Lena ~ The timeliness of her arrival was nauseating. Had she not realized that most everyone else had already broken into pairs or just given up and gone home? There she stood, staring at a near-empty dance floor, left in the care of a half-drunken DJ who's last plates of vinyl are comprised of Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue" and a scratched LP of Marillion's "Clutching At Straws".

Glitter and streamers littered the floor of the mostly-dark school gymnasium, the stale stench of spiked punch sticking to the floor beneath her feet. In the dark, off in the corner, someone is playing with a laser pen-light, drawing shapes on the ceiling, drawing her focus away from the last two lovers who, in a lethargic embrace are pretending to move to the music, but mostly just touching what they know they can't have.

The salty wash of emotions streaks down her cheeks, making drops on the floor that, bathed in the lonely red glow of the floor lights, look like drops of blood coming from her large sad eyes. She stands frozen in time as a lone shadow passes away from her on the opposite side of the dance floor, pausing for a moment to look briefly, then slipping out the side exit, embarrassed to be seen at all. Her heart begins to race at the loss of blood from the holes in her face, the open windows to her heart of dreams, continues to leak her life's fluid and all it's work. The once fluid thoughts of a perfectly questionable world are now definitely stone cold and lifeless.

There is the remnant of hope dangling from one window, eyes closed motionless as it succumbs to the disease called love in its most tragic form. It begins to sway from side to side as Lena shuffles one foot in front of the other toward the now lifeless heap of empty clothes that once encased the two lovers in last breath's embrace. They must have dissolved into nothingness at the thought of parting ways in the cold night.

As she wades in despair across the shiny wooden floor, her hair begins to fall from her head in large patches. Her dress becomes unhinged at the back, being tugged from over her shoulders by the weight of expectation that has come and gone. Tripping over her own garment as it falls to the floor, she grabs to pull it up but notices that her hands have long since left. Suddenly bursting into the echoed chamber, she's mocked by a sleazy cheerleader and her cigarette smoking quarterback. They snicker at the sight of her bareness, alone in the reddish darkness of the competition arena. Her once proud red bow catches a stray ash from the lit cancer stick, lighting a satin edge, curling the ribbon with glowing black flame. What was left of her long hair is now singed off, leaving her eyebrows and lipstick the only façade for her to hide behind. Her eyes don't hide a thing.

Standing naked in the dark, the thumping of the music vibrates the wooden floor beneath her bare feet to the sound of something jarring. Not the saccharine flux of ancient R&B pop wasted. This is starting to match the rhythm of her heart, still managing to push the now-viscous glue hardened by a thousand lies, upward through her veins. In a moment for the first time, she feels. For the first time, small buds form on the sides of her head, taking shape of something like a shell or an ear perhaps. The windows close and open again. She closes them hard, but they fly open to the sounds of something meaningful for once. For once, she can almost dance alone, but then she blinks and finds that there is no more floor, no more walls… no more gymnasium. Just the sky and stars, flashing back to her as her lips slightly part into a brilliant smile.