Wooden Platforms This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 11, 2013
She's a dancer; it's evident by the veins in her feet, the bruises dressing her ankles and toes, black to green … disgusting blue. Her delicate frame sprawls across the bedspread lying on the floor and I ask, what do you dance?

Eyes like fire and brimstone, not in color but in appeal, stare back and she's sick. Her cheeks sink into the pale willows of her needlepoint face and her voice is faint but memorable. She answers with, “Does it matter what I dance as long as I move? As long as these withered legs do not turn to stone or wood? As long as there is emotion in this anemic body? As long as I believe I am living?”

She is the questioner now, and it is my job to reply. I whisper, “I suppose it does not matter, I was merely curious.”

“Is that what you called me here for?” she asks. Her eyes become green and yellow pools spilling with fear and sadness but most of all anger.

I answer with a question, “But what do you mean?”

Her toes curl and she rises from the floor only to stare hard, hard and deep into the leathery crevices of this old man's face. She groans, “Did you bring me here to be ­curious? I don't charge for curiosity, sir.”

“Maybe you should,” I reply. “Curiosity is a lot better than ideas sick men like I have in mind. Now tell me, what do you dance?”

She grins, and her smile is sadistic, like mine. Her eyes turn black, like mine, and her body becomes weak, like mine. “I'm a ballerina, sir,” she whispers, “but these bones do not seem to move any longer. These feet are nothing but wet and rotting wooden platforms. These hands can no longer draw lines or brush children. These eyes, sir, can no longer convey the emotion they once could, and it's made for bad business, and it's made for much worse.”

“How old are you, child?” I ask, and I realize the childlike innocence she had lost some time ago lingering deep in her throbbing feet. She wants to skip, she wants to leap, she wants to move, but she can't.

“I'm seventeen, sir. I'm not a child.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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MaybeImCrazyButIThinkILovedYou This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:33 am
I thought it was very, very, good.   By the way, to leave my idea, since you're leaving this up for interpretation, I was having the idea that this girl is a prostitute.   Right or wrong as I am, five stars!
ArielMiddleton This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm
Good interpretation! And thank you very much for the five stars. I was very self concious of this when I first wrote it but your compliment truly means a lot.
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