she writes short stories, memoir pieces, and has a novel underway.
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