Keep On Keeping On

When she danced, her world was silent.

When she danced, she felt at peace.

When she danced, her body no longer hurt.

When she danced, she held no thoughts.

When she danced, the whole world revolved.

 

“You’ll never make it.” He said. A gavel dropped in the background. “You just don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough. Do yourself a favor,” Liz swallowed her tears. “Go back to school and find a good job. You had a good run but it was never very realistic.” With that the judge stood from the table at the front of the small studio and left, letting the door slam behind his retreating back.  

 

Breathing deeply, just as she was taught, Liz slowly lowered herself to the floor. Her world had stopped moving. Across the room her phone rang. Her mother, eager to know how the audition had fared. She was so proud. Liz continued to breathe deeply until her cell fell silent.  

 

Standing, she raised her arms and began her routine over again. Something, there had to be something she did wrong. Something she hadn’t done quiet right; the timing was off, it wasn’t quick enough, graceful enough, powerful enough. She would find and fix it. 

 

She knew she didn’t practice as diligently as she should. Others tried harder and sacrificed so much. But that would change. She knew, deep down in the very marrow of her bones, she could and would reach her dream. That stage was begging for her presence, she just hadn’t shown up yet. She was late but the event had yet to be cancelled.

 

No more distractions. Liz twirled several times. Tuck my legs in tighter and spin faster, she thought. She needed to do more than feel the rhythm. She wasn’t a social butterfly, but last week she’d left practice early for dinner and a movie with friends. Why not? She worked a day job nine to five then ran straight to scheduled (and rented) studio hours. Did she not deserve an hour here, an hour there? She didn’t want to catch that plague called exhaustion, did she? What good would that do?

 

She deserved nothing but would win everything. A change in attitude was simply in order. Staring at herself in the mirror Liz nodded once and turned away. Walking towards her bag she dug through the pockets until she found her phone. Calling her mom back she informed her not to wait on dinner. Hanging up quickly to avoid questions Liz grabbed her water bottle and swished some moisture back into her dry mouth. Putting on a completely different song, a song she’d never danced to, she began from scratch.

 

The process was hard, of course. Letting the beat slowly work itself inside she began to move this way and that. It was different, different than anything she’d ever tried. But maybe that was exactly what she needed. To change is difficult. Not to change is fatal.

 

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Liz had foolishly always thought without reason she would reach her dream easily. Obviously not. Was God testing her? To see how true she was? How strong she was?

 

Having her dream thrown back into her face only made Liz all the more determined. If she wasn’t certain before, she sure as hell was after. She would find resolve and burn a mantra into her very being. It was the only way to truly live life.   

Hero

“It’s going to be fine.” Maul calmly stated, tightening Steve’s various straps and belts.

“That’s what you said last time.” Steven iterated.

“But it was fine.”

“We almost got arrested!”

“Small technicality. At least you left an impression.”

“She took out a restraining order against me. Half the city is banned from me now!”

“Well I never said it was a good impression…” Maul fixed Steve’s mask over his distinct facial features.

“I’m wanted in five states because of you.” Steve commented dryly.

“And only forty-five to go.” Maul chirped happily. He stepped back, looked over his henchman once more and nodded. “You’re good to go.”

“Do I have to?” Steve asked pathetically.

“We are saving women from terrible situations! Past, present, and future! Do you want to be a knight in shining armor or not?”

“Can I say no?”

“No.” 

“Heroes are overrated.” He worded instead.

“Blasphemy.” Slapping him upside the head, Maul turned Steve around by the shoulders and shoved him to the edge of the roof. “Your target is that lovely creature yonder. A youthful vixen ensnared in an old croon’s promise of a perfect dream consisting of money and love. Little does she know he’s planning on giving her neither.”

“You know stalking is a crime, right?”

“Lying is a crime as well.”

“No, not really.”

“You’ve just lost your youth.”

“I hate you and I hate your fantasies.” Steve managed to get out before Maul recklessly shoved him into the cool night air.

Steve enjoyed the tranquility of flight for a moment before gravity brought with it fear. Quickly he groped for the fire escape. He thought back to the first time he’d joined, or rather been bamboozled, into Maul’s crazed scheme. “Sink or swim!” He’d cried evilly, and not without some glee, as he pushed Steve off the roof. Not onto the fire escape mind you, but just to the side of it. Be quick, reach out and grab hold for dear life and you successfully survived the first five seconds. Fail in even doing that and Maul was out his second partner. Steve hadn’t the heart to ask what had become of the first. 

Catching hold of the railing, he tensed as his torso slammed against the cold metal. Pulling himself up Steve sighed and checked his mask. “Good luck!” Maul called down, waving farewell. “I’ll be rooting for you! Remember: The lady in the red dress!”

Maul liked women, a lot. Sometimes too much. He had a specific weakness for red dresses in particular. Who knew why, and God knew why he wouldn’t put himself in the line of fire, only others. Really, Steve despised him.    

Making his way to street level Steve trained his eyes on the target. A borderline disastrously tall woman, she was little more than skin and bones clothed in a mini firehouse-red dress. With a well-groomed and graying man, mildly handsome, she leaned down to peck him on the check as they pranced across the street towards a fancy diner.   

Steve swallowed hard. According to Maul the woman was unhappy in her relationship, she just didn’t know it yet. Steve was charged with “rescuing” her by “sweeping her off her feet”. Steve had attempted the sweeping before and had failed every time. It seemed Maul’s definition of unhappy and the actual women’s definition differed greatly. Still, Steve complied. Why? Long story…

Clad from head to toe in black Steve approached the couple. Sighing once again, he dove right in front of their way. “Unhand that flower, you fiend!” Steve cringed at the scripted lines.

“I beg your pardon?” The man asked, taken aback by the strangely dressed figure suddenly before his fiancé and he.

Without further ado Steve reached out and decked the man, cleanly busting his nose, and made a grab for the woman planning to sweep her dramatically off her feet bridal-style to the chores of cheers for justice and romance.

He instead was met by her fist, pushed forward with more force than Steve could ever hope to muster. Turns out the woman was not thin for lack of care, but for excessive training. She was a marathon runner but recently had taken up kickboxing as a side hobby. Just for fun. “You asshole!” She cried as Steve was smacked upside the head with enough force to crack a watermelon.

Staggering, he felt the pelting stings of purse buckles shortly after. Hating the thought of running but feeling the current case had miserably crumbled Steve turned tail and ran. He even forgot to use the special smoke bombs Maul entrusted to him. He knew Maul was watching. He wondered what went through that man’s mind during times like these.

Fleeing, holding onto his jarred mask knowing it was the only reason he hadn’t been arrested three cases back, Steve took to the hills. Crouched in a distant alleyway he fought to catch his breath.

“Well,” He heard Maul’s voice next to him. The country boy slid down the wall to sit next to him, puffing out his cheeks. “That wasn’t bad.” Steve choked on his own despair. “That woman is obviously too far gone to be helped. No matter; there are plenty more where she came from!” Slapping Steve on the back Maul stood and brushed off his pants. Looking to the sky he posed magnificently. “The night is still young… come! We have much work to do before the sun shines once more.”

Standing as well Steve wept openly as he followed his partner, no, his commander. Why was he doing this again? 

Aside

Greetings Followers!

Did you know? Yesterday was my birthday! This is good news except for the fact it took up the whole damn day! From work to celebrating with family and friends I had little time to pull something presentable together for this week. As such there will be no weekly short today. Posts will start back up next week if they know what’s good for them!

As always thank you for your continued interest and support. I truly appreciate it.

Sincerely, April Schomberg 

Little Lady Princess

Lady looked out the window dismally. The day was beautiful, gorgeous, perfect even. The sun smiled down on the land and everything on it. Birds chirped, rejoicing the recent hatching of their offspring. Dogs barked and people talked. A group of children, Lady recognized some of them from around the town, were playing a game of ball just outside her house. She felt it must have been a cruel joke by God for them to pick such a spot at such a time.

Lady was mature for her age not by nature but by upbringing. She knew this and felt the difference between herself and her peers. She often lay in bed at night and mourned for her youth, tossed aside in favor of someone else’s agenda.  She knew the opportunities she would be granted were beyond measure and well worth her trouble, but she could not dash the sound of distant laughter from her mind for all the bright future in the world.

“Lady.” Her mother called, entering her bedroom. Turning from the window Lady curtsied. “Now there’s my little princess.” Examining her daughter, she straightened her dress and fluffed her hair while quizzing. “Let’s begin today by going over what we learned yesterday.” Walking to the front of the room her mother stood in such a way that would make a marble statue jealous.

“A proper lady,” Lady began. “Keeps a decent house and home, thinks much and speaks little, and can silence a room with just a look. She reserves her bedroom behavior for the bedroom; it is not for the world to see therefore employing the valuable moral of “leaving something to the imagination”.

Lady didn’t understand everything she said. She knew at a young age she was promised to a boy a few ages older than her, but in all the years since she had met him not once. Her mother promised they would meet when he was ready and that in the meantime she should work on improving herself for her future position.   

“Good.” Her mother, once in her own position (so she was told) smiled. “Today we’re going outside.” Lady perked up, daring to hold her breath for hope of feeling the sun directly against her skin. “We are going to practice walking up and down stairs.” Her mother elaborated, clapping excitedly. Lady fought hard to maintain her composure and not throw herself to the floor in exasperation.

Handed a pair of new heels, considerably taller than any she’d worn before, she was led out into the hall. Standing before the grandest decent in the house Lady swallowed nervously. “A real lady looks the most graceful when descending a staircase in heels and a dress.” Her mother said over her shoulder.

Lady took a deep breath, gathered her skirts, and took the first step. It started out shakily but with each clap of her heels she became more confident. She lowered her skirts just enough and reached for the railing hoping to convey eloquence. It only took a second for her skirts to mingle with her heels and form one budging mass, sending her tumbling down the majority of the flight.

Disoriented she heard the clack of her own mother’s heels as she rushed down the stairs after her fallen child. Hoisted up, sorting up from down, Lady counted her bruises but sent a quick prayer in thanks she was still alive. Sighing, her mother held her head.      

“Maybe we should start smaller…” She looked at Lady encouragingly. “I’ll have to think of something… For now why don’t you go outside for some fresh air? You’ve seemed pale lately.”

Blinking, Lady broke into a grin and ran upstairs back into her room as if nothing had happened. Changing into a more manageable outfit she dashed out the front door without a care in the world. 

Cold

The water in the tub was cold. That was ok; Mellissa couldn’t feel it by then. She sighed. Draping her arm over the edge of the bathtub she rested her cheek skin against skin.

Empty. That is what she felt. The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but for Mellissa it was different. She’d held one person close in her heart, and now they were no longer there. It was a breakup but not a conventional or easy one.

Selfishly, she only mourned for the hole in her own heart. She didn’t want to be alone, soaking in an ice cold bath meant to relax. She’d lost all track of time, but thought two hours must have passed. Her mother would warn her against a cold, but Mellissa didn’t much mind. Her heart was broken, smashed into a million pieces. She sighed again and fought tears.

Slipping her hand back into the tub, she sunk lower and lower until the water enveloped her entirely. She wanted to breathe, to break through the surface again instantly, but refused. Instead she held her breath and thought. Thought of what had been, of what was, and of what could be.

What had been was the past. She could not go back and change things, no matter how much she wanted to. It was a cruel fact of life. What was, simply was. She was where she was right then in that moment. Really, wasn’t that what mattered most? Which left her with the future, her future. She’d often heard the expression that every day was the first day of the rest of your life. She wondered if that really was the truth? Did your past not follow you? What haunts you today will surly still haunt you tomorrow, will it not?

Some would say to learn from the past and never make the same mistake twice. She supposed that made sense, though it was a bit pitiless. She resigned herself that no matter what, no matter how fast you ran, you could not outrun your past. But should you be able to, or even want to? The past is what made you you after all. It shaped you, sometimes gently with love, sometime roughly with contempt, into the person you looked at in the mirror.

A question remained: Did she like who she was? Did she desire to let the person she was continue in existence? She was left with one simple alternative: Either stay under or rise up. Was she worth it? Was her life worth it?    

She opened her eyes and looked up through the wavy glass covering her. Her bathroom lights shined down on her steadily. In her mind she breathed almost in a resigned way. I suppose, she thought and rolled her eyes. In a rush she sat up straight, gasping a long awaited breath. 

 

*Note: Sorry for the late post. My internet was out until about 1 am this morning (Boo!). Hopefully it wont happen again!