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The Street Dancer

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The rain served as a calming grey backdrop and the sidewalk was a stage of tiny grey roses. It would have been a nice day, despite the rain and other inconveniences, but I watched the girl bend and stretch into a crazystraw-like pose. The only music we had were the complaints of impatient automobiles and a beat that could only be laid out by Nature’s weeping. Or Lars Ulrich. Occasionally, a lightning strike would divert eyes, but the other people waited at the bus stop, watching in their peripheral vision. This sad soaked street dancer reminded me of a time when life was improvisational, ignoring unheard curses and hidden sneers from marching pedestrians.

How I desired a conversation with the performer. White cords whispered tunes in her ears, so I figured she wouldn’t hear if I called. Useless. Rain descended harder upon us and I debated on summoning a taxi, but the wiggling seductress caught my attention with a breathtaking decrescendo. And stopped. She wrapped the headphones around the red iPod, tucked it away. My nerves collided in perfect harmony with my quickening heartbeat when I decided to signal to her before she acquainted me with her back. Slowly, achingly, our eyes met and she turned away kicking up puddles with every step. It was then that I made a pact. Let me see her just once. Exchange ideas over coffee… Take anybody. Janet, Larry. They won’t notice if we drift apart. You’ve never given me a real friend. please please please.

The bus pulled up

Mothers on cell phones, kids chewing gum and all wet face crowded the flimsy doors, boarding two-by-two. I stood by, gazing down the sidewalk, and boarded last. The bus driver closed the doors, finalizing my departure and the cityscape was a melancholy Lego city of my early years. Making all the generic noises that a city bus could, the creature rolled forward and made its way to my destination. I peered out the blurred window with raindrops meandering down before my eyes. This is what I saw:

liquor store. church. liquor store. pawn shop.

liquor store. church. liquor store. check cash.
Until I was staring through the glass at Providence Hospital, where Jayne was born. It was also rainy that day, six years ago. I was called to the attendance office at school, ready to be picked up and taken to see my new baby sister. She looked ordinary, wrinkled, and crimson coloured. As the last of the passengers exited the moist bus, I glimpsed the bright orange lights of an ambulance pull into the driveway labeled “Emergency Room”.

“WAIT!” I shot out of my seat and bolted toward the bus driver, stepping on toes and elbowing passengers. Something was wrong. In the downpour I blindly maneuvered away from the bus and into the chilly hospital. The stretcher turned a corner slowly and I lost sight of it. “Ma’am, ma’am,” a nurse blockaded my path and gave me a stern look. Without prior warning I shoved her aside and ran through the halls. Left, Left. Right. Almost there… The stretcher was going too slow.

My mom turned around, not wanting to part her eyes from the damp stretcher. Her lips were like levees that were on the brink of bursting, ready to reveal some horrible truth. I was sure that the EMT blocking my view was doing so for a reason. “What?” I couldn’t breathe. The word came out in a short exhalation. Arms from all sides gripped my fragile body, and daggers seemed to be piercing my throat. I closed my eyes and when I opened them I saw the street dancer.

It was then that I noticed her blatant hideousness. She rocked back and forth in the waiting room like a gremlin, murmuring to herself and crying every so often. Looking at the empty air ahead of her, she shook, this time to no rhythm, no beat, no rain. She saw the inquisitive look on my face and said this: “I didn’t see her; I didn’t see the little girl. Don’t parents keep their kids out of the streets nowadays?” The stale clothes clung to her body like bad karma and I could taste hatred in my throat.



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