She felt a hammer blow deep inside her body, and then there was a dull pop that sounded to the audience like a ghastly thud.
The integrity of her left ankle gave way the moment just before she went into that final series of fouettés.
The ankle snapped and her foot flopped the other way.
The audience gasped as one.
The people who had come to see this contest of movement had come here to be entertained. They all expected they’d leave once the excitement had come and gone, after which they’d go back to their half-chosen lives and their half-chosen friends, the lunches and the dinners and the drinks and all the parties and party-people and the endless partisan discussions and news-cycles, and the drudgery of jobs that did not fulfill: an existence of ennui, an existence of strangled hopes and stillborn dreams, the unacknowledged ache of desires left unreached for, desires left blowing like dead leaves along the edge of a beautiful but long lonesome road down which no real progress had ever been made. Yet at some point in each of their lives, every person in the audience had glimpsed an instant which, for reasons perhaps not fully apprehended, was for them unforgettable — a solitary sunset in which nothing more significant than stillness had happened, an exalted passage of literature or music that had come suddenly and unexpectedly and was never experienced in that way again, a sculpture on the outside of an obscure building, a capable human hand seen briefly in the coffeeshop: an instant when each had felt that a different kind of existence was possible.
Each person in the audience had also at some point wondered why the magical sense of living they’d often felt when they were children had gone away — and where did it go? And why was life so often dull, depressing, unfulfilling?
But on that sweltering Las Vegas night when they watched Dusty May move and dance, when they saw her ankle snap and heard its concussive report and when they saw what she did after that, each and every one of them knew that answers to those questions existed and that the answers were real and true: because they each saw magnified in her this special sense of living they all at one time or another had glimpsed….
This is an excerpt from Gap-Toothed Girl. Read the rest here.
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