Ballet Recitals

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By. Natasha Olivera

Trigger warning: This post contains graphic content of sexual assault and sexual abuse against a child. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault and you are suffering, please call RAINN at 1-800-656-4673.

It’s Friday night.
Performance night.
Her little pink covered feet pitter patter, pitter patter, up the stairs to her Lolo’s apartment. Standing at the front door in her pink leotard she softly taps on the door.
Tap tap tap.
The butterflies in her stomach dance around. Flapping their wings.
Bat bat bat.
She’s expected.
The door opens and a warm soft glow pours out onto her.
What a sight to see!
The butterflies spin round and round.
The stage is set, the lights are dimmed.
Only the light from a table lamp shines on the carpeted stage of the living room.
Her Lolo sits in his big comfy chair with maté in hand ready for the evening’s performance. She stands poised in the middle of her carpeted stage,
in her pink leotard,
all eyes on her,
butterflies spinning,
waiting for their cue.
The music begins,
and the little girl
in the pink leotard
begins to move.
First position
And plie.
Second position
And relevé.
And plie.
And salute.

Every night I cry myself to sleep tears that no one sees
no one hears
always

when I’m alone, in the dark, the tears just drop, without provocation, without reason.

He would come into my room at night
in the dark
the fan in the window whirling round and round.

As kids we would yell into the fan
AAAAAAAAA!!!!!
We would laugh deep children belly laughs as the sound of our voices vibrated. Don’t stick your fingers in there or they’ll get chopped off!!
We laughed deep children belly laughs.

And plie.

The door opens.
I can smell him.
Everybody has a different smell.
The passion lady representative with her vibrators and sex education tells us this. Something about pheromones and it’s what attracts people to us.
Basically, we are attracted to someone’s scent.
I hate his scent.
I can still smell it stuck in my nostril hairs.

And plie

Every night I cry myself to sleep tears that no one sees
no one hears
always

when I’m alone, in the dark, the tears just drop, without provocation, without reason.

Under the covers my body clenches up
in fetal position
in my little pink nightgown with the white lace the fan whirls round and round.
I feel him standing over me
he touches my shoulder
sits on the bed.
The crickets chirp through the fan blades
he says I’m coughing.
Take this.
The medicine is hot and burns my throat.
I am no longer in my body.
In Gatsby, Nick says “I was within and without”. I get it
I float above them
I see her
I see him
I see what he does to her.

And plie

Every night I cry myself to sleep tears that no one sees
no one hears
always

when I’m alone, in the dark, the tears just drop, without provocation, without reason.

Her father is dressing her getting ready to go out. From above I watch her
A little girl of 6 years old.
Why weren’t you wearing any panties

He asks her
You took them off papi She answers. Shhhhh.
That’s our little secret.

And plie

Every night I cry myself to sleep
And every night she would get down on her knees
to pray.
Our father who art in heaven.
If I should die before I wake.
Please let me die before I wake
Her eyes fixated on the wooden framed prayer hanging on the wall.
of a little white blonde girl in a pink nightgown kneeling at her bed praying to a God that would never save her, never protect her.
She pressed her hands tighter together
Because maybe if she pressed them harder that meant she was praying harder and if she was praying harder then he would listen to her prayers.
But every night she cries herself to sleep
Because he doesn’t hear, he doesn’t see, he never answered her prayers
Praying that if she would die in her sleep that the Lord would take her soul.
And oh! how she prayed she would die in her sleep and he would take her soul.

And plie

The little girl
in her pink leotard
in the middle of her carpeted stage with her hands pressed together over her head
stands on her tippy toes
and piruets
around and around
with a smile on her face
as her loving Lolo
looks at her with love
and claps his hands
cheering her on.
And the little girl
in her pink leotard
kept on dancing
and gave the performance of her life.

Last position Plie
Bow

 

Natasha is the author of “Baby Steps: Redefining the Teen Mom Statistic” a motivational and self empowering how-to book for teen moms on how to handle the challenges of being a teen mom and still be independent and successful. Currently she is working on a book written in a hybrid style, combining poetry with personal essay, giving voice to the poignant pains and consequences of sexual molestation, heartbreak and love. While the book has no title as of yet, she hopes to be done with it by the end of the year. In the meantime, readers can follow her on instagram @natashaoliverapiecesofme where she shares pieces of herself, writing about love, loss and womanhood.

 

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