Monday, 20 April 2015

The Dancer (a true story)

Alone, she danced on the lawn by moonlight. The dew-wet grass was cool beneath her bare feet, and the slight breeze, welcome on such a hot summer night, caressed her bare arms, which still showed the marks of bruising.

But there would be no more bruises; no more beatings, no more fear. There would no repeats  of the shameful, humiliating nightly  assaults;  the whispered threats of what would happen if "their" little secret should ever be revealed.  For he was dead. Dead, dead, dead! Her heart sang with happiness as she twirled between the flower beds, drinking in the night-scent of roses and stocks. How she had longed for this moment; dreamed of dancing, unmolested, in the moonlit garden; of dancing to celebrate her freedom and happiness.

The neighbouring houses were shuttered and sleeping. Nobody would see her dancing, and if they did, they would never believe it was her.

For widows don't  dance, do they?

18 comments:

  1. It would be Murphy's Law if she got a chill.
    At least he got what he deserved.

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    1. She didn't, Adrian, and she lived to dance again!

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  2. Well I'll never be able to better Adrian's comment so I won't even try.

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    1. Sorry about that. Ill try to do better next time!

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  4. This makes me think; are all murders equal? I can forgive the dancing lady. A well told piece of mini fiction.

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    1. It's not fiction, Maggie, and he died of natural causes, which was better than he deserved.

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  5. I don't doubt that many people suffer the beatings, but I suspect that in many cases their sense of self worth has been so reduced they aren't able to appreciate freedom when it eventually comes (if it does).

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    1. I think this woman really appreciated her freedom, Patsy.

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  6. REPLY TO ALL: this is a real story. I had been talking to a book group about my novel Dead Ernest, the heroine of which is the widow of an abusive husband. After I'd finished, when people were leaving, a woman who had seemed quite moved during our discussion came over to me to tell me, in confidence, of how she had danced in the garden by moonlight when her abusive husband had died. I've never forgotten her, or the image I had of her.

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  7. I LOVE this, Frances, even though I've never experienced anything like this. It encapsulates both the confined wife and the delight of freedom at last. I like it even more knowing he died of natural causes and she can legitimately celebrate her new life.

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    1. I loved it too, Rosemary. That's why I wanted to write about it. Thank you for your comment!

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  8. Poignant and evocative. I could feel the cold damp grass on my toes and smell the evening scents of the stocks. Great! x

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  9. Some people deserve what they get, shame she couldn't dance on his grave too, or did she? Oops! Writers mind...
    Thank you for sharing Frances

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    1. I think she just danced in the garden, Maria. But I was so moved by her tale. I think she was enormously brave. After all, someone could have seen her. Thank you for commenting.

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    2. Very true Frances, she took a risk.

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