Spotlight

Ballerina

A thousand spotlights
The fluid babble of the audience
The stage, gleaming like the sun
All that open space
A map, unrolled, just waiting for an explorer
Inside my ballet shoes my feet begin to itch
Everything is holding its breath
My ears ring with unheard silence
I am ready.

Without warning, the orchestra burst into song
And audience are struck dumb in awe
The music swells
The high, sweet notes of the violins
The patient cellos singing softly
The trumpets crying out in pride
All intermingling, blending
Separating and joining
Reaching higher and higher
Soaring above the clouds
A skyscraper of music

I am more than ready:
And I rise on tiptoe
My arms in the air
And fly out of the wings and across the stage
I dance
Mindlessly
The open stage surrounding me,
The audience adoring me!
The spotlights searing my eyes,
The orchestra filling my ears and
Making them throb with music, my heartbeat
And this moment is so perfect
That I must be dreaming…

But then I slip in the mud
Trip, begin to fall
Barely catch myself
And stand upright,
Facing the headlights.

I am not a ballerina after all.
I am a just a girl
Standing, alone, in a muddy field
In the glare my cars headlights
Dancing my solo in my pyjamas.

Headlights

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A Day at the Dunes

The contents of the overcrowded minibus spilled out onto the sand.

After being cooped up for hours in that sweaty tin-can bus, the teenagers exploded.

For hours, the golden sun gazed at the crazy teenagers in wonder

Watching as they ran and screamed and slid and clambered over the endless sand dunes

They chased, and raced, and tumbled, and played games until the sun began to sink

Then, as one, they collapsed at the bottom of a dune, exhausted

Sand caked every inch of their sticky suncream skin

They lay sprawled on the sand, using each other as pillows

When they recovered their breath, they struggled to their feet and slowly stumbled off

Searching the golden sand for driftwood

By the time the heap of wood was big enough, the sun had sunk out of sight

Leaving only the very tops of the dunes blazing with gold

They lit the fire and the dancing red flames shot up into the dark sky

With the last traces of energy they possessed, the teenagers leapt to their feet

And danced, and sang, and ran around the bonfire as the night fell

Holding hands, making an untidy ring around the roaring bonfire

Dancing to the left, to the right, faster and faster, stamping their feet on the sand

Singing all the campfire songs they knew, as loudly as they could

Until they ran out of songs and had to sing them all twice

All caught up in the wild stomping rhythm

When the flames died down, they collapsed around the ring of glowing coals

Marshmallows were passed around and soon everyone was eating and chatting and talking

The fire popping and crackling merrily in the centre

The stars began to prick through the heavens and shine

A yellow moon peered over a dune, then raised its dented head and climbed into the star scattered sky

The teenagers lay on their stomachs around the fire, watching the gleaming ashes with heavy eyelids

The wind gusted now and then, sending sparks like red fireflies floating through the air

The conversations grew quieter, laughter still breaking out now and then

The fire was little more than embers but the heat it gave off was cosy and comforting

Slowly, their heads drooped and the conversation faded away

With their heads resting on someone else’s stomach, they sleepily stared up at the stars

Then, one by one, they drifted away

Their dreams full of running and dancing and the stamping of feet

Until all that was left at the bottom of the moon washed dune

Were the still warm ashes of a fire

And the sticky sandy bodies of many exhausted teenagers.

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