A short (one-shot?) that sort of played out in my head when I wrote the poem, Her Ballet Shoes.
Her Ballet Shoes
I am walking with my chunky camera thudding against my chest, like another heart, but on the outside. The streets are filled with people chattering aimlessly, like the droplets of water sent from the heavens that glide on our exposed skins. I look up and can see the gray sky beaming down upon me, now allowing its rain to fall a little harder, but just slightly. It's still a mist.
My friends, photographers like me, are doing what most guys do: hollering and having a good time here. Taking a look around, I notice a door ajar to an alley building. Informing my friends I'd be with them in a short while, I jog over to the alley, wanting a good look inside. Who knows? Perhaps there will be something worth the click.
Before I get the chance to step inside though, I spot a whisper of a sight, a glance of a noise. It's the sound of someone on stage in soft shoes, and the sound of beautiful piano music that rings through my ears in its lullaby-like tone. I step inside, closing the heavy door behind me, and am met with an empty, old, classic auditorium. The seats are velvet red but torn, the curtains are up but visibly dirty and bug-bitten, and the marble floor is dusty. Center stage, which is also marble floored, are two things: a black grand piano with no one playing at it yet still producing noise, and a girl dancing, her eyes closed, her steps surer than any scene I've ever taken a picture of.
She is perhaps ten, perhaps fourteen, but she is small, her graceful bun is blonde, her complexion is pale with a hint of rosiness. Yet there is something about her that is ghost-like; perchance she isn't fed well, or she suffers some illness. She is lithe, though, there is no denying. I cannot describe her in my limited vocabulary -- and that is why my camera comes in handy.
I am snapping away, yet she opens her eyes not, as though there are people on the seats who, too, are taking pictures of her. I even call out to her, but it is like my voice is muted. She still dances. When I am out into the streets, I run over to show my friends my pictures. They had been waiting and I apologize for the delay.
"Not at all, bro," one replies.
"You weren't even a minute, to be honest," says another.
I conclude that they were just being nice and letting it slip. Grabbing my camera, I inform them of the scenes I had just witnessed then show them the pictures.
"There are no ballerinas," one says.
I grab the camera back, staring at the screen that I thought held my memory. I saw no ballerina, no piano. Just marble floor and red, dirty curtains. I skip to another one and just like the first, there is no one there. No one. But there's something there in the last picture. A white, no gray, like the clouds out now, smoke like spirit, dancing its way backstage.
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