Picture Prompt Exercise — 15 Minutes

The band played, the people danced, the ribbons spun, and the afternoon crept slowly closer to evening. She was not dancing with the others, could not, but she felt their joy and shared in it from the wicker chair under the shade of a tall tree.

Most of her life had been spent this way, watching the others from that chair. She was still young, but she knew that most of her life would continue in this fashion. Her health was not much, as her grandmother said, a polite euphemism for her sickly nature. As though that were not enough, her legs were twisted, misshapen after a disease in childhood that had almost taken her life. Watching the others dance, watching the ribbons swirl over and under, braiding together on the pole with the movements of the dancers, she was very glad the illness had only cost her the use of her legs.

Sometimes, she thought that the others could not understand that in her. She would laugh when they laughed and they would wonder why she never raged and rarely cried. They would see her watching with a smile on her face, and wonder how she could not be jealous. They didn’t understand that you could be jealous=, and still be joyful.

Did she wish that she had their energy, their movement? Did she wish that she could join in, a ribbon in her hand, and part of making the braided pole? Of course she did. She doubted that you could be human and not want such things. But she could be joyful for the chance to hear the music of the bands, the laughter of her brothers and sisters and their friends. She could enjoy the feeling of the sun on her face where it broke through the leaves above, the shade cool where it did not. She could enjoy the feeling of glorious spring after such a long and bitter winter.

Nights where her grandmother sat brushing her hair, she would whisper old tales of spirits and wicked ghosts, about the one that had brought that long ago illness and almost taken her life. She would talk about how the family, her parents, her grandparents, all her brothers and sisters, stood guard, fought that spirit with their words and their charms, and most importantly, their love. She would tell the story of how her family had fought with the darkness, and saved her for the light.

So yes, she wished that she could be among the dancers, to help welcome the warm spring. But, she was also joyful that she was here to see her family dancing with all the energy they had once used to save her, to keep her with them so that she could enjoy occasions just like this.

Prompt: National Geographic Photo of the Day: May 1, 2007



by | May 1, 2007