You called him Grace. Grace had a mistress. And I'm his lover's wife.
It was a cold New York winter with whirling snow flakes and deep purple sky and I forced you to come with me to watch my first year students perform Cendrillion. You hated it, of course. You despised every minute of having to watch the golden ceiling and red curtain. The scenery was more interesting to you than my students throwing havoc on the scene. You whispered to me that you felt sorry for the floor boards. You know how I hate it when you say such things. You know how I can't help but smile. You're a devil, a charming one at that.
While you tapped your fingers in silent frustration, I watched my students with overwhelming pride, especially one of them, the one you came to call Grace. And did that name suit him ever so perfectly, he even caught your attention. I had come to fall in love with how he seemed to have such control over his body. He knew his angles. He was perfect, in every sense, down to the pearls of sweat dripping down his dark blonde hair. He was in his own world again, eyes closed. He danced for himself, for himself and his mistress who danced with him. It was she who dragged him over the stage and filled his dreams.
Grace had the air of a dreamer. He needed no words.
He met with us afterwards, adrenaline pumping. His eyes were wild and his smile broad and he knew there was nothing to say but how brilliant he was.
"How did it go Mrs. Sorensen?" His voice was too deep for his tender frame. He was still heaving.
You were leaning against the wall with your arms crossed, jaw clenched, eyes dark. I love your childishness. I saw how you looked at him from under your carefully ruffled hair. Grace didn't notice you. That pissed you off. You want your mere presence to draw attention. But that was enough to make you come back for more.
I don't know which one of you were stolen from me; my muse or my companion.
Didn't it scare you, when your every touch left a bruise on him?
I could see the mark your palms left behind amid the frost on the windows the next Monday. A mattress lay below the window and glared red against the floorboards.
It was easy to close my eyes and pretend I hadn't seen any of it. The finger marks on the glass, the strands of dark blonde hair on the mattress. The way you came home at night with a drunken smile on your face. It was easy to think Grace didn't come to rehearsal because he preferred to run off with pretty girls. I watched him with uttermost care, yet it was easy to close my eyes and pretend that he wasn't changing. He was a devil, a charming one at that. He could pirouette his way right into your heart. And he did.
You had met him out of a coincidence, a few days after the show. Snow in your hair, you were just about to enter the coffee shop around the corner, a routine after work. Two hours later you lay bare in my studio with your fingers in his hair.
And you called him Grace. And you told him that he was beautiful.
The routine after work became my studio. The dust on the floor became your friend. The coldness of the window glass became your comfort as you watched him slumber in the grandeur-omitting studio with your snowy coat to cover his bones. You watched the streetlights etch a white light on his bare shoulder and you ignored the roundness that wasn't there. It was supposed to be. But you closed your eyes and you let your fingers trace the melted snow running down the window glass. You called him Grace. You felt his warm breath. You watched the sweat drop down his dark blonde hair up-close. You held him until he became lifeless under you and you pressed yourself down against him, against his ribs, his jaw, his feet. The hair that you touched stayed in your hand, and your every touch left a bruise.
Grace had a mistress.
You loved him. You loved him the way they only write about. I knew you did. I knew it by the way you jumped into the bed beside me at night and placed your cold hands around me out of love for him. You smelled of him. But it was so easy to close my eyes.
Two months later, when you sat in the coffee shop and he didn't come to pick you up, you didn't embrace me in bed. You didn't come home at all. You couldn't ignore it anymore, that Grace had a mistress.
His mistress was a devil, a charming one at that. She entwined her fingers in his ribs, and picked him apart, piece by piece. She pulled him into the pirouettes, and had a way of making him feel guilty when things didn't go her way; when he didn't suffer. He had to suffer for her. He had to suffer because it was she who made those perfect moves for him. For that he had to suffer. His mistress was Anorexia Nervosa, and her pirouettes were perfect.