Friday, June 27, 2008

Ella Baila (She Dances) - Flash Fiction

Ella Baila

(She Dances)


She stands, simply, into the rising sun. For a moment she gleams golden, burnished by the light cascading through a gap in the curtains.  She turns and takes her robe from its drape over the straight backed chair near the foot of the bed. Her arms spread, stretching wide, first one and then the other as the robe encases her. She belts it loosely about the waist. She crosses the dark wooden floor with a whispered step, light and swift, a dancer at play. 


She drags the curtains open widely, unleashing the dawn, so that it floods the room.  The torrent of light wakes him.  He blinks sleepily and rolls onto one elbow to watch her.  From the porcelain pitcher on the night stand she pours full a glass of water, the cut of the crystal glistening, a subtle prism.  She rises to her toes so that she can water the lush green plants that dwell in the window planter, just beyond the sill. 


He watches the muscles in her calves tighten as she stretches upward.  His eyes trace the line of her thighs to where they vanish beneath the hem of the robe, and then upward, to where the silk cascades over the rounds and lines of her form. 


All changes are subtle changes in shades of white, from flesh to silk to flesh again.  The only color lies in the orange blossoms that grace the robe, and in her hair, in the single loose braid she binds lightly when she sleeps.  As she waters the plants she whispers her secrets to them, her lips darting from smile to frown to smile again, the curl in the corner of her mouth as expressive as a symphony.


Small droplets rise on the crystal and spill over her fingers.  She trails two along the outside of the glass, and then lifts them to her mouth.  She caresses her lips and her small tongue flicks out to catch a droplet, and then she resumes her whispered conversation with the lush, the green, and the growing, parsing the water to the plants as a generous mother parses food to her children, ensuring each receives what it needs and perhaps, just perhaps, a splash more for the pleasure of it. She tends the plants carefully, with an abundance of love, with sure fingers, touching, moving, pressing, pulling, separating, and setting each in its proper place.


She sways from side to side, her feet tracing a forgotten language on the floor, an old step, something Spanish, not quite a salsa, smaller, tighter, more controlled.  Her lips move as she sings to the plants, her voice barely a whispered rhythm. The silk of the robe shifts and shimmers as her body moves beneath it, as she flexes and turns with subtle movements, the sun rippling on a gently flowing river.  Her morning adoration complete, she rises the glass to her lips and drinks the last of the water, sharing with her plants the clarity of life.


Her robe has spilled open, slightly, an inch or two, through still bound at the waist by the belt. A strip of skin, white beneath white, stretches from her throat to just below the tiny curve of her navel. She sees that he is awake and she smiles at him, laying there, half beneath the white sheets, golden in the sun.  She crosses the room to the edge of the bed and sits, half turned toward him.  She takes his hand in hers and gently slips it inside of the robe, so the palm is pressed against her abdomen.  He feels her warmth, the softness of her skin, the strength of her core.  She reaches up and traces the curve of his cheek, the line of his jaw, and he feels the cool wetness of the water from her fingertips. Looking down at him, she smiles, so softly, and then suddenly she spins away, a dancer once again, and sweeps from the room.  For the first time in the morning she raises her voice above a whisper and he hears the song she is singing.


"Cuando yo me muera no quiero que lloren

hagan una fiesta con cuetes y flores

que se sirvan vino y me traigan los morales

para que me toquen mis propias canciones."


He does not weep, though his heart is broken. The empty crystal glass on the window sill shatters the sun into a thousand brilliant shards.


*When I die, do not cry,

Celebrate with fireworks and flowers,

Drink wine and tell my stories,

Touch me with my songs."

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