Falling Hopeful

Stepping off the bus, the beaming sun warms me. Leafy trees line the street, and flowers dance softly in the subtle wind. Scents of summer fill my body as people laugh around me.

***

Fifth position. Posé. Arabesque. Hold. Plié. Pirouette. Beads of sweat cascade down the side of my face and my aching muscles leave me feeling grateful for the reminder of my hard work.

***

Undoing my pointe shoes, blisters, raw skin and bruised toenails are revealed. Comparing battle scars with the girls who surround me, we look for the most destroyed pair. They speak with an accent but laugh the same as I do. My world is complete.

***

Stepping off the bus, the gushing cold livens me. Despite its cold intentions, I am filled with a warmth I have never felt before. Watching a snowflake dance around me, it gracefully lands its crescendo on the blanket of white at my feet.

***

Fifth position. Posé. Arabesque. Hold. Plié. Pirouette. Beads of sweat, cascade down the side of my face. The ache in my back is nagging, demanding to be felt. Class continues, and the dull ache transforms into a stabbing sensation.

***

Muscle examinations. Flexibility tests. X-rays. There is a fracture in your spine. My world goes numb, and my mind fogs up. A hand is rubbing my shoulder as the emptiness of my body shifts from side to side. My eyes glassy as silent tears rumble down my cheeks.

***

Stepping off the bus, the gushing cold weakens me. Sheets of falling snow thump down on the ground around me. Shuffling through the dense blanket of cold, each step creates a sharp jolt in my back. My arms are folded across my chest, creating a barricade against the crude weather.

***

Fifth position. Posé. Arabesque. Hold. Plié. Pirouette. The heater whirs behind the group. Despite its warm intentions, I am filled with a cold I have never felt before. The group has beads of sweat cascading down their faces. My entire body is shivering softly, apart from my lower back, which has a heat pack pressed firmly against it.

***

Elastic bands are tied around my ankle. My legs pulse mindlessly back and forth. A woman stands in front of me, asking me questions I do not know how to answer. The aching in my back leaves me feeling empty.

***

Stepping off the bus, the snow hits me before anything. My ears ring with the strength of the wind that roars around me. My insides rumble within me, but the heaviness I feel keeps me rooted to the ground.

***

I need to go home. The principal of my school reads me from across the desk. In her eyes, I can see the warmth ballet brought to me. I look into my lap, my nail-bitten fingers twisting around each other. When I look back into her eyes, all I see is a blizzard. Uncontrollable snow, and rhythmic roaring wind. Tears rumble down my cheeks. This time they are not silent.

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