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Life's Dance

by yostsg21

I found myself wandering along the edge of the sea, listening to the crashing waves. The peaceful setting prompted my thoughts to turn inward, and I reflected on the past events of my life. All of the happy memories, back when I still knew how to laugh. And how to dance. I half-heartedly tried a couple steps. Forgetting what had at one time come so effortlessly, my feet had trouble executing only a few simple leaps. I felt clumsy stumbling around in the sand. Determined to remember, I focused on my memories of dancing with Edward, and tried again. Slowly, slowly, I twirled by the water, losing my balance and finding it again, until I lost myself completely to the sweet memories of love. My mind took over my body and I pictured Edward right there by my side, just like it had always been. The foamy waves lapped gently at my feet as I first leaped in the sand, then into the water, then back to the sand. I remembered how he taught me to dance, how to feel the rhythm of the music and follow his lead. He would laugh with me at my first mistakes and gently corrected me until we moved as one. All the time, he would tell me to throw my heart into the movements and my body would follow. I remembered his words as I twisted and turned elegantly down the beach, imagining the feeling of being held against his warm body. It felt safe and secure being in his strong arms. We would dance anywhere we felt like it. At the park during a late afternoon picnic, in the silence of falling snow, or in our tiny living room with the ancient phonograph playing out-of-tune in the corner. Leaping into the air, I thought of how he would pick me up and whirl me around. The exhilaration of it made me never want to be set down again. We had danced as one, so wrapped up in our love for each other. 

Suddenly, I slipped in the wet sand and fell crashing back to earth. Edward was gone. The horrible war had taken him away, along with so many others. The sadness that had overcome me since his death flooded back into my head. I sat in a heap surrounded by the folds of my dress, knowing I would never dance with my beloved again.

I glanced up and saw my young son watching me from the dunes. He walked to where I had fallen and stooped down. “Momma, I want to dance like that.”

With tears in my eyes, I smiled at him and whispered, “Alright.” I gathered him in my arms and led him in a short, awkward waltz through the sand. He stepped on my toes and couldn’t find the rhythm, but I patiently guided him along down the shore. Gazing at my son, it dawned on me just how much he looked like Edward.

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6 Reviews

Points: 543
Reviews: 6

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:13 pm
smokeyyyy wrote a review...

Right off the bat I'd like to appreciate your ability to build an atmosphere. Those opening sentences are everything, so it often surprises me when a writer has the ability to build an atmosphere, a specific feeling deep within the reader, within just a couple of words. Your descriptions are very unique, but not too depthy, which is something I can appreciate (being someone who hated books like Harry Potter, etc.), although I would say setting the scene a bit more before moving abruptly on to character emotions would not have done any harm.

The character's feelings are portrayed in a highly personal, dramatic manner that feels realistic in the sense of inner reflection. You continue to build the atmosphere alongside the character's personality, which is very interesting as it may suggest how the character's feelings represent the energies around her.

The whole story depicts grieving very well, so I am in total favor of the writing style and choice to use first person. It isn't something overly dramatic, like the character is crying her eyes out or something, nothing cheesy like that; the whole story uses this overlying tone of melancholy and nostalgia of previous relationships. That specific melancholic tone blends well with the setting and atmosphere, especially when the character's son appears.

Sometimes, we just need someone to lift us out of our depressions or grievances, and I think the part where her son emerges sort of emphasizes this metaphor. Even though her husband is long gone, and she may be processing that through the text, she is still mourning the death and likely has not moved on yet. Someone needed to step in and help her back to her feet, help her move on, which means figuring out how to live without that person, NOT forgetting them.

Overall, this story depicts grief very well, so 10/10 :)

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Points: 89
Reviews: 1

Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:46 am
SayItInColor wrote a review...

This story has a very nice bittersweet tone to it!

Things you did well:

-it has strong imagery, I can clearly picture in my mind the woman dancing and can feel her longing and loneliness.

-I liked how you sprinkled in little details of her life before. For example: "We would dance anywhere we felt like it. At the park during a late afternoon picnic, in the silence of falling snow, or in our tiny living room with the ancient phonograph playing out-of-tune in the corner." It gave the story a much more powerful emotional impact, as the reader knows what she has lost and how joyful her life was before.

Things that could be improved:

-the first paragraph needs a bit more structure to it; there should be paragraph breaks somewhere in there, perhaps after "And how to dance." and "The foamy waves lapped gently at my feet as I first leaped in the sand, then into the water, then back to the sand." This would make it less like a big block of text.

Thank you for sharing this story, I really liked the concept behind it!

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42 Reviews

Points: 37
Reviews: 42

Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:55 pm
Beautifulsparkle wrote a review...

This is a very heartfelt story that really touched me, deeply. The protagonist reminices about her beloved who has been lost by war, a very tragic end. I loved how you described her moving in the sand and yet looking her balance only to not give up and try again, mesmerized by the mental image of Edward, guiding her patiently. I liked his advice, to dance from the heart and then the body would follow. I loved how in the end she got to dance with her son and sort of swept places with Edward, being just as gentle a teacher. Yet it is bittersweet, because she does not get to dance with Edward but with their beloved child instead. I also loved your descriptions such as "the foamy waves lapping gently at her feet". It is a very beautiful if a bit bittersweet story.

The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.
— Richard Price