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Flash fiction: The ballet class


I sit on the old wooden bench near the station, waiting. The sweet smell of jasmine and a clatter of voices hangs in the air. I am thinking of Anna and how she always looks when she arrives. Through the open door of the hall across the road, I can just glimpse a class of small dancers who leap and twirl, their feathery light skirts pirouetting behind them.

Anna always appears from the other direction, but if I look that way I am forced to stare into the crowd emerging from the station platform, their squinting eager faces searching out the sunshine. Occasionally their eyes, full of hope, meet mine before darting away, interrupting my reverie. And so I look to the ballerinas.

Through the crack of the door their music wafts across to meet me on the scented breeze. It makes me think of Anna's voice, her laughter, tinkling and full of sunshine. When she rounds the corner she always finds me straight away, her eyes shining, her face breaking into that smile. Her step quickens. Light on her feet like the dancers, a little skip, as she comes. The thought of that childlike skip makes me grin and blush. She always arrives with a story for me, details, minutiae of her day, things that no one else would see, told in Anna's special way. I sit and think, Anna's face hovering in my thoughts.

When she rounds the corner I look for her smile, spreading, infectious. I always stand once I see her, ready for her skip, tempted to run to her, already smelling her perfume, already feeling her long dark hair tangled in my fingers, already hearing the way she gently teases me. Looking forward to drawing out each precious minute of Anna's company.

A small hand slips into mine.

"Granddad?"

Her voice brings me back. It's Ivy. The ballet class has finished.

"How was it sweetheart?" I ask.

She's upbeat. "Good! Granddad what have you been doing all this time?"

"Just thinking of your granny darling," I say.

Ivy's face changes, suddenly assuming a wisdom beyond her years. "I know," she says. She squeezes my hand, "I miss her too."


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