Note: The poem recieves due credit in the text. Oh, and much love to J.D. and C.M. Please let me know how much this sucks. Thank you.
Literature for its Literary Value
It was Monday at 2:47 PM.
Aubrey Dixon had ballet class every Monday and Thursday at 3:00 PM.
And every week, she eagerly awaited those two days.
Those were the two days a week that she could dance. Be herself. Ignore reality. Focus on the moves, the motion, the time and the practice. She loved every moment of it.
She loved the actual dancing, but she also loved the studio that she practiced in. It was in the heart of town, on the second floor of one of the refurbished warehouses. The ceilings were extremely high, and when you walked across the worn wood floors in Pointe shoes, the echo was louder than it should have been.
A bar lined every wall. And in the center of the large room, there was wide open space- for routines, pointe work, jumps and turns. The windows went from floor to ceiling and whenever she looked out of them, she felt like she was on the inside looking in. (It was sometimes a lonely place.) Town was out and below her. Sky was out and above her. She'd never been able to put into words, how she sometimes felt on a daily basis, but when she looked out those windows she just knew.
A piece of glass separated her from the world. She could watch the people, the cars, the house, beyond the glass, but when it all came down to it, she was a separate entity. She was one that many people wouldn't understand.
Her parents, professors at local colleges, seemed to always be supportive of anything she did. They were freethinkers, brilliant and talented in countless ways. Her mother, a professor of English, was a published and respected author with a reputation of her own. She was hailed one of the leading literary geniuses of her time. It was prophesized that she could write a classic before her death. Her father was talented in another way entirely. Classically trained and brilliant in his own right, he was the head of the music department in one of the leading music programs in the country. He had composed his first opera at the age of 16. By the time that she turned 12, the opera was playing in 3 major cities across the country.
It was such a tough act to follow.
There hadn't always been so much pressure. She could remember back to a time when her mom and dad didn't miss meals or spend time working so hard that they were barely home. One of her earliest memories was her first ballet class. She was the youngest one in the class (everyone was at least four) and she remembered not feeling scared at all. Her mother had walked her into the gigantic building (it looked even bigger to a three and a half year old) and asked if she wanted her to stay. Aubrey had replied with a firm 'no' and after hesitating (When did her mother not hesitate? It came with brilliance.) for about five minutes, she left. Aubrey knew that she really hadn't left, though. She'd waited on the first floor near the warm-up rooms, the entire time.
When Aubrey had a hard time remembering those memories, she went and practiced alone when she was certain there were no classes. Sometimes she just needed a place to go to get away to read a book or merely think. Sometimes Aubrey did her homework or (very, very rarely) played the piano that was used for class. She played well enough and enjoyed reading; two things she associated with her parents.
She wasn't nearly as good as either of them at English or Music, but she did know ballet.
Sometimes, she felt as if it was all that she did know.
Brigitte Nickels, her dance teacher, tapped on the piano and called to all the girls in Aubrey's class to go to the bars.
Aubrey tucked the ribbon from her pointe shoe into itself and stood up. She pressed the flattened edge of the shoe against the floor, arching her foot slowly. Her muscles burned slightly and stretched in a beautiful way.
She hadn't eaten in seventeen hours.
Elle danse à la chanson que le musicien joue. Il y a la beauté au printemps.
-- from Le Printemps by Alexander Dixon
A few months earlier, Aubrey sighed and traced the hem of her dress with her right hand. The grass felt cold on her bare feet, and she was sure that when she stood up, she'd be covered in pieces of grass; the pieces of grass that she'd been idly pulling out of the ground and throwing at her best friend, Cole Roberts, for the past five minutes. However, they never actually reached him and instead they'd end up falling on the ground halfway to him or on her.
He just sat there and focused on reading his book and ignoring her. The only indication that he was actually paying a little bit of attention was that he was smirking when a piece of grass fell short (which was every single time she threw one.)
Aubrey had already given up on reading her own book and based on the fact that Cole was not only reveling in her lack of throwing ability, but ignoring her when he knew that she was bored, she wanted him to stop reading as well.
"I think we should switch books," Aubrey suggested.
Cole looked at her over the top of his and shook his head. They often switched books after they were finished with a chapter or in this case a poem. Aubrey liked to read poetry when it was warm. And over the two years that she'd known Cole, they'd established a routine. They'd sit and read together on Friday afternoons. Novels in the fall and winter. Poetry anthologies in summer and spring. It was late Spring, so hence the poetry. However, Cole didn't seem like he was ready to be any less difficult than Aubrey was being.
"You're not even reading your book."
He was right. It was because she'd gotten bored of Shakespeare's sonnets. Aubrey never did like sonnets, and how annoying and sappy they were. She did, however, like T.S. Eliot and that was what Cole was reading.
And then he shook his head again, "You only want me to switch with you because you don't like Shakespeare."
That wasn't true. "I like Shakespeare." She sighed and examined the ends of her hair closely. She was almost bored enough to yawn. "I love his plays, but his sonnets make me—"
"Sick. I know." He rolled his eyes. "You make me sick sometimes."
He was kidding. Or at least he better be.
So she'd just ignore him. "Read something out loud." Aubrey was glad that she had a best friend that would follow her orders. Like right now, Cole might protest for a few seconds, but he'd end up reading to her. She always got her way when it came to him.
Aubrey gave into the yawn of boredom that she'd been holding in and she lay on her back next to Cole. She really would be covered in grass by the time she decided to move, but it didn't matter. She could see the stark white clouds against the blue back drop of the sky between the branches of the trees. It reminded her that summer was almost there.
Aubrey loved the summer.
"Okay." It hadn't taken any arguing on her part, to get Cole to read. Maybe he was just sick of her being difficult and he just wanted her to shut up. It was a good thing that Cole didn't have bitter, mean thoughts like those. He was way too nice. "I like this one."
Aubrey sighed and turned slightly to face him. He always looked so serious when he read. She attributed that slightly to the fact that he wore glasses when he read and it made him look really smart. He was really smart to begin with, but glasses made him look scholarly. That was such a lame explanation. Even for Aubrey.
He took a breath and then started reading. "Twelve o'clock. Along the reaches of the street Held in a lunar synthesis, Whispering lunar incantations Dissolve the floors of memory And all its clear relations, Its divisions and precisions, Every street lamp that I pass Beats like a fatalistic drum, And through the spaces of the dark Midnight shakes the memory As a madman shakes a dead geranium. Half-past one, The street lamp sputtered."
Aubrey knew this poem. Rhapsody on a Windy Night. It was her favorite T.S. Eliot poem and Cole hated it. She wondered if he was being sarcastic when he said that he liked it.
Aubrey sighed and closed her eyes. She loved the way poetry sounded when it was read out loud. "The street lamp muttered, the street lamp said, "Regard that woman who hesitates toward you in the light of the door which opens on her like a grin. You see the border of her dress," He flicked the end of her dress and she smiled. "Is torn and stained with sand, and you see the corner of her eye Twists like a crooked pin."
Aubrey thought about interrupting him, but instead she sat there quietly. There was just something about this poem.
"The memory throws up high and dry A crowd of twisted things; A twisted branch upon the beach Eaten smooth, and polished As if the world gave up The secret of its skeleton, Stiff and white. A broken spring in a factory yard, Rust that clings to the form that the strength has left Hard and curled and ready to snap. Half-past two, the street-lamp said, "Remark the cat which flattens itself in the gutter, Slips out its tongue And devours a morsel of rancid butter." So the hand of the child, automatic," She reached out and rested her hand on his.
"Slipped out and pocketed a toy that was running along the quay. I could see nothing behind that child's eye. I have seen eyes in the street trying to peer through lighted shutters, and a crab one afternoon in a pool, An old crab with barnacles on his back, Gripped the end of a stick which I held him. Half-past three, the lamp sputtered, The lamp muttered in the dark. The lamp hummed: "Regard the moon, La lune ne garde aucune rancune," He said the last line with a horrible accent. Aubrey had to work hard to not correct him since she'd been taught French since birth from her father.
He smiled. She wasn't sure why. "She winks a feeble eye, she smiles into corners. She smoothes the hair of the grass. The moon has lost her memory. A washed-out smallpox cracks her face, Her hand twists a paper rose, That smells of dust and old Cologne, She is alone With all the old nocturnal smells That cross and cross across her brain. The reminiscence comes Of sunless dry geraniums And dust in crevices, Smells of chestnuts in the streets And female smells in shuttered rooms And cigarettes in corridors And cocktail smells in bars."
The poem was sadder than she remembered. Sometimes the saddest poems, invoked the utmost happiness in her.
"The lamp said, "Four o'clock, Here is the number on the door. Memory! You have the key; the little lamp spreads a ring on the stair, Mount. The bed is open; the tooth-brush hangs on the wall, Put your shoes at the door, sleep, prepare for life." The last twist of the knife."
Cole shut the book and smiled down at her. An amused smile. "I have no idea why you like that poem."
"Simple," Aubrey had an explanation. An explanation that she used often. "It tells a story."
She loved to read and she used her love for stories as an excuse. It could work. It usually did work.
"A sad story," he reminded her. "You like happy endings."
That was true. Aubrey was a sucker for a happy ending, but over the last few years she learned that happy endings weren't always the case. Sometimes it didn't always end the way you planned, the way you hoped, the way you wished. And sometimes that scared her. She didn't want her efforts to be in vain. She didn't want to fight for nothing.
But then again she didn't want to not fight, either.
She loved over thinking. It reminded her of her mother and how, sometimes, she really wanted to be as smart as her.
She sighed. She heard Cole snap a picture. He liked to do that. He liked to catch her off guard. He kept her on her toes. She didn't know what her life would be without him. "You win some, you lose some."
He looked at her. "Whenever I read T.S. Eliot, I think of you."
She smiled. "Whenever I read, I think of you." It was the truth. She rested her head on the grass. It was so cool in the shade. "Do you know why that's my favorite poem?"
"Because I want to be the girl in it," She sighed. She was very tired, and she knew that she wouldn't be going to sleep anytime soon. It was going to be a late night. She realized that her mind was wandering, and she still had something to say. "I want to come to terms with something really big and come out on top."
She was forever missing the real point of a poem.
It couldn't be taken lightly or at face value.
Cole glanced over at her. He was smiling a sad, sad smile. He probably knew she didn't understand what the poem really meant. "You will."
She was confused. "What do you mean?"
"What do you think I mean?"
This was a normal exchange. He'd confuse her. And then he'd ask her what he meant. She never did quite figure it out, though, and often they just switched topics instead of reaching an understanding. "I think you're being cryptic."
"That I am," He stood up and offered her his hand. She took it and stood up. Her dress was wrinkled and she was covered in grass, just like she thought she'd be. Cole brushed a piece of grass out of her hair. And then he smiled. It was still a little bit sad. "You promised."
It was a reminder.
And she remembered.
She promised to go to the football game that night with him to take pictures for the school newspaper. It was funny because Cole didn't really believe in extracurricular activities. Well, besides the ones that involved a camera.
She always kept her promises to him.
She tugged his hand. "Let's go."
And then she set off running towards her house.
She didn't know where her shoes were. She didn't care.
She liked that the grass felt cold beneath her feet.
She felt like skipping dinner.
"He says he hates me for all the weight I've put on since the move back east." She steals one of his soggy fries. "Maybe I hate me, too."
"Marie," laughed Roger. "You're absolutely gorgeous the way you are."
"You say that because you have to, you asshole."
-- from Asbury Park Diner by Lena Dixon
That night, Lena Dixon didn't allow Aubrey to skip dinner. It was the first time that Aubrey sat down for dinner with Lena and Alexander in three and a half weeks because it was that time in the semester when they frantically prepared for finals. Often, Aubrey skipped dinner all together this time of the year, stocking up on excuses as to why she wasn't eating the Chicken Picata or vegetarian lasagna her mother prepared any given night. Usually, she grabbed an apple and yogurt and headed off to her room to do homework before working out before bed.
That night, her plans were foiled by baked salmon and yellow rice. She pushed the food around on her plate and nibbled on a salad (minus the dressing) instead of indulging.
Her parents attempted small talk. They weren't very good, but the attempt was appreciated.
"Bree," Alexander started, "Don't you have a recital coming up?"
She nodded and took a sip of her water.
"Yes. In two weeks."
"Lovely," her mother commented. "If you let us know when it begins, we can plan out all the details."
Lena Dixon was forever planning out the details. Aubrey believed that it was a side effect of being brilliant. She also believed that it was the reason that she was an only child. Pregnancy wasn't for Lena. She didn't like the lack of control over her body and her emotions. However, she never once told Aubrey this, but instead promised her that she was beautiful and lovely enough that there was no need for more children. This made Aubrey believe that her parents loved her unconditionally, despite their brilliance.
"Is there something wrong with dinner, sweetie?" her father asked a moment later.
Aubrey shook her head. "I just don't feel well."
"Do you have a fever?" Her mother asked. "This time of year, everyone seems to get sick."
Lena reached over to place a hand on Aubrey's forehead, but she pushed it away lightly.
"I'm just tired."
Her father clicked his tongue. "You work too hard, Bree Bee."
Alexander used her childhood nickname often. It usually made her feel younger.
Aubrey forced a smile. "Would you mind if I went up to my room to rest?"
"Oh no, darling," her mother said, "Call us if you need anything."
She hadn't eaten any of her dinner.
Je t'aime, mon amour. Je t'aime.
- Lynsey to Nickolas in Le Joli Village by Alexander Dixon
Two weeks later, Aubrey lay on her bed, while Cole snapped pictures of her unsteady bookcase. He was doing a project for his photography class. The assignment was that he had to find something on the verge of collapsing and he had to make it look natural. For Cole, it wasn't very difficult. He had the somewhat temperamental talent of capturing something right before it fell apart, especially with his camera.
Cole had brought her gummy bears, her favorite candy, and so she didn't seem ungrateful, she ate four of them.
She was mentally calculating the sugars and calories she had consumed.
Cole adjusted his glasses and snapped another picture. "This will fall over any second."
She glanced over at the bookcase. He was right. It was something like 14 calories. "It's fine."
He shrugged and lay down beside her on the bed. She turned to face him and smiled. Of all the things she felt she didn't have control over in her life, she knew that Cole could make her forget that.
They had been friends forever, if forever was measured in 10 years. They met in Kindergarten at the art center and had shared a package of markers. While all the other kids played Legos and Barbies, Aubrey and Cole drew pictures and talked about their favorite books. His had been anything that involved rabbits because he was obsessed with them at the time and hers was called "The Littlest Dancer." From then on, they had been best friends.
By now, they had gone through a lot together. His parents divorced when he was 8 and he ran away to her house for a week one summer. His mother knew where he was, but didn't say a word. Aubrey and Cole spent that week watching movie and eating more ice cream than was healthy. Finally, Aubrey convinced him to go home and deal with his parents. He always told her that she was the reason that he chose to stay in their small Long Island hometown with his mom, rather than move to California with his dad.
Two years later when Aubrey broke her leg and was forced to miss ballet for a few months, Cole took a bunch of pictures of her dance classes and compiled them into a photo album. Back then, he wasn't very good with the camera he received for his birthday that year, but she was still grateful for the thoughtful gift. She remembered that they looked through the photo album and ate Reese's Pieces.
Cole was the source of many of her hopeful memories.
She wished she still had as much hope as she had as a child.
Cole's body was pressed against the side of her on her bed. He looked so God Damn sad again. "Bree Bee," He placed a hand on her arm and carefully wrapped his whole hand around her forearm. He shook his head sadly. She had lost a little weight for the recital because she needed to look good and jump easily, but Cole's whole hand easily wrapped around her arm made her feel small. "You look sick."
"Go for Ice Cream with me?"
She shook her head. She way too tired to even think about moving. Plus, she couldn't eat ice cream a day before a big recital. Or ever.
"You look so skinny."
Her mother said the same thing the morning before. Lena had made her sit down and eat a whole yogurt and a cup of fruit. Aubrey was disappointed in herself the moment she finished and extended her morning workout to two hours instead of one.
Aubrey laughed and kissed Cole on the cheek. "I'm a dancer I'm supposed to be skinny. It's part of the job description.
Cole was frowning. "I want to help you."
"I don't need your help."
"You need someone's help."
Nothing was wrong with her. She was dieting. It was perfectly normal.
Cole pointed his camera at her and took a picture.
She frowned. "What are you doing?"
"Taking a picture of something that's about to fall apart."
He left through her open bedroom door.
She threw away the Gummy Bears.
"Do you remember how we met," Roxy took a deep breath, but didn't pause for very long. "Bix was getting Ice Cream from Mr. Frosty and he kept trying to shoot his toy gun."
"He always loved chocolate best."
"I'm glad you remember."
-- Magical Grown Up Times for Grown Up People by Lena Dixon
There was something heartbreaking to Aubrey about her best friend seeming disappointed in her. For the next month, she quietly mulled over the subject pouring herself into dance. Her recital went extremely well. Her teacher was impressed with her dedication and drive following it, so she offered her a job instructing one of the younger classes. Aubrey's parents were both extremely proud of her achievements and took her out to dinner to commemorate her achievements.
Her mother forced her to eat an entire salad and a piece of chicken. She worked out for four hours after that dinner.
The next few weeks went by excruciatingly slowly. Cole avoided her because of their scuffle before the recital. She worked out more and attended more classes, so that she could forget that Cole was so angry with her.
However, one rainy spring day, she couldn't stop herself from indulging in spending time with her best friend (whether or not he wanted to see her.) There were traditions to be kept.
Long Island weather was very unpredictable in the spring.
It could be cool and windy in the morning, the sun peaking through the tree tops to bathe everything in a bright yellow glow. By afternoon it could be hot, so hot that you could feel your skin baking to a crisp if you stood out in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes. And then in the next moment, those same fluffy, white clouds would seem to vanish, the sky would open up, and it would just pour. Puddles would form immediately in murky spots on the lawn or on the steamy sidewalk, the temperature would drop drastically and the trees would rustle from strong wind gusts and rain.
It gave Aubrey the strangest urge to go outside and stand in the middle of the storm and she wanted Cole to be there with her.
So, she often slipped through the side door and ran through the back yard her bare feet splashing through puddle after puddle after puddle, and through the small stretch of woods that separated the houses, into Cole's backyard this time avoiding the puddles and knocked on his back door.
He always answered the door because his mother worked long hours during the day.
When she first started this tradition, when they were only ten, he'd peak through the blinds on the back window, just to make sure that it was her before he'd answer the door. She thought that it was cute that he double checked like that, just to be safe. At least one of them wasn't so careless.
He'd gotten so accustomed to her visits during storms that he no longer checked. He'd just open the door when she knocked. She kind of missed the novelty of it all.
Today, however, he was leaning against the door, carefully concealed from the rain, reading a book.
He looked up when he heard her creep past the huge oak tree and mistakenly step in a puddle.
He smiled as she ran the remaining few feet and grabbed his arm, doing her best to pull him into the rain. His smile turned into a frown, as he held onto the doorknob with one hand and his book with the other.
Cole didn't resist her anything, ever. Especially a walk in the rain.
Lately, she had missed the Cole that let her indulge in little things.
She missed when they read together and laughed together.
She kissed him on the cheek, giving up trying to pull him into the rain. A month ago it wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary (they'd never been modest around each other), today he all but pushed her away.
She stepped away and forced a smile. The rain still fell around them. Their relationship seemed to match the weather. Any moment lightening would strike, tearing them apart. For now, they lived in anticipation of that moment.
Aubrey hated it. She didn't want him to hate her for trying to be in control.
She tapped the book in his hand with a wet finger. "That's my book."
It was light hearted.
She could feel the rain hitting her back plastering her t-shirt and skirt to her body. She was cold and it was late spring.
She hoped she didn't sound cold.
She probably did, because Cole reached out and placed his hand on her arm. It was involuntary. Something the Cole she'd known a month ago would have done. He always looked out for her. He always waited in the rain for her.
He kept his hand on her arm.
"I know," he admitted. She shivered against her will. It really was cold. The rain was picking up and a puddle had formed at her feet. Sometimes she wished she didn't run outside in the rain on impulse without any shoes on. It was so impractical. She moved her toes closer to Cole's and eventually covered the tip of his sneaker covered toes with her bare ones.
He didn't step away. Maybe things were getting better.
He looked down at their feet and then at her. She smiled slightly and leaned slightly back on her heels when he did. "You're soaking wet."
Cole seemed a lot older than her, right then, even though they were only three months apart in age.
If it was anyone else, she'd think he was scolding her.
But, that would never happen. Ever.
He'd never let that happen.
"I know." Her teeth were chattering. She shook his arm off to wrap her arms around herself to keep warm. He should have hugged her, but he didn't.
Maybe they hadn't been friends correctly for all those years. Maybe Aubrey should have confided in him that she wasn't happy, that sometimes she put too much pressure on herself when she danced, that sometimes she didn't feel good enough for herself or others. Maybe Cole should have made her confide in him.
However, she liked to make things easy. "Let's play a game."
Cole and Aubrey played games all the time.
What's your favorite...?
Where and when...?
Each game had a set of rules and boundaries, so it was possible to avoid a question you didn't want to ask or answer.
Aubrey rarely avoiding answering a question, because the questions never turned out to be that hard.
Now, wasn't the time to start.
Cole frowned. He didn't move, he just frowned. They were frozen in time. The rain fell, their mouths moved, the words hung in the air, the wind gusted, but their bodies were suspended in thin air. They floated along. The rain practically formed puddles in Aubrey's hair. Cole opened his mouth to speak. "Not today."
That wasn't acceptable. Not at all. She needed his help. She did.
He broke contact. He stepped away. He was in the rain. Anything to unfreeze that moment. "I don't like games very much anymore."
Aubrey wasn't stupid, she could sense the undertone in Cole's excuse.
Maybe he didn't mean for it to be there, but she felt it. It sliced through her like the sheets of rain that hit her when she turned slightly to watch him walk out into the yard.
He stepped in a puddle.
He was soaking wet.
She followed behind him, her feet squishing into the muddy lawn. "Why not?"
Cole stopped suddenly and turned to face her. He handed her the book. It was ruined, but she didn't care. There were bigger things at stake. "They make me tired."
Aubrey didn't dare touch him. She was tempted to, but she held back. "Just one more game?"
He looked at her for a long moment and finally said, "Okay."
She frowned. This could turn out being extremely difficult. "The object of this game is to tell your deepest, darkest secret."
God, she hoped she knew what she was getting herself into.
The rain fell harder. Aubrey tried to push her hair out of her face, but it was useless.
"You know all of my secrets." Cole spoke loudly.
It wasn't his turn anyway. She'd let this build up. Sometimes Aubrey lacked the confidence to say what she wanted to say, but if she washed every layer away, slowly, quietly, she could figure out what exactly she had planned to say.
It wouldn't mean a thing to him, but she moved closer to him so it could be private, so she wouldn't have to yell over the storm. She placed her hands on his arms. This experience could be baptismal.
"I don't eat enough. I feel weak all the time. The other day, my mom forced me to eat, but afterwards I felt so guilty about it, I worked out for hours and hours. It's such a scary thing, but sometimes I'm so tired and weak, I think I'll pass out and never wake up. Sometimes, I'm ok with that."
Aubrey took a deep breath and Cole wrapped her in a hug.
She knew that she didn't have to say anything else.
She knew that now that she had admitted such a scary thing that life could only get easier.
Aubrey turned her head slightly to look at the sky.
It was only drizzling now.
"I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different."
--T.S. Eliot, Aubrey Dixon's favorite poet.
It was 3:19 on Monday and all Aubrey could think was that it was so much easier to do something in theory than it was to actually follow through with it.
She hadn't eaten anything and kept it down in seventeen hours. She was tired.
(There had been worries of a relapse. They weren't just worries any more.)
Aubrey and Cole had gone out to lunch earlier in the day and she ate two slices of pizza. Then, she proceeded to go in the bathroom and throw it all up.
Cole smiled at her when she returned to the table and asked if she wanted dessert. She had placed a hand on her stomach and told him she was way too full for that. He shrugged and offered to take her for ice cream after her class. She responded that she may not be up to after 4 hours of dancing.
She was so out of control. She hoped he'd realize it.
Cole wouldn't realize it, because on the outside she seemed fine. She seemed healthy. He didn't know that she had gone from not eating at all to eating too much and having to rid her body of it.
She was so fucking out of control.
Cole walked her to the studio and kissed her on the cheek before heading to the used book store a few blocks over. He seemed anxious to talk, but stopped the conversation there. So, she called her mother and promised she would be home for dinner. Her mother's voice was full of warmth and love as she told her to have fun at class and enjoy herself. She also told her that she was too young to be so worried all the time.
She couldn't help but worry that she didn't bother worrying enough.
She was out of control. She wanted everything to fall into place.
Aubrey climbed the stairs to the second floor studio and removed layers of clothing that were used to keep her warm, despite the heat of the early summer day. Aubrey laced up and then tucked the ribbon from her Pointe shoe into itself and stood up. She pressed the flattened edge of the shoe against the floor, arching her foot slowly. Her muscles burned slightly and stretched in a painful, sad way.
She joined the other girls at the bar.
She plied and tendued and pushed herself.
Her body felt as if it may fall inwards upon itself. She was so hungry and nauseous and out of control.
She pushed herself a little harder, and her body seemed to give into her every wish.
The muscles in her leg stretched and snapped.
She could feel the tiny bones that fit together in her foot shatter and slip out of place.
Everything burned like the looming summer sun.
She couldn't move by the time she hit the floor. Almost mindlessly, she heard the gasps of the girls around her. Her friend, Caitlin, called her name and ran over to her side. Her teacher pushed past them and knelt down beside her directly across from Caitie. Everyone was asking if she could move. She could only shake her head, not because she was in pain, but because she knew that everything had fallen out of place.
Ballet was over for her. Her foot was damaged beyond repair and all she could remember was that poem that she and Cole had read months before. There was absolutely nothing for the girl in that poem to come to terms with, instead there was a moment when the woman could no longer live in the repeated memories Eliot reinforces in the poem.
Aubrey knew that there weren't memories to live in.
Maybe she was coming to terms with something after all.
Maybe everything had already fallen into place.
Someone called 911. Aubrey didn't cry in pain.