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He spun me around, the hardwood floor smooth under my feet. Leaning me into a dip, I was then jerked back up to look into his green eyes. He smiled at me, pushing me back as I jumped and ran across the dance floor, then back to him, I was lifted elegantly into the air, seemingly soaring above. I was then lowered gently back to the floor. Our reflection in the mirror that stretched across the room sparkled as we danced. We paused, laughing.
“Break time?” I panted out.
He looked down at the floor, rubbing his neck. “Yeah, no kidding.”
My arms were sore from the past two weeks, my muscles screaming as I went to open the mini-fridge in the corner of the room. I grabbed two water bottles, tossing one to him. He caught it without a problem, practically ripping off the cap.
“Woah there, don’t eat it!” I laughed as he gulped down more than half of the bottle.
“I’m… Really… Thirsty…” He said between gulps, “You’re heavy.”
“Watch it.” I glared at him, trying not to burst out laughing. I set my water bottle back into the fridge.
Turning, I pulled my arm across my chest. I closed my eyes. Breathed deeply. We were preparing for a dance competition in New York. It was in six months, eight days, and currently, about ten hours. We had been prepping these dance move for nearly five weeks. Planning. Plotting. This way, that way, start here, spin there, up, down, turn around. Merry-go-round. That's what it seemed like.
I was jolted back into the warmth of the dance room as he set his hands on my shoulders.
“Ready yet?” He said quietly.
I nodded, walking slowly across the room, the small window there showcasing our small Arkansas town. I sighed, turned once more. I swallowed hard, my throat already dry despite the water.
“Lets run through again, from the beginning.” I reached over to the stereo beside the window, clicking the play button. Track seven began to play. Piano.
He motioned for me to start, something we did constantly. The smallest wave of his hand sent rhythms through my mind, maps. I walked slowly, towards him, holding out my arm. His grey shirt clung to his waist, as I’m sure my tank top did to me. We were going on our fiftieth hour in this studio. Man, if that mirror could talk.
He held out his arm as we walked slowly in a circle around each other. Seven steps. Our feet moving slower and slower as the piano began to get louder. One turn. There was no singing in this song, but I heard our lyrics. Those were all the vocals I needed.
“Left,” I whispered.
“Three.” He whispered back. We had our own language.
His hand met with my hip, my finger tips with his shoulder. His shoulders tensed, as did his neck. The music intensified, right on cue. He lifted me for a second, enough time for me to swing my legs around. Our hands grasped one another’s, he spun me three times. Then he dipped me, jerking me back. I circled around him, he grabbed my arm, throwing me across his body. Spinning me again, I pointed my toes as he lowered me to the ground, still spinning me. I held tightly to his arm. A few seconds later, I was standing again. We were back to back. I held out my right arm, him his left. I bit the insides of my cheeks, straining as I lowered into a split. Our hands were now intertwined. The piano softened. He lifted me slowly, now facing me.
By the end of our practice, it looked like we had swam in the ocean. We were both soaked in sweat. I tightened my pony tail, just the small act making my shoulders groan. I looked at myself in the mirror, my makeup smeared beneath my eyes, my face pink. The sun was beginning to set outside, the glass foggy from the heat in here, and the cold out there. The room glowed, the dim lights dimmer than usual. I really needed to pay that electric bill. I sighed, stretching out my arms.
My bag rest in the corner beside the fridge. I walked over to it, lifting it slowly. Allowing my muscles to adjust to the weight of my belongings in which the bag contained, I heaved the pack up onto my shoulder. I was to hot to put a coat on, so instead I just wrapped and tied it around my waist lazily. Six months. Eight days. Seven hours.
I turned, curious as to why he was being so quiet. “Hey, are you ready to…”
Empty. The room was empty. I turned back to the door, scared. That fear soon evolved into petrification as my eyes fell upon bars. The door had bars on it. It was metal instead of wood. It had bars. Metal bars. I panicked. What was happening? I dropped my bag, shaking the bars, trying to call for help.
“Whats happening?! ANYONE?!” Tears began to fall down my cheeks. I spun back to the room. It was white. Cold. A single bed, a dresser, and no mirror on the wall. The wooden floors replaced by concrete. My window, more bars. The glow was gone, a cloudy musk swapped in. A knock. Quiet.
“Shaliegh… Do you want some lunch?” A man on the other side of the door. I sprung at the bars, screaming at him to let me out. He didn’t comply. Instead he back away. “Still having some… trouble remembering me then.” He straightened, adjusting a small white badge clipped to his shirt pocket. “I’ll come back tomorrow then.” The man turned, a sniffle escaping him. His hands were shaky as he punched a small red button on the wall. A loud buzzing filled the air, and a door opened. The man stepped through the door.
I stood by the window for a long time. There was a sign outside that said “Mental Facility,” but that didn’t seem to make much sense to me. How did I get here in the first place. At least I still have the competition in New York. I overheard someone in the hall say that my trial for it was moved to a later date. Six months, eight days, five hours.
More practice, I guess.