The Showgirl

 

The showgirl glitters in the stage lights. Beads upon her costume oscillate with each movement. Swipes of eyeliner define her wide stare. She reaches for the trapeze as the music begins, fingers curling tightly around the rough tape. Callouses drag as she inverts, the effort forcing a breath from between red lips, smiling at the crowd. Her knees hook on to the horizontal bar; she hangs like a bat. Bruised joints smart with the weight. She smiles more, swinging into a seated position. Precariously perched, her breathing rate increases, sequins twinkling silver, blue, red. Strange eyes peer from the darkness, anticipating her next move. A deliberate slip; hanging from one elbow. The crowd applauds as tears escape unnoticed from the corners of her shaded eyes. Climbing back to the bar, another feat of balance. She stands on one foot, removing blistered hands from well worn ropes. Gasps and expectant murmurs traverse the auditorium. Raw skin contacting the cords, she slides down and props her weight upon her hips, pinched skin purpling. Her back arched dramatically, toes pointed, arms outstretched - she is the perfect figure of grace. A tumble; around she goes. To hang from stinging hands; one hand. She is lowered as the music fades. Applause. Exit stage left. 

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