Story #8: Dance
Asha extended her left leg and then tested her pointe shoe. It was pliable enough now that she’d warmed it a bit. She rose up en pointe, keeping her upper body perfectly balanced and still, then raised her arms, imagining they were feathery wings as she moved across the floor.
Careful, she reminded herself. It’s been months since you’ve done this.
Yes, her muscles were a little stiff, but she could still do a perfect jeté and relevé. And to feel her body moving again without the pinching soreness or the ache of healing fractures, oh…what freedom. She tested her battements, moving from adagio to allegro and then drifting to the floor in the most graceful of bows.
“That was beautiful.”
She raised her head enough to see Mia Wilkinson standing in the door. She applauded as Asha stood and curtsied for her. “Just wanted to test the old gams, see if they could still do it.”
“You’ve still got it,” she said. “And you’re still so tiny.”
“No, I’m not.” Asha walked over to her, a little self-conscious at being caught out dancing. It was so silly. Dancing was her life. It had always been. She reached for her wrap sweater. “At least it doesn’t hurt anymore.”
Asha shrugged on her sweater and then pressed the stop button on the stereo. She tied the stays on her sweater. The dance studio was chilly even with the old steam radiators hissing at full blast. She’d have to talk to Horace about it. The little girls she’d taught this morning were covered in goosebumps by the end of their ballet lesson.
“I still remember when you and I used to take lessons together with Madame Vivienne.” Mia grinned. “You were always so much better at it. Even then.”
“I practiced,” Asha reminded her old friend, “while you mooned over Owen Cudahy.”
“Well, yeah, you were in pursuit of dance, I was in pursuit of love.” Mia linked arms with Asha. “And now I’m in pursuit of lunch. Aunty Mo’s?”
Asha’s stomach growled in reply. She didn’t remember when she’d last eaten. Had she even had breakfast? “Aunty Mo’s—just like old times.”