The curtains open, and it’s as if she never left.
She feels the suspense, tangible and real, hanging in the air, as the audience holds its breath, waiting and watching this alabaster figurine, this ballerina twirling in their music box. And the lights no longer burn her skin and sear into her bones. No.. They are warm and bright, sunshine for her to bask in, to dance in, and when she hears the first piano key, and she’s off.
But this time, it’s different.
The broken bird is no more. The woman spinning before the crowd is not caged. She is not trapped. She is not tailing the piano. She is not a prisoner in her own mind. She is not lonely. She is not afraid. She is not abused. She is not caged.
The piano chases her, following her every delicate step, and yet each tread is powerful. It marks a journey, a path. It exposes and showcases the work that she’s done, the road and tribulations that it’s taken to get her freedom, what it’s taken to get to that stage, that beautiful stage. She’s powerful. She’s fearless. She’s nurtured.
For once in her entire life, she suddenly knows what it’s like to be sovereign.
To be independent. To be self-ruled. To be unrestricted. To be unimpeded. To be liberated. To be exempt.
With her wings outstretched, she is able to take flight for the first time. They watch her opening flight, her inaugural exodus from the person she used to be, from her past, from her fears. She is a bird, but not just any bird. She is a phoenix rising from the ashes of a burned down life. She’s being reborn on that stage. Heart aching. Heart racing. Heart pounding. Heart throbbing. She’s finally who she wants to be, and for the first time she can breathe. All anyone sees is this rebirth, this lionhearted woman.
But she’s far from the stage.
Far from the lights, far from the crowd, far from the piano, far from here. She’s on a beach, basking in her own piece of heaven, eyes on cerulean waters that kiss at her ankles, and toes in pristine sands. She doesn’t hear their cheers. She hears the surf, the gulls. She hears Her.
Birdie is no where to be found, even as she is blessed, gifted with a standing ovation. As the crowd is rising like the tide, she is drifting farther away. She doesn’t stand on a stage; she stands on the shore.
She’s in some other place.
A place where she’s Mommy, a place where she’s Birdie, a place where she’s finally free.