The Healing Horse, Ch. 36, Scene 3: The Event

This it, the big event. Karen has seen ballet before, but not the Bolshoi. Read on because the story gets even better. 

Scene 3: The Event

Karen took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

Mama rubbed the lipstick onto her mouth. “Now, open your eyes and pucker up.”

Mama folded a tissue in half. “Now, pull your lips back and press this between them, so there’s no extra lipstick.”

Karen pressed the paper and then smiled at the pink print of her lips. “Do I get Cleopatra eyes?”

Mama laughed. “No. You’re too young, and you don’t need them. You’re perfect, just as you are. Let’s go.”

Karen rode in the front seat of the car next to Mama and kept an eye on her. The location of the Shrine Auditorium would bring back memories. They turned the corner onto West Jefferson and Mama sighed but did not cry.

“Is this hard for you, Mama? I mean about Daddy?”

Mama pointed at a building on the other side of the street from the hall. “That was his hamburger stand. I wish he could be here, now. He’d be so proud of you, just like I am.”

Mama parked, and they walked through the arches into the Shrine Auditorium. In her new dress and shoes, with the velvet headband and matching purse, Karen felt not only pretty but strong and poised. Her body moved the way Gilberto had taught her as she and Mama joined the crowd in the foyer.

Someone touched her on the shoulder. “Hello, sweetheart.”

She knew that gentle voice and turned with a big smile on her face. Gilberto wore a white tuxedo and a black tie, like all the other men in the room. He gave Karen a hug and led her and Mama to seats in the middle of the first row, just behind the orchestra. They all sat down and waited.

In a few minutes, the famous opening bars of Swan Lake played, followed by a trumpet fanfare. The curtains parted, and Prince Siegfried, dressed all in white, sailed across the stage in one impossibly high leap after another. The audience applauded, and the swan dancers appeared, beautiful women in flowing, gossamer skirts, dancing in unison. At last, the lovely Odette entered from stage left with her court, and Siegfried knelt before her…

Karen could not look away. With each act, each scene, and each costume change, she pledged deeply within herself to become the dancer she wanted to be. These dancers were the image of what she wanted to become. They were her inspiration, heroes, and heroines.

After the last curtain call, the audience stood and applauded for ten minutes. Quiet fell, and people began filing out. Gilberto leaned close to Karen. “I have another surprise for you, sweetheart. Follow me!”

Instead of leading her and Mama out of the theater, he led them to the stairs at the end of the stage. They followed him up, and he held the red velvet curtain back for them. Karen’s heart pounded. Where was he taking them?

Original text ©2023 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

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