Broken Ballerina

December 6, 2007
The theatre’s lights dimmed, the curtains opened, and the ballerinas entered the stage to begin the performance. As Katie watched the perfection of the steps, her excitement was demolished by an ambush of memories she had long ago pushed away in hopes that they would crumble. The memories that she thought were locked away in her heart forever rekindled a raging fire that had the potential of destroying her.

Katie became a statuette illuminated by only the candlelight. Her eyes, though they remained unblinking and aged with wrinkles, saw only a haze which then developed into an artificial darkness created by her own overwhelmed thoughts. Almost instantly, emptiness rushed into her as though her soul was being pried out of her bruised hands, and she was forced to embark on an unwanted journey down memory lane.

Katie got dressed and ran into the bathroom to fix her hair. She was late to dance and so she tried to hasten her speed. This only made it exceedingly difficult since her fingers were shaking and the pins wouldn’t cooperate. She finally made her hair into a quickly braided bun, which was of course mandatory in her case. Her excuse was that she found it difficult to devote her attention to the dance when strands of unwanted hair were slapping her face.

Mia was waiting impatiently in Katie’s room detesting the fact that, once again, the clock worked against her favor. Mia was also an excellent dancer, but seeing as Katie had danced longer than her, Mia still didn’t meet Kate’s level of expertise. Katie’s techniques in dance were more advanced so she was a better artiste than Mia. All the same, Mia had neither been envious of Katie nor committed any acts of malice. She acknowledged the amount of difficult hours Katie had practiced to get to the level she was at that day.

“Come on Katie, hurry up! Eva’s going to have a cow,” cried out Mia from the bedroom.

“Alright I’m coming!”

Katie violently grabbed her dance bag as the two headed out of the house and called for a cab. It had been crucial for dancers not miss any classes for the next several weeks because they had an important performance of Swan Lake coming up. Katie was taking the major role as both Odette and Odile. That being the most important role in the play, Katie had a responsibility of always being punctual. Today, she would surely receive a lecture from her dance instructor, Madame Eva.

Katie and Mia reached their dance place and braced themselves before going inside. As they entered, they saw their dance group performing a number from the ballet. Eva had been correcting a girl named Mariam when she saw the two enter. She supposedly excused herself from her student and rushed over to Katie and Mia as they began to put on their ballet slippers.

“You two are late,” she bellowed with a very distinct Russian accent, “Do you know ‘ow much I ‘ave ‘ad to delay the routine for your absence? We ‘ave not been able to practice any part consisting of neither Odette nor Odile. I sure ‘ope you will not do this on the day of the performance! You both know better than to be late at such a decisive time. We are very near the day of the concert and I want everything to be perfect. A dance performance ‘as to awe the viewers and in order to do that we all must practice until our feet bleed. Even then we continue to practice. I am disappointed in you both for letting your dance members down, but I am sure you have a perfectly good explanation for your absence. Sadly, I am a busy woman and cannot hear your time-consuming fairytales. ‘Urry up Katie and stretch because we must practice your role with Brian, as Prince Siegfried. Mia, once you’re done stretching, go immediately to Mariam’s group and practice the scene with the swans from Act IV.” Eva said all this with such urgency that the two friends were struck with disclosure as they tried to keep up with her words.

Katie joined Brian as Mia walked off to the other dancers performing as swans. Brian was Katie’s boyfriend of several years. Katie had met him when they were eight years old at that very ballet studio. He was very tall and had untidy, light brown hair. His eyes were warm and brushed with the color hazel. Brian had a strong looking body that most girls adored, but Katie never saw him for his good looks. He had always understood her and he was easy to talk to. She had helped him overcome his problem with drinking during his teenage years while he had always been there to protect and assist her when she felt most lonely and vulnerable. Even though he was a rebel at times, the two were flawless for each other.

“Hey beautiful, where’ve you been,” Brian asked in a hushed tone as they approached each other. Brian had clearly been tortured by Eva. His black shirt had wet sweat lines across the abdominals and down his spine. His face was covered with perspiration that increased with every unsteady breath and the towel that should have been drying him was only making it worse.

“I had to run some errands,” Katie said as Brian kissed her cheek.

“Well then don’t keep me waiting next time. I missed you and was worried about you,” He said with a smile on his face.

“Was that really the reason or were you worried that Eva would work you into a heart attack if I didn’t show up soon,” she smiled, knowing Brian all too well.

“Are you ready,” he laughed leading her to the dance floor.

“When am I not,” she whispered just as the music turned on.

As the couple performed, the world grew silent and all eyes turned to them. It was as if angels looked upon the two as they moved gracefully along the surface. They shined like sparkling jewels among all that analyzed their swift movements. No person knew that all that mattered in the essence of the two were each other. Their passion towards dancing was immense and their infatuation towards one another was equally great. When those two feelings were combined, they formed a binding sensation that caused the two to perform as if they were truly in the seventh heaven. Their bodies moved melodiously with one another, breathing with the pattern of the music. They became on person with one heartbeat on the dance floor. They became invincible.

Eva admired the two as they danced and ignored the fact that everyone had left their assigned positions to watch performance. As the music and their movement came to an end, the room filled with applause and exclaims of admiration. Katie and Brian hadn’t noticed that they had an audience apart from Eva. They had been in their own beautiful world as they danced with one another. Brian took Katie into his arms and spun her around the room as he hugged her.

“You were perfect.” whispered Brian into Katie’s ear.

The clapping wore down after what seemed like hours, but Madame Eva remained applauding. “You were both magnificent. I am so proud! Katie, that was so beautiful. You weren’t made for this role. It was clearly made for you!” Katie felt her lips part, but instead of words, her cheeks instantly turned the color of roses. Madame Eva continued, “As for you, Brian, you first came into this studio when you were eight. Your mother was confident that you would never dance, but she still brought you so you would stay out of trouble. In all my years of teaching I ‘ave never seen such a student reach the level you are at now. Your mother would ‘ave been so proud of you.”

Katie saw a tear roll down Madam Eva’s cheek. She had always known that Eva was overly emotional when it came to dancing, but she also knew that Eva had never approved of Brian. To hear her say these things about him made Katie realize that Madam Eva had never disliked Brian. It was now clear to Katie that she had always pushed Brian because she knew he had the potential to be a great dancer.

“For crying out loud Madame Eva, I didn’t know you felt that way about me,” Brian laughed as he embraced his teacher in a rather large hug which apparently was very foreign to her.

“Don’t get used to it. You still ‘ave ‘ard practices ahead of you. I don’t want you slacking off or I’ll take you out of this performance! That goes for everyone! Now, let’s get back to work,” said Madam Eva as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. Just as Katie was about to turn away, Eva smiled and gave her a faint wink.

After practice, Brian decided to take Katie out for a victory dinner. “Do you want to walk or take a cab,” he asked her.

“Walk,” Katie replied as she looked into the eyes of the person she knew she loved and wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

Brian put his arm around Katie and they both began to stroll down the street. After several minutes he turned to Katie and said, “I wish this would never end so I would never have to be away from you. I love you so much.”

Brian had always been a punk. Everyone, and occasionally Katie, thought of him as a rebel. Seeing him expressing his true emotions, came as a shock to Katie. She knew that she was the first and only person he would ever reveal his emotions to and she cherished that. “I love you too,” Katie said a little chocked up.

Brian stopped walking and took Katie into his arms. He placed a gentle kiss on Katie’s lips, paralyzing her. The moment that the two shared should have lasted for eternity, but fate had its own plans.

Several seconds later, Katie was illuminated by a vast quantity of light approaching faster from behind. Brian stopped kissing her. Everything happened so fast, Katie never realized the pain in Brian’s tone of voice when he yelled “NO!” He pulled Katie into his huge grasp and turned her away from the approaching light. As he pushed her away, Katie felt great pressure throw her down onto the concrete. The moment was gone. When Katie finally opened her eyes, she saw a silhouette of someone standing above her, a blur of people, and flashing lights.

“She’s alright!” Katie barely heard someone yell from a distance.

Katie closed her eyes as though in a reverie, but as her memories repaired themselves, her heavy eyelids abruptly shot open. “Where’s Brian,” she asked, confused. No one seemed to take any notice. “Where is Brian,” she repeated sternly after no one answered her.

“Miss, please calm down this is not a good time to get angry,” said a man who sounded like the same one who had spoken previously.

“Please take me to Brian! I have to see him,” cried Katie with tears forming in her eyes. She sat up on the stretcher looking impatiently at the worried man.

He helped her into a comfortable seating position. “I know this will come as a shock and I’m terribly sorry to have to be the one to tell you this,” he sighed. Seeing her pained expression, he hesitated to continue, “The young man that you were with gave his life to save yours.”

“You're mistaken,” bellowed Katie as she felt streams of tears dance down her rosy cheeks. “Please take me to him right now! I have to see him! I have to see Brian.”

“The drunk driver is now under custody. I’m afraid there is nothing more I can do.”

It was as though Katie’s world was caught in the battle of Armageddon. All hope had left her. All that she lived for was disintegrating and falling with her into oblivion. Her soul had betrayed her and left her walk the earth alone. Her eyes shut and her heavy head shook violently as she tried to ignore the present; as she tried to isolate herself from the treachery that waited for her when she opened her eyes; as she tried to survive.

“I’m terribly sorry for your loss,” the man sighed.

“I,” she whispered as her own choking voice delayed her inevitable words. “I don’t believe it,” she finally admitted with an undefeated cry for help. “This isn’t real to me! You’re all lying to me!” Thick streams of tears washed her beautiful face as the beast inside of her beat the drum that kept her alive.
“You must have been very special to him.” He handed Katie a small case that contained the one thing that would have made Katie the happiest girlfriend in New York. “We found it in his jacket pocket,” he mumbled as he slowly walked away from the catastrophically distraught girl now sitting alone in the ambulance truck.

Katie touched the outer lining of the case with her unsteady finger tips. The wrath of her broken heart corrupted her once perfect soul. Her fingers clutched around the case that concealed the stone that defined her obliterated future. Katie’s courageous defense mechanism abruptly collapsed under her feet. She plummeted down into her own shattered ruins. Her heart only beat to survive the battle against her own life. She no longer had a soul to help her overcome the heartache. Nothing prior to this moment had ever caused Katie pain so overpowering that it could drive the sanity out of her life.
The man failed to acknowledge that the moment Brian’s heart stopped beating and his soul left this earth, Katie’s soul died away also. She was now an empty shell left on this earth as a symbol of the love Brian and she had shared. Katie’s thoughts, like curtains, concealed the stage that she was on and divided her from the impatient world. Those curtains would never rise and the show would never go on. That night, Katie sacrificed her passion for dancing just as Brian had sacrificed his passion for living.

A voice called Katie’s name from a distance, pulling her away from an abyss. She did not recognize it at once. Several minutes passed with the same voice echoing in her ear until she finally listened to it. The solemn statuette awoke from her trance and immediately recognized the voice that had awakened her from the long forgotten memories. She was in a theatre watching Swan Lake with Demetrius.

Katie was wholeheartedly thankful that she was brought back from her deathlike state of being. She knew that, given a few more seconds, her body would have completely shriveled and her soul would have once again been lost inside a black shell of barrenness.

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