The Dancer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

She had been dancing ever since she was a little girl. Her whole life had practically been on stage. But what happens when she gets tired? Will she do what's best for her, or she'll opt for the safe option?

"Are you ready yet? Your turn is soon."

A voice was heard from behind the folding screen. She said nothing; instead, she simply nodded, as if the person on the other side could see her. She was almost ready. She turned to the mirror next to her, inspecting herself. Her eyes trailed up and down her figure, nearly glaring at her outfit. Yet another one those princess dresses, tailored just for her. She let out a sigh and looked away. Staring at it right now wouldn't make any difference.

She stepped out, now visible to the rest of the room. Her mother was waiting for her there, corset in hands. The moment she saw her, she stood up. "It was about time!"

She stayed silent and turned her back to her mother, as the other woman proceeded to wrap the corset around her, and began to tie it. As the strings behind her back tightened, she felt the familiar discomfort return. When it was properly tied, her mother stepped back. "Done!" She said with a proud smile.

The young woman glanced at her for a moment, offering the most convincing smile she could manage. She turned to look at the mirror again. She knew that there was no point in trying to breathe. The piece of garment around her was playing its part just fine, constricting her lungs, making it harder for air to enter. It felt as if a constrictor was wrapped around her, gradually getting tighter and tighter until she asphyxiated. Except nothing of that sort happened. The end did not come. The corset did not even become tighter. Instead, it remained the same, dragging out her torture without giving her the eventual release of death.

She smiled at the mirror, giving herself a weak smile. She felt like it was her poor attempt at trying to convince herself that it was fine, to keep herself from breaking down. There was no point in doing so; she knew her mothers reaction, after all. You have to go out there, she would say. You should show your best self, don't let the people down, she would say.

It had always been like that. She had always been a performer, ever since she was little. Day after day, she would put up plays, dancing along the stage for the audience. Every time she played a different role; one time she would be seen doing pirouettes, while another she would be mimicking the local hip hop group. Sometimes, when her schedule was especially packed, she had to take multiple roles in the same day. Every day there were different shows, to appeal to different crowds.

"Is there anything that you haven't taken care of?"

Her mothers voice was heard. She turned to look at her and shook her head.

"Alright. In that case, may I escort you outside?"

She nodded, and followed her mother who, soon, left the room. It was time for the show to begin.

When she stepped on stage, she behaved accordingly. Gracefully, she carried herself along the stage, following the steps of that nights dance, grabbing her partner's hand and dancing with them.

After a particularly abrupt movement, she felt the corset getting tighter again. The sensation was something akin to a punch on the stomach, taking her breath away for a moment there. But she couldn't stop - she had to keep going. Because she knew. She knew that the moment she showed weakness, the crowd would be ready to pounce on her, to devour her like vultures and leave nothing behind.

So, she continued. She went on and on, and she wouldn't stop until the audience was pleased.

She didn't know for how long this had been going on, but she was getting tired. She wondered what would happen if she allowed herself to fall. What if, for once, she wore comfortable clothes, if she allowed herself to be who she really was. But she knew she couldn't. The people were looking at her, critical eyes piercing into her, eager to belittle and make comments.

She was having trouble breathing, now. Her breath was coming out in short puffs, stomach hitting against the material tightly wrapped around her chest every time she attempted to calm herself down.This was a daily occurrence; she would wear the corset regardless of her outfit, to maintain a petite and feminine appearance, her mother said. She was a girl, after all. She should do what girls are supposed to do and strive to be and look the way she was supposed to, no questions asked.

The only times she would be able to be without it were at the weekends, when she was locked away in the safety of her room. But even then, the feeling of the corset around her wouldn't cease, making her feel as if she was asphyxiating, and the bruises it caused would be an ugly dark purple, and painful to touch.

Her mother often encouraged her to keep going regardless, reminding her about the huge importance of the audience's opinions. A good performer ought to do their best to make peoples time worthwhile, she said.

She was right. She should try her best and make it worth it for them, keep them entertained no matter the cost. She should keep on going, even if the make-up on her face felt too much, and her corset too suffocating. What good was she otherwise?

She would continue to do just that, to be on stage until her final breath.


Submitted: November 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021 astromanced. All rights reserved.

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