I loved you from afar for so long.

I first saw you on stage at The Nutcracker, and immediately I wanted to be in your arms. I was so young then, a child — far too young for this kind of love — and you were already older than I realized, but I had no thought to our age difference. You had the ability to sweep me off of my feet and carry me away from all my troubles, and that’s all I cared about.

But you knew I was too young. You were kind to me, but made no demands, and when I left you to pursue other pastimes, you let me go.

I was 16 when I thought I was ready to pursue you. I was barely a woman, limber and energetic, but I knew that was the kind of girl you liked. So I went for it.

That was before I found out how cruel you could be.

First it was my weight. If I was serious about you, I’d have to lose the weight, you said. And then, when I didn’t do what you asked, you hurt me.

The punishment started with little things. A sprained ankle here and there. I wasn’t too bright, you see. I didn’t know exactly what you wanted me to do. But the day you pushed me down in front of my entire jazz class and dislocated my knee, I started to get the message.

After that incident, you and I parted ways for a while. I healed, but not completely. We met again that year after college, when we both worked at Busch Gardens. I was more mature, a little more savvy, but I couldn’t help but fall back in love with you. We danced the tarantella every day. When we were together, I felt exhilarated. Beautiful. Graceful.

But I still wasn’t good enough for you. I saw you with those other girls, those younger girls, those prettier girls. You had plenty of pas de deux to dance with them, and I got jealous.

We had fought that morning, you and I. During our warm-ups, you threatened to hurt me again. I ignored you. I didn’t think you would possibly do it again.

But you did.

It was the last show of the day. I was exhausted and sweating under that hot sun, and we danced one last tarantella. I made a turn, and you pushed my knee out of place. The same knee that you dislocated before. I collapsed, screaming, on the stage. And suddenly, you were nowhere to be found.

A few days later, at a follow-up visit with my doctor, he told me that the muscles around my knee, because of the repeated injury, were intrinsically weak. I went through physical therapy to get back to baseline, but I would have to continue to maintain my leg muscles for the rest of my life if I wanted to not dislocate my knee a third time.

That’s when I knew you had broken me in a way nobody could fix.

That’s when I realized you and I were never really a good fit.

L'etoile
"L'etoile" by Edgar Degas

But you, Dance (Terpsichore, Nataraja, Cernunnos, or whatever you wish to be called), you are a bigger dream than I could ever hope to catch. I still love you…I always will. But I will love you from afar, watching you leap and promenade with my dancer friends, the ones who are strong enough to stay with you.

I know you still love me, too, in your way. I see you in the eyes of my waltz partner. I hear your heartbeat in the rhythm of the songs I sing. But I stay on the safe side of your love now, because I am afraid of what you might do to me if I wander too close to your brilliance.


This week, my Indie Ink challenge came from FlamingNyx, who wrote:

Write an uncensored letter to the one person that broke you in ways no-one would ever be able to fix.

I hope FlamingNyx can forgive me for taking a little bit of artistic license, since Dance is not technically one person. Everything else about the story is true, however.

You can read Leah’s response to my challenge here (it’ll be up by the end of the week).

Brisé (Broken)
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  • Marian

    sheesh and i was getting all agitated and ready to start a fight up in here. nobody knocks supermaren to her knees! 🙂

  • Wonderful story! A great take on your challenge.

  • Oh Maren – how very brave of you to step away from this kind of broken love. I have no doubt that it is your love of you that gave you the courage to manage that passion from a distance and that is most commendable. I am sure this was not an easy piece to write, thank you for sharing.

  • Random Girl

    I love the angle you took on this challenge. It was so unexpected but the source of your hurt really is a lover of sorts and you gave a function a life and showed how complex and complicated love can be, regardless of your object of affection.

  • Stefan

    I really enjoyed reading this piece. It flowed in a way that kept me anchored to the words on my screen.nnAbsolutely lovely!

  • Mandy

    Wow, Maren. So beautifully written. I love what you did with this prompt and the artistic license you took. Perfect. I’m sorry for your pain, but this piece is (more) evidence of your strength.

  • Trish

    Oh I loved this! Beautifully written. And a nice surprise at the end.

  • It was beautiful. I winced when you talked about breaking knees and I couldn’t believe that someone would do that to a dancer! Great narrative

  • FlamingNyx

    Bravo! Stunning! I love the artistic license taken. nAs I was reading it something told me this was a piece about dancing because what happened to your knees happened to my ankles…nWell done.

  • Absolutely wonderfully amazing. It wasn’t until the very end I realized you were talking about “dance” and not some older gentleman lover. Truly amazing.

  • Melissa R

    Loooove this! As someone in the dance world, I’ve seen many people who went through a similarly rough love affair with dance. It can be a hard lover to keep. Your pace was great and I love how you took us through the breaking-up/getting-back-together bit that we do in so many relationships. My one comment is that you almost didn’t need the last sentence. The pain was evident throughout the piece that you could have probably have ended it with ‘brilliance.’ Just a thought, but really a beautiful response.

  • That’s a good point! I wrote the piece when it was raining, and my knee was twinging a lot, which is probably why I put it in. But as I reread the piece, I see you’re right; that last sentence really doesn’t need to be said. Thanks. 🙂

  • Wendryn

    Wow. My brother was a dancer. I tried to be, but seeing as my shoulders were wider than most of the guys’ shoulders, I was quickly dissuaded. I loved it, though, and still do. You caught the emotion and the pain beautifully.

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  • Sir

    Beautiful. I know a couple of women who started dancing very young and stayed with it through college. Their knees and ankles are shot now, as well, but they still love it in strange and almost unnatural ways.

  • Kat

    Your heart break is so apparent. I can feel your sadness. Love your spin in the letter, but sad you can’t do what you enjoyed anymore.

  • I love and relate to this. Beautifully done, my dear friend. Absolutely gorgeous.