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…