AAWC Challenge 2016
Gasping for air to fill my exhausted lungs, I collapse onto my hands and knees at the edge of the pond. Sitting in the plush grass, I smooth my delicate, lacy white dress in a small circle around me. I tuck my honey-brown hair behind my ears, and close my pale blue eyes. I breathe deeply and enjoy the calm, listening to the quiet sound of the pond lapping over the shore.
Just a moment later, I realize that it is time to do what I came here to do. I stand up tentatively and brush the sandy soil off my knees. I tiptoe closer to the edge of the glassy, green water and stick my head out just enough so I can see my reflection in the pond. As I suspected, I see someone that I am not.
In the pond, I see a reflection. It is not a reflection of my pale, freckled face. It is the face of an elegant swan. I was worried that this would happen to me. Don’t ask me how I know; I just do.
I recall the storyline of the ballet, Swan Lake, wondering if there is any truth to the legend. I am a dancer, but I was never cursed like Odette was. There has to be another explanation.
“Maybe it’s the pond.” I wonder, turning my head back and forth while looking at my strange reflection.
An idea pops into my mind. I tap my toe on the surface of the water, creating ripples throughout the pond. Nothing happens. Then, I boldly step both feet into the water, undaunted by what the consequences may be. I look down at my feet. I see the edge of my familiar lace dress, but I also see a pair of swan’s feet.
To my surprise, I feel a smile grow across my face. Daringly, I allow my instincts to take over, and I swim all the way to the middle of the pond. I have never swam with such ease before, and the feeling is quite exhilarating. The wind blows through my feathers and makes me feel as though I am flying across the cool water.
I stop, abruptly, and look down at my reflection. My swan’s neck arcs elegantly over the water as I calmly swim across the surface. I stop swimming again, close my eyes, and an emotion hits me deep in the pit of my stomach.
“This isn’t me. This isn’t who I am.” I think in great fear. “What in the world was I thinking? What if I’m stuck this way forever?”
Before my mind and my senses can catch up, my body is desperately swimming for the shore. I hit the sandy bank, and run out of the water in a panic, before spinning around on my heels to running back towards the water’s edge and face my fears.
I look back over the edge of the water, praying for a miracle. “
Please, God. Let me be me again.”
To my relief, I let out the breath I’ve been holding so long as I see my own freckled face in the water. I can feel the tears of relief running down my cheeks as I see my own blue eyes staring back at me. I look down at the ground, thankful to see my own familiar bare feet again.
I smile, and turn around, running back into the forest. I run with boundless energy until I reach a clearing in the woods. In the open space, surrounded by a circle of trees, I dance. I fouette` freely in my flowy dress until I collapse on the soft forest floor in a fit of laughter.
Suddenly, I sit up in my bed in a cold sweat, gasping for air as my heart pounds out of my chest. It was all a dream.
“Oh, thank goodness.” I think, almost laughing to myself about the ridiculousness of the dream.
The bright, morning sun is softly glowing through my sheer curtains. It must be at least eight o’ clock. I shove off my flannel blankets, hop out of bed, and walk over to the floor length mirror in my bedroom.
I stretch my arms over my head and yawn. I reach down and touch my toes, feeling the stretch all over my sore body. I look deep into my pale blue eyes that are surrounded by the remains of last night’s makeup, and reflect upon the dream. What was it supposed to mean?
I shrug my shoulders carelessly and glance at the clock on my dresser. I need to start warming up. I have to be at the theater by ten for company class. Tonight is opening night for Swan Lake. The principal roles of Odette and Odile aren’t going to dance themselves.