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by Melissa Martin  
11/01/2011 / Short Stories

Hobbling to her closet, she lays down her cane and stares at the weathered cardboard boxes. Her brittle knees crackle as she slumps to the floor. Osteoporosis devoured her bones long ago. Frustrated with fading eyesight, she routs through the clutter. After several minutes of rummaging she finds the box of her beloved shoes. Blowing away dust and spider webs, she gently lifts out the ballet slippers with the faded pink leather. Clutching the shoes to her chest and closing her eyes, she steps back into her childhood recitals; days adorned in leotards, tutus, and ribbons. Sighing, she picks up her scuffed tap shoes; age and arthritis have twisted her toes. Laughing, she dangles her worn ballroom slippers in the air. The Glen Miller Band transports her to the grand dance floor; swirling and twirling--spinning and grinning. Memories flood her senses as she hums with the orchestra. Her dance card was always full with handsome lads and debonair partners. Sparkly silver heels catch her eye and she smiles. She won the dance contest with these lucky shoes and used the prize money to buy a dance studio. Turing the photo album pages in her mind, she reminisces on the days, weeks, and months of her life. Dancing was her dream and passion. Folks said she was a natural. Tears well up. Her dance buddies have all died and left her alone with nothing but shoes and memories. She finds a yellowed photograph signed by her idols, Fred and Ginger; a keepsake for her oldest granddaughter who dances ballet in New York. Hours pass as she revisits moments of waltzing, two-stepping, and fox-trotting. Goose bumps appear as she relives the tango and the rumba. The scent of perfume and sweat mingles in her nose as she kisses her fancy footwear. Becoming tired, she closes the box and struggles to stand up as vertebrae snap and pop. Grabbing her cane as she shuffles toward the bedroom, she lovingly cradles the pink slippers. She knows the last dance is near.

Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.

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