Grand Finale

Always hopeful, always scared.

Does it surprise you?  

The plethora of burdens that hides behind ones smile.

Especially, the smile of a mother. 

The strength of Goliath on the outside.

Inside a spirit bludgeoned by stones cast by life.

Yet, she is forced to walk every day with a crippled spirit. 

She smiles for the camera and takes a bow with applause.

Encore! Encore! The audience shouts-asking for more.

Of course, the crowd can’t see her invisible tears.

As graceful as she walks, she is a broken ballerina. 

And she continues to smile until the curtain closes, lights get turned off and the last person leaves the room. 

Her smile distorts to a sickening grin.

She spins and spins on the tips of her blood stained, torn shoes.

Now her makeup begins to run and the dark circles emerge.

Her hair bun becomes loose. 

She opens her eyes and realizes there she stands on the ledge of her balcony.

Such a beautiful ballerina in the moonlight.

The wind blowing her sheer tulle skirt underneath the star lit sky. 

She can still hear their applause and their cheers and request for one more picture. 

She can still see the flashing lights from the cameras and hear her flowers falling to the ground beside her.

She opens her shapely arms , as if she were about to grow wings to fly. 

Then she remembers her children.

She can see them confused.

Not understanding why, she did not want to be with them.

She sees the sadness in her husband’s eyes, lost and heartbroken.

Unable to answer their children’s questions. 

She collapses backwards to the ground, and lets out a gasp for air.

The final element that is left to be stolen from her. 

On her hands and knees, she steadies herself. 

Inhaling her life back.

One breath at a time. 

One heartbeat at a time.

Unable to stand, she crawls back into her room. 

Ripping holes into the delicate fabric of her beautiful garb.

She pulls herself up onto her bleeding knees to pray. 

She clasps her hands together and she begins.

No words are formed, only tears. 

She can hear them whisper,” Look at her.. she is still a beautiful ballerina even when she cries.”

She throws her head back, her weeping turns into hysterical laughter. 

How absurd to think you would hear me this time, she thinks. 

She chuckles at her stupidity, her weakness and her appearance. 

She stands up and faces her mirror. 

She removes her damaged costume. 

She systematically gets dressed into another beautiful outfit.  

One that hides her scars even better. 

Her makeup, impeccable. 

She begins to remove her bloody shoes. 

Then she stops. 

Today they will see my sacrifice, my pain and hard work. 

They will see that my journey was perilous.

Yet here I stand. 

Then the curtain rises, the lights go on and the audience watches. 

Mesmerized by her beauty, her perfection and graceful movements.

Never once do they take notice that she is dancing in bloody, torn, shoes.

She knows it.

Her victory is her own, she needs no validation.   

She says to herself, “The show must go on.”

Published by Mariana Allsop

I am the rose that grew from concrete. Amongst the weeds, I survived against all odds.

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