And If We Could Dance Backwards

By Christina Dalcher

dancing-backwardWhen I see you dying, I’m going to tell you a fiction, and in that fiction I’ll take you backwards to a time when I toe-hopped in Pavlova’s steps and you twirled Twyla Tharp modern, before husbands and other partners led us to alternate futures. We’ll bend limbs in cocky, counterbalanced attitudes, noses touching, making the shape of an almost-whole heart. We’ll lie in green rooms, taking turns rubbing each other’s sore feet, arguing whether classical is as dead as John Lennon, or which of us would make a better black swan.

“You,” I’ll say, laughing. “You’re in love with death.”

“No. Not with death.”

A small thing will tell your secret: the look in your eyes, the way you wipe a sweat-stuck lock from my forehead, how you stare at my throat as if my pulse is the world’s eighth wonder.

I’m going to tell you a fiction. A story in the genre of romantic-near-past-utopian-mind-fucking-time-travel-chick-lit. But only when I see you dying, not before, because in the non-fiction tale we allow men to steer us into opposite wings, and I’d rather see you die without regret.

Christina Dalcher is a theoretical linguist from the Land of Styron and Barbecue, where she writes, teaches, and channels Shirley Jackson. Find her work in Split Lip Magazine, Whiskey Paper, and New South Journal, among others. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents her novels., @CVDalcher.

Digital Image by Lesley C. Weston

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