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floats on air

6 Feb

She used to be a dancer. For six years before she turned thirteen, Cora was a ballerina. She likes that about herself. She thinks it makes her really special. And maybe it does. Maybe if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be so graceful now, so lithesome and agile well into her twenties. She prances beside me like a young gazelle when we’re walking down the street toward the taco truck for lunch. She tiptoes around our apartment, a frail little beauty. We were standing on the balcony looking out over the city last night when I told her she seems happy now. She turned to face me slowly, tucked a long brown tendril behind my ear, then gripped my shoulders tight.
“If I’m not,” she said, “I’m almost there. And I’ve come this far because of you.”
She makes me feel stronger, braver than I was three years ago when I was quiet and plain, a mousy girl with a half-undone french braid tumbling down her back.  She cups my hands and blows kisses into them, says to carry her love with me, to protect her, to fight. I only pretend to have the courage she envies. When we fall asleep together, I see the two of us tussling between nightmares, two drunk skeletons who’ve forgotten how to waltz.

 

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