Polished personal–I Hope You Dance

They told her that she would never do it. They looked her straight in the eyes and told her that her dreams would never be achieved. They attempted to dismantle the passion rising inside of her, tried to quench the spark of fire igniting in her soul, armed with words dripping with malice. She began to believe these horrendous monstrosities after a time. She sat outside, leaning against a huge oak tree, her head bowed in defeat. The wind scattered the fallen leaves at her feet, and they danced.

She thought about her dreams; how all she ever wanted to do was dance. How they laughed at her when they found her pirouetting in front of her mirror when she was supposed to be practicing her French. Embarrassment scorned her, hosting a party in her mind, and she was lost among the unrecognizable faces of its friends. And when Embarrassment’s cousin, Shame, arrived and slapped her cheeks red, the party really got started. Only this was a party that she didn’t want to be at.  Her tears were reminiscent of tempests as they scattered her face and clouded her eyes.

It was only when those tears had subsided that she heard something quite extraordinary; the wind spoke to her. It curled around her fingers and got tangled in her hair. Then, it whispered to her.

“I hope you dance,” it breathed. And then, just as quickly as it came, it had gone.

She had thought that it was just her ears playing tricks on her, telling her the words that she so desperately needed to hear. So, she got up and withdrew into the sunset.

The next day, she returned to the oak tree, clutching her side from the bullets that ricocheted between her ribs. She collapsed against the tree, and screamed into the silence. It was the kind of scream that leaves you heaving from the effort to stop. Blood had blossomed in roses around the bullet wounds that their words had left, painting her hands crimson. She sat and watched the sun set in the amber sky, trying to quiet her breathing. And then, she heard something quite extraordinary; the leaves in the big oak tree spoke to her—they whispered to her, each in turn, as they fell from their spot on the tree’s crown.

“I hope you dance,” they said as they fell, “I hope you dance. I hope you dance. I hope you dance.”

She looked at the first fallen leaf, and picked it up. It was the colour of hope. And so, pocketing the leaf, she got up and withdrew into the sunset.

She had returned to the oak tree the next day, once again grief-stricken and broken. She held the leaf that she had taken the day before in her hand, looking at it in complete heartache. On this night, the sky was amaranthine, a colour that can only be described as deep. She leaned her head against the big oak tree’s trunk, and closed her eyes. And then, she heard something quite extraordinary; the oak tree spoke to her. His voice was ragged, and sounded like warmth and light.

“I hope you dance,” boomed the great oak tree.

She grinned in wonder, doubt fleeing from her mind, and hugged the tree.

“Thank you,” said she, “I hope I dance too.”

Then, leaving the tree, she walked home. But she was not alone.

“I hope you dance,” murmured the sky in a voice of silk.

She grinned even more broadly and kept walking. But she was spoken to yet again.

“I hope you dance,” said the setting sun in a voice that sounded how marigolds look.

She looked up at the sun, and smiled. She was never alone, she realized. They were always there. And they made her aware of this the whole way home.

“I hope you dance,” sighed the moon.

“I hope you dance,” sung the stars in voices like evening sopranos.

“I hope you dance,” bellowed the earth.

And, suddenly, she was considerably lighter than she had been before. She no longer was embarrassed or ashamed. She felt liberated.

When she got home, her mother cried;

“Where on earth have you been? You need to come down from the clouds and face the reality. This isn’t right and you know it.”

But she wasn’t listening to her mother, because she was listening to the rain that had begun to fall outside. It was pouring, and the rain was speaking to her, much like everything else had that night;

“I hope you dance. I hope you dance. I hope you dance.”

She moved to go to her room, but her father blocked the staircase.

“You don’t just go wondering about in your own world! You foolish little girl, go to your room now!”

But she wasn’t listening to her father’s angry words, for she was listening to the booming thunder outside;

“I hope you dance,” rumbled the thunder in a deep, guttural voice.

She rushed past her father, up the stairs and into her room, where she shut her door, and flopped onto the bed, listening to the voices outside. She spun in her room, her eyes falling upon a very large and impressive conch shell that lay idle on her bookshelf. She picked it up and held it to her ear.

“I hope you dance,” echoed the shell, in a voice that told tales of salty waves lapping at the beach’s shore. She replaced the shell on her book shelf, and waltzed to the center of her room.

“I hope I dance,” she said. So she did.

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