The melody begins slowly, the low dark sound of the lone cello filling the empty space and echoing around much like the thoughts in her own mind. The melancholic music seems to come from the shadows of the large room, its darkness broken only by small streaks of sunlight and her stark white dress. The extended notes from the cello continue, irreverent to her inner turmoil, yet deeply attuned to its anguish. She takes a deep breath, making the small beads on the bodice twinkle, slowly lifts her delicate chin, and raises her arms to position.
As she begins with a single extended pointed toe touching the ground the shrill sound of violins fills the air. Her heart aches in sympathy with the wailing of the instruments and her lungs expand and fill with air. As she silently lets go of the breath she is left empty, filling herself with nothing but the music and the movements it inspires.
The sad melody enters a steady, slow rhythm and receives new instruments with every beat: flutes, piano, all softly backing up the shrill sound of a lone violin. The music surrounds her completely, engulfs her in its empathy. She no longer feels as if she is in this large decaying room, only a shadow of its former glory. She feels as if she were embraced by friends, back in that starless warm night. Back when the humid air stuck in her throat just as much as her words did as she said farewell.
She is alone. She is alone now, in this echoing, dilapidated room. She is alone in her dance and alone in her symphony, but, most importantly, she has been alone since that very day in the garden of stones.
With the melancholic violins, a pointed toe lifts, accompanied by arms floating into the air, the image of balance and grace. It is then that his cool hand rests on her waist, an unnecessary prop for the balancing act that is her body, but one that refines the final image nonetheless. Her breath hitches. Her eyes open momentarily in a surprise her body does not betray, but soon, her eyes are once again closed, her face relaxed yet deeply concentrated. His other hand takes her right one and it feels like the bite of winter air on the tips of noses. Her heart races but she remains still. Above all, she is harmony impersonated.
The room bursts with erratic cellos, overtaking the morose violins, echoing the state of her own heartbeat. As she lowers her foot she feels the whispy pressure of his palms tighten in a challenge, a question, a dare. It surprises her but for a second, and she immediately tests him back with a series of perfect pirouettes, which he flawlessly supports with barely perceptible touches at her waist. Once she stills in his arms there is a second of uncertainty hanging in the air. And another one. Slowly, she turns around, looks him in the eyes, and gives him a small wistful smile. Suddenly, the smile turns bold, filled with excitement, and her eyes twinkle like they alone share the secrets to the universe.
Twisting back away from him, she positions herself with a flourish into fourth position, ready to return to their dance with renewed energy. The games have begun.
The movements become grander, more dramatic, more passionate. With the smallest moves, they communicate their next step and defy the other to keep pace, add support, style, and ultimately, the next challenge. They take over the entire space, reviving its creaking boards and broken glass. For a moment it is back to its original grandeur, the way it still lives in her memory. As the colors are brighter and the orchestra plays louder, he surrounds her like cold winds in a storm, intense and violent, yet yielding. His hands go from cool to frigid with their increasing rhythm, rudely clashing against the heat of her sweat-coated skin, the thermic shock sending shivers rippling up both their spines. She has never felt so alive.
As her breath begins to falter and her legs begin to burn their desire to rest, she is overwhelmed by dread. The end of the melody draws near. There was a moment between them where game became collaboration, challenge became unity. Their inner symphonies which once battled for dominance were now playing in unbroken unison, fueling their bodies in a combined dance of fire and ice, of flesh and spirit. Her chest constricted out of fear and physical exertion, trying to push her limits as far as she could, desperately holding on to the moment as the finish line drew nearer far quicker than she expected.
In a single, fluid, and unnoticeable movement she is set back on the decaying floor of the theatre, her pointe shoes echoing loudly. There is no orchestra, no violin, no cello. Nother sound but the languid breeze rifling through the greenery covering the forgotten walls. The feeling of his hands fade but his familiar presence feels simultaneously fresh and ancient. His cold touch nothing but a memory, a vanishing feeling like attempting to remember a dream. The air around her is still, punctuated only by the sounds of faraway birds and the growing of trees, yet her mind is reeling filled with the sounds of time and love and art.
Her muscles sigh with relief at the end of the dance but her heart constricts in mourning. All the history she rolling through her mind visibly set on her wrinkled face, streaked with tears new and old. A small. huffed laugh reverberates through the room as she wipes them away with shaking hands. With a deep breath and even deeper smile, she sets her back straight, as she has so many times before, and sets her features into an elegant yet woefully wistful expression. Clutching the rings she wears around her neck she walks off towards her car, leaves still crunching beneath her blissfully sore feet.