The room is dimly lit. A couple of people rush past and I hear footsteps behind me. I hear whispers and finally Wendy says “Shhh”. Everyone falls silent. She calls my name and I turn, only my head, to the left where she stands in the wings. “Good luck” she whispers with her thumbs pointing up. I smile and turn my head back facing the deep red curtain before me.
I am standing on the hard, wooden floor, my feet firmly planted on the ground in first position. My toes pointed out, my arms softly out to the sides. I am wearing bright red satin ballet pointes and a white tutu with matching leotard, the top of it lined with silver diamantes. I wait.
I hear a clicking noise and suddenly the curtains in front of me begin to pull apart before my very eyes. The room is now completely dark. I cannot see a single thing in front of me. I may as well have been In a box with four walls and no windows. The only thing that is certain in the darkness, is the ground beneath my feet. But in my heart, I know what is coming and at the thought, it begins to thud. The feeling of butterflies enter my stomach, waiting in the silence.
Finally, a spotlight appears directly on me. My eyes have to adjust quickly to the bright light as it temporarily blinds me. I then hear the familiar intro to a melody that had been playing in my head all day. It had been playing every day for the past twenty or so weeks. In my sleep, during class, during my afternoon walks. But never had I concentrated on it so desperately than in this moment.
I begin with the very first plie and my arms would lift and fall delicately. Every movement I made was controlled and precise. As I pirouette, I count in my head; One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. Although I already knew this routine off by heart. Although I could likely do it with my eyes closed, I focus all my energy on getting these steps right for fear of slipping up.
Soon I hear Wendy’s soft voice in my head interrupt my deep concentration. Don’t worry Clauds, you’re doing great! The tempo of the music begins to rise and I find myself running up into the corner ready to jette downstage. It is my favourite step. A jette feels like flying. If I wished for any superpower, it would to be fly and this was the closest thing to it. The jette comes naturally to me and suddenly I am gliding across the stage as both legs leap off the ground. I smile at the landing and do three more. From there, the music seems to guide me through. My movements come more easily and felt lighter as if a great weight has finally been lifted off me.
I feel the gratification of every perfected step I perform fill my entire body. I feel the warm fuzzy feeling of butterflies again. It is as if time has stopped and the world has disappeared from around me. I am like a fairy flying in the night sky. I’ve never felt so happy.
The music slows down and I glide back into the centre of the stage. I feel my body slowly sink to the ground, my arms float down in front of me and I lay on my side. The music fades out and a loud round of applause erupts from what seems like nowhere. My heart flutters with happiness, the smile on my face fixed and hot tears begin to form in the corners of my eyes. I shut my eyes when the spotlight disappears and I am once again engulfed in darkness. The applause begins to fade into the distance as well.
But then I open my eyes and find myself under the sheets of my bed. I sit up and stare down at the patch of sun that spills out onto my bed. I turn my body and let my legs fall out to touch the ground, readying to stand up. I then catch sight of my wheelchair in front of me. My eyes begin to water once again.
It’s a dream I know all too well. I’ve had it hundreds of times. It’s “the” dream. And yes, it’s a sad dream but it’s also the happiest one because it almost feels like a memory. I remember what it was like to walk and to dance on my feet. And although I was never a ballet dancer as such, it’s still a memory I hold dear to my heart.
Have a lovely day! xx
Another well written and moving piece. Thanks Claudia