long white-washed hall stretched a forever away it seemed,
ending in the distance somewhere in a sparkling point where
the afternoon sun must be blindingly meeting the window
pane. She proceeded slowly down the hall, observing the
marks on the age-old paint. So many generations of students
must have come and gone here leaving a faint wispy shadow
of their identity behind. A piece of gum, torn poster, map
of the world, student election flier, sneaker footprint.
Size 38? No, 40-something. Like Dave? He used to fly in
listened to the light footsteps behind her as she felt herself
slow down. Click, click, click, click…High heels. Snail
pace. Just to trail her down halls where she'll never belong
anyway. Again. The broken record of her life. She could
always tell someone's personality by the way they pushed
her out. Annoying. Tries too hard.
was wheeled around, the lady's voice droning along somewhere
in the distance about academic standards. Barbie with muffled
bees spewing from her lips. The lady gestured towards a
building through the window they had finally reached as
she spoke, smiling proudly. It was a large brick building
with large shiny windows glinting in the sunlight. Jail
looked the lady up and down for the first time. Sky-high
hair piled up on her head, a tight white blouse, and fitting
black pants a size too small finished off with stilettos.
50's beauty pageant reject. A cry to the gods of Hollywood
plastic surgery. But then, who was she to talk?
spoke slowly and softly almost as to not scare her away.
Vulnerable baby. She smiled wide, flashing cigarette-stained
teeth, hoping to make her feel comfortable. Her golden hoop
earrings moved with strands of her hair getting caught in
them, and her cheeks stiffened as if cramped as she smiled.
Classic Barbie doll caught in the world of anorexia and
Virginia Slims. Well meaning all the same. Struggling bimbo;
what a novel thought.
looked down at herself, thinking of the contrast. Her ripped
jeans clung to her legs, as faded and torn as her dreams.
Old sneakers worn-out from years of work, a black tank top
from Paris. Toe-shoes only lasted months, and then frayed
and eroded away like petals caught in a hurricane of pirouettes.
Paris. Vivre la France, vivre Paris, vivre mes ambitiones.
where she trained so hard with Dave and Madame Verushka.
Pain shooting through her legs and arms, in perfect balance
with harmony, then ease. Flying through music. Dove in moonlight.
She was the most experienced, the most talented, the most
graceful. Always infallible. Except once. Stupid drunk bastard.
Should've just gone ahead and killed her. He had. - Blinding-light-white-hot-searing-screaming-men-in-white
about eighteen dashed up the stairs and waved at Barbie
lady. Clearasil. He suddenly looked down and caught sight
of her and gave her a once-over. 'She'd be cute if it weren't
for the legs…' said his eyes. Real cute aside from being
confined to a machine, eh? Cutie in a cage. Amused and disgusted.
Repulsive, isn't it? Not exactly Greek god
Should take the little that comes. No more choosing. No Paris.
The lady kept buzzing, and slowly descended down the steps,
her heels clicking like gunshots in the quiet hall, her
hand out, like she expected her to follow. To follow. She
froze. Wax figurine at Madame Tussaud's. Pin-drop silence.
Prayer for the marble to swallow her up it seemed. She looked
mortified. Deserving. Idiot. She smiled sheepishly as she
turned back. She tucked her hair behind her ear, the sun
bouncing off her hoops. She stood behind her, and pushed
forward. “Let's take the elevator.” Figure that out by yourself,
The elevator was tall, narrow and completely wooden. It
looked antique and beautiful, like something out of an elaborate
ship. Titanic. Too small for that, though. Cupboard at Dave's.
Hide and seek at 8. The wood would have soaked up so many
conversations, whispered secrets, horrors, souls. That tiny
little space had more history than any textbook could ever
offer, and you could feel it in your veins as you stood
there. Cologne and cigarette smoke hung on the air. Cheap
cologne and Marlboro Lights. Movie theatre. Something strong.
Brandy? Definitely alcohol. Must be a teacher. Another stupid
drunk. Damn them all. Well, it was better than the machine
on the stairs.
The doors creaked when sliding open, and Barbie pressed
her manicured fingers against the door to get it open, and
pushed her out in her chair. Screeching crazy sound-ambulance-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-flashing-light-zip-flash-“broken”-“emergency”-ring-ring-ring-“never
dance again”-flash-flash-ring-ring - School bell.
She leaned her head back, letting the metal at the top
of her chair cool the back of her neck. She was getting
exhausted. Just getting special treatment because of the
legs. She was tired of people speaking to her slowly, watching
their words, not mentioning sports, glancing at friends
over her head, like she couldn't tell what they were thinking.
Like she was stupid as well. Retard. Not a bright, experienced,
accomplished prima ballerina. There was no admiration, only
Kids poured in and out of the doorways chattering away
in loud shrill voices. Invasion of the jungle monkeys. “Basketball
season…and the party last night…and what was on the tes
Whoa! Is she new? What the hell happened to her? That's
one hell of a wheelchair…” Teen movie. Ultimate cliché.
Makes you want to vomit.
If only Dave could see her now. Standing with a college
intern in high school within a mass of petty gossiping teenage
future clueless politicians, architects and world's slaughterers.
Beautiful make-up caked model reject and tragically crippled
prima ballerina. Had to laugh. It was almost poetic.
She watched the eyes grow wide with surprise, astonishment,
compassion and pity. Pity. Poor little cripple. Poor. Stupid.
Cripple. Graceful angel of the arts bound to a cage on wheels
for life. A soul imprisoned by a body deprived. No. Just
poor. Stupid. Little. Cripple.