Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Path of Pain to an Alternate World

aletta mes 2006
Ronnie sat on the side of the bed staring vacuously into space, but not for long., It was not healthy to let her mind wander, not any more, and it was inconceivable that it would ever be again. she would have to wait until little sister had her shower. Time was not passing very quickly at all, no matter how greatly she needed it to. Ronnie's mouth just inside the lip was swollen and sore from all the biting she had been doing. Pain causing herself to remain distracted from the place, that very dark place which her mind kept wandering back to.

She rocked back and forth trying desperately to think and feel anything but the touch of his skin, the smell of him, even the taste of him. Ronnie had been keeping a pearl hat pin by her bed, the pain of sinking it into her thigh would stop the thought and sensations streaming into her. Life would not be entirely her own until she could control it. She was angry and hurt but not defeated.

In some twisted way it may even have helped that her mother had been less than kind, less than helpful. Her rapist was mother's friend and her response "you just don't want me to have friends" raised her anger to such levels the sadness burned off, instantly and did not come back. The shower stopped running and she put on her dressing gown and slid quickly into the shower, and as she had for the preceding week scrubbed and scrubbed until her skin was raw and all she could smell was the scent of her soap, the one given her as a present from mom because she had admired the illustration on the wrapper of the bar of "Maya". It suited her, because the scent too was aggressive, angry, passionate.

Sleep was fitful, interrupted by sensations of crawling skin and the awful feeling there was someone hiding in the shadows of her room. Ronnie tried praying but it was dissatisfying, she felt disassociated from a god who did not save her. What kind of deity gives a rapist free reign on a girl, and innocent child who does not even have the kindness of a mother to come home to. In the early morning Ronnie was up, stretching, checking out her posture and alignment in the mirror.

Slowly, over a few more weeks the girl in the mirror became Ronnie and Ronnie herself disappeared. The girl looking back at her was a dancer, a graceful slip of girl with no personality of her own. A beautiful creature with complete control over her body, able to keep away pain in favour of beauty. She was alone with her favourite music every moment she could. Her teddy bear was shelved and in that sacred place next to her bed her ballet slippers now were there at night to watch over her.

Ronnie had not liked her life a very long time now, six months for a child is a very long time. Her father sprung it on the family that he had a new job that would take him to the other side of the world and all things familiar, despite all protestations were gone. No more toys, no more school chums, no more relatives or pets. Her mother, always unstable and largely unavailable had become even more so in the months after moving overseas, and her little sister, well she was only three, daddy was either working or dealing with mother and sister. Ronnie was "older" and could manage to spend some time alone.

The only escape left in her entire life was ballet class. concentration and pain to control her body so she would become the perfect instrument for a choreographer to paint with made the escape to the other realm easy. Simply, when the music played and the grippy rosin had been evened out by crushing it into fine powder underfoot her spirit, the indefinable soul driven person inside took over. For as long as the music and the rosin held out she could dance and live in another world where none of this had ever happened, nor ever could.

Ronnie had several months to her immediate goal, an audition. The offer made to her by a choreographer with whom she had taken some master classes was going to become a reality. Every fibre in her body was working only to that goal and nothing else. If she was not totally dedicated before, the attack on her innocent body had made it a certainty, it would happen. Parents were no obstacle, mother was self involved and father was involved with mother's needs and would happily concede whatever it took to make life as easy as possible.

Her school work remained immaculate and done on time, she now spoke English as well as anyone else. Those clever people at the board of education had made it so easy to succeed in this grade because she had done it all before, in dutch, yes, but it had not seriously warranted pulling her back a grade as if she was an idiot. It did seem as if the world was conspiring against her. It could work for her, Ronnie had the determination not to let the bastards win by breaking her spirit, not the school board, not immigration, not her mother, and not her rapist, most definitely not him.

She knew how hard it would be. Her hips, her Flemish hips, were too wide. Though a few months ago she was the right height by now she was a couple of inches over the ideal. Her turnout was barely sufficient and her extension would need a lot of improvement. What her teacher did not know, was that all the discouraging words were not working, Ronnie took all those words and used them to build herself a master plan, it was critique of the most constructive kind.

What was unthinkable was returning to being just Ronnie, a child., that had forever been taken away from her. If her plans for a life in the ballet would fall through she would have to face all the demons at once. Demons such as the impossible role of the virgin bride which this little catholic child would never be. Demons such as the other men who would want to touch her, and were perfectly wonderful people, but she could not bear their touch and would not want them feeling hurt by her revulsion. Perhaps the greatest demon was her anger, which had been building up for months and could take on a life of it's own, she could not let the demons out.

So no matter how her toes hurt and bled it was nothing compared to the pain of having to be "normal", when that ship had sailed and sunk in the harbour, but not before being lit up in flames lapping at every timber and sail. For as long as she could keep dancing, she could be civil to her fellow persons, laugh at their jokes and ignore comments such as "she's stuck up" and "I think her bun might be wound a little too tight". If she could keep on dancing she could be a good daughter and sister. If she kept on dancing she would be tired enough to sleep a few hours from the sheer exhaustion.

Ronnie knew eventually her body, which was clearly wrong for the ballet, wide hips and hyperextended limbs, but it would buy her time. Each passing hour and day would leave the horror of that day, that sweltering summer day pinned under the fat sweaty, hairy heaving bastard far behind. She could envision herself melting into the ground, reassembling as a slight figure in a gauzy skirt, executing perfect fouèttés and seemingly suspended at the top of every jèté so the audience would gasp. Eventually a time would come, a time after the audition, many auditions, many performances, many, many more classes when the sweaty bastard was not even an image anymore, he lived on only in the occasional inexplicable anxiety triggered by a smell or taste or aversion to certain people. Unfortunately the time would come when those perfect fouèttés and jètés were excruciating and another plan needed to be put into place or the demons would do all they could to destroy her. for now Ronnie was dancing, and it was good.


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