Friday, April 10, 2015

The Dancer

There's an image dancing inside my head. A music box dancer. She's in a white dress but something wrong: somethings not right about it.

There's an image of a little baby with a toothless grin and saggy diapers. Dancing to music before she can even walk. Just sort of bouncing and grinning and humming.

"She's very receptive to music," people would say.

Cassie's parents put her into dancing as soon as the instructor said she was old enough. The closest studio was a tap class. They loved to see her click in the tiny shoes.

"She'll lose interest in it soon." Said her father.

"Oh Cassie you don't want to go to dance class?" they would ask as a joke, and at first she would cry and pled. Later she would stand silently with her hair in her mouth until her parents laughed at said "Of course we're taking you to dance."

It only took a year before there were pictures of ballet dancers on her walls and in the computer. On Tuesdays when they would go to the dance store she would beg and cry for a pair of ballet shoes.

"Mama put my hair up in a bun?" She would ask before tap. She was the only dancer with a bun in tap class.

One day the instructor pulled Cassies parents aside when they came to pick her up.

"You're daughter is very talented, even at this young age, but she doesn't want to tap, she wants to do ballet. I think this would be very important to her."

"Is this true?" Her mother asked Cassie. And Cassie began to cry afraid, like when her parents told her they weren't going to take her to dance class at all.

"Thank you." Said her mother to the tap instructor and took her daughter out of tap class and they never came back.

The next week they drove across town to the ballet school and she began training for her life: For her life was dancing. As other kids played basket ball and soccer Cassie would insist she spend another evening at the studio.

After juggling the finances the basement was done over into a mini dance studio.

At her birthday, her parents asked her who she wants to invite to her party and she shakes her head, and says, "can we go see the touring ballet company instead of a party?" And so they would go.

"Don't you want to invite some friends to the ballet?" asked her father.

"I don't want them to be better than I am."

At age 16 local theatres and dance companies were asking her to be in shows.

Directors would knock on per parents door after lengthy telephone conversations. Cassie said the director, "I want you to dance as if you've lost your whole world..."

To everyone in the room the world had ended.

Another director would say "show me happy I want to see joy" And everyone would smile and stand up and clap when she was done.

By sixteen the 18 year old boy next door who played guitar and piano and sang was very interested in her. He would ask her out on dates and she would turn him down, there was no room for a man. They would have nothing in common.

"Cassie you will not go to the studio tonight." Said her mother as she locked the door to the basement, "you will call that boy and go out on a date with him,"

She called that boy and they went to a little coffee shop and drank tea and she had a banana while he had a muffin dripping with butter. She actually laughed once during the conversation.

"what are you doing next Friday."

"Dancing" she said

But the next Friday her mother locked the studio on her and she and the boy went bowling and this went on for two years, every Friday night the studio was locked out, and they went to a coffee shop or bowling or for a walk.

One day she kissed him and laughed a little. He told her that so many woman wanted to date him, but he loved being with her and she's the only one he wanted to be with. She liked that he wanted to be with her.

Then he asked to marry her and she said no. She liked saying no, having control over more then just dancing.

There was a meeting between Cassies parents and that boys parent.

They agreed "this was no world to live alone in and they were made for each other and there had to be a way for them to be together."

Pick put a beautiful white dress for a wonderful marriage, a wonderful production. Said her mother "You trust me right?"

Cassie picked out the dress but she threatened "I will destroy it, to roll in the mud to cut it with scissors."

A week before the wedding they started to feed her "the pill" told her it was dr's orders.

She refused at first and told her it would be the only way she could keep dancing once she was married. "You trust me right?" Said her mother.

And every day for week she took the pill and she kept dancing Her wedding came along fast. The dress arrived in a car at the church while she arrived in a limo, no make up because of the tears and screaming.

She got the dress on and her mother said :he's a very nice man you'll love him"

Mother reached out her arms and she cried and cried. And for the first time in two years she thought maybe all of this was the wrong decision.

Cassie 'I'm sorry" she said "it's too late to back down now do you trust your mother?"

"No mother no," she said "I hate you I hate this."

Her baby sister sat on the floor colouring her pictures with crayons and began to cry.

Her mother frustrated left for a moment to get some fresh air. When she came back Cassies dress was all the colours of the 64 package of crayons.

"I guess the dress is ruined." She said

"Oh Cassie think of this as a production on the way to life, this is as marvellous as a dance."

They walked down the isle her father leading her. It was a quick wedding with a quick and emotional "I do" as everyone was watching her.

"Did I do good mama?" She whispered as they walked down the isle.

Then her and her husband went to some place fucking warm for a week.

In the morning, after sleeping on the plane, they had breakfast at the restaurant. She took the coffee with her and hoped the room was large enough to dance in.

That boy began to undo her dress and leaned in to kiss her and she threw the coffee at him. She locked her self in the bedroom and didn't come out all day, she just cried and cried.

He started to unpack their things which included all her personal belongings. He found a piece of music a pop song he had brought his guitar and began to play the song and sing it.

She came out to listen, still in her wedding dress of 64 colours, and sat on the floor and listened

"I love they way you play that, I've never heard it played like that before."

"Will you dance to it?" Asked Conner.

He played it again and she danced to it : she danced and then she took his hand and taught him to partner with her and he sang the song, in tune while they danced together

"Then she let him unzip her dress."


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