Gail Bohle

Through a child’s voice …  

I plié and stretch my legs and then bend them as far down as they’ll go.  My back is as straight as a ramrod.  My eyes follow my arm up and out, my arm is soft and my fingers follow.  Butterflies dance in my tummy and I feel excited. Dee’s scream takes me by surprise.  “That’s not good enough!  Don’t you listen to me, Gigi?”

Her scowl eats into my heart and I freeze in fear.  I cannot meet her eyes.  I look down and hope she’ll stop shouting soon.  I wish I had an invisible cloak.  She steps up right in front of me and glares at my forehead.  “Why don’t you ever listen to me?” she yells.  I do.  I’m trying.  No words leave my lips.  I don’t know where to look.  Dee puffs herself up and a new expression comes onto her face.  An even scarier one.  “Well!  Okay then.  If you choose to ignore me, I’ll ignore you!  You are not in my class. I can’t see you. You simply don’t exist!”  My heart breaks and I think I ‘m going to be sick. I don’t look up. The pianist begins to play again.  I listen to Dee’s commands.  I do try, as hard as I can.
I do my very best to perfect all my movements. She doesn’t see me.

… Week after week, she will not look at me.  I am dead to her.  I will her to notice me…but she doesn’t.  It’s no use.  Whether I dance perfectly or terribly, she will not look at me.  I fall into silence.  I am broken, destroyed.  Life seeps out of my spirit.  And yet, I dance, as it is the only thing I live for.

As the sun sets, I am enjoying my glass of red wine out on the rocks.  The warm feeling sends a tingle up my legs and bottom.  I sigh deeply and lift my face to enjoy the last rays of the sun.  As the chill sets in, I wrap my mohair jersey around my shoulders and wiggle my toes a little.  Dee’s faded voice enters my consciousness and my tummy still does a little somersault.  I take a sip of wine and wonder why she turned on me like that?  Did I remind her of someone?  Herself perhaps?

What would have made her turn on a timid, unconfident little girl who had just lost her Daddy and who lived for her ballet?

Would I have stopped dancing anyway?

The gentle waves lap against the rocks and I turn my attention to the sound.  My nostrils fill with the salty smell of the sea and I am comforted.  Colours melt into one another and I turn my thoughts to the beauty around me.

The sky darkens slowly and a chill descends.  One last sip of wine.  I’ll turn in as soon as I find Pumpkin.  He appears and rubs his soft fur against my leg.  As I pick him up, his purr vibrates against my tummy and I squeeze him gently to me.  He settles into my back when I snuggle under the blankets and wriggle into a comfy position. Life is good and I am content tonight. As I drift off, I feel my feet and legs stretch into position and I rub my fingers across the satin ribbons of my pointe shoes.  I run into a leap. My tummy muscles tighten to keep me up there for a second longer, before I land gently on the wooden floor of the city hall stage…


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