"In the Dark"
Today is just not her day.
Twice already, she has twisted her ankle at the barre, earning snickers from the other girls and a disparaging glance from Madame. After rehearsal, she has to fight to keep her head high, to keep the tears at bay.
Her heart aches for release, for the freedom of that large abandoned dressing room, for the comforting presence of her Angel. But upon her arrival, the room is quiet, and stays that way for the next hour.
He has forgotten their appointment.
No longer does she want to sing. No longer does she want to do anything other than sit passively on her little cot, staring off into space.
Instead, she makes her way slowly to the dark of the little chapel down the hall.
The dark used to scare her. Used to terrify her. In the dark, there is uncertainty, and pain, and death, and memories of her father.
But in the dark there is also anonymity. There is a chance, just for a moment, to forget oneself in the silence.
How she longs to do so.
When she arrives, however, it is not silent, nor is it dark. In a far corner, there are sobs, sobs she recognizes. A lone candle sputters at the altar, forgotten.
The sobs cease. "Christine?"
She pushes her longings aside and comes to sit by her friend. "Yes."
Meg holds something in her lap with one hand while she wipes at her eyes with the other. "I know you come here to get away... I'm sorry for disturbing you."
Christine gently places a hand against Meg's cheek; the skin there burns with shame and the remnants of hot tears. "Sometimes, we all need to get away."
Meg nods, slowly. Her gaze floats down to her lap, and Christine's gaze follows.
"What is it?"
The candlelight caresses care-worn, fading satin. "My slippers finally broke after rehearsal." She holds up the pair of them; the straps of one have snapped, its twin looking to follow suit.
"Well, that's good, isn't it? You should be able to start Pointe soon."
Meg sighs. "I know. It's just that... These were my first." Her gaze flickers shyly up to Christine's, then alights on the slippers again. "It's difficult to let go."
Christine nods in understanding. "Yes," she says simply.
Meg reaches out for Christine, pulling her close and pressing her lips against her friend's forehead. "Thank you." She gets up, hurries away. In the flurry of the girl's departure, the candle finally goes out, the smoke whispering incense-like, filling the small space.
Christine touches her fingers to her forehead in wonderment. Meg has never kissed her before, even in greeting. She knows Meg is reserved, even with her closest friends and family. She knows this because she is Meg's closest friend.
In the dark, Christine's fingers entwine themselves and rest on her lap as she sits and thinks. In the dark, Christine has forgotten what has brought her to the chapel in the first place. She will remember soon enough, but for the moment, she is content, her veins humming with an energy she has yet to identify.
In the dark, it is silent, but for the sound of her measured breathing.
In the dark, Christine smiles.