Jul 19

Silent Dancer


Silent Dancer

David came home, kissed her on the cheek and inhaled deeply. He smiled at her, that smile that could still make her heart melt.

“Smells good. What is it, lasagna?”

“Baked ziti,” Jessica said. “The recipe made more than I thought. I hope you’re hungry.”


They sat down to dinner and talked about his day over a glass of red wine. When he finished, he took his plate to the sink, rinsed it, placed it in the dishwasher. He was thoughtful that way. He kissed the top of her head and moved passed her and into the office, shutting the door behind him. She stayed at the table, swirling the last drops in her glass, then downed it in one gulp.

Jessica moved to the living room and turned on the T.V. She flipped through the channels but wasn’t in the mood for her usual shows. She didn’t need to see one more Idol voted off today, one more person’s shattered dreams broadcasted all across America. One more person *that* close — and never close enough.

She switched off the T.V. and stared at the closed door of the office. She’d been a dancer once. She’d been accepted to UC Berkeley, and David supported her, told her she was the most graceful thing he’d ever seen, said he’d never get tired of watching her move like something from his dreams. But then, she’d gotten pregnant and had to stop. Even after the miscarriage, David was protective and didn’t want her to dance again. She quit school, because what was the point? Five years and two more miscarriages later, and here she was, staring at the closed office door between them.

She pressed her fingers to her temples and rubbed in small circles. She felt a migraine coming on. She went upstairs, took a few pills and crawled into bed. Tonight would be dreamless. She never dreamed anymore.

* * *

Today’s prompt: What have you accomplished in the last five years? If you enjoyed this story, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below.


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  1. Beverly Fox

    Heartbreaking. The quiet existance of a life of failed dreams. Captured the moment perfectly.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Thank you so much, Beverly!

  2. John Wiswell

    Unfortunate that she seems to have given up dancing for no apparent reason while also not creating any other outlets for herself. How much is David stifling her, and how much is he a crutch letting her continue to be aimless? I don't know.

  3. Shelli Proffitt Howells

    To me, it's a meditation on what we really want out of life. Sometimes, we choose one path only to find that it doesn't quite meet our expectations. It's a snapshot of where she is now, not necessarily where she will be in another 5 years.

  4. Adam Byatt

    Such a tragic cycle of life to see someone's dreams scattered and blown away. The tone belies the swirling undercurrents of emotions.

  5. Terra Media Marketing Group

    I've known too many women who have let go of their dreams because of the wish of their mate. Currently I know one woman who, although has a fab job, can't move forward and build her own life because she's so weaved into her husbands activities – and those always come first.

    It's hard to understand that even in today's world, woman are allowing themselves to be directed by their husbands.

    What have I accomplished in the past 5 years? Plenty. Two businesses, overcome the death of my husband, went to college (short-lived – but by my own decision), got my own newspaper column….and so much more. I've still got plenty left to do – so watch out world! 🙂

    Loved the story, Shelli.

  6. Shelli Proffitt Howells

    Thank you, Terra! Amazing accomplishments. I think women typically have a hard time finding balance because we do seem to be hard-wired to sacrifice for the ones we love.

  7. Shelli Proffitt Howells

    Thank you, Adam. I hope I was able to show the conflict between her dreams and a sense of yearning that neither have come to fruition.

  8. Sonia Lal

    Poor thing. She needs to find another outlet. I doubt he'll care as much as she thinks.

  9. Helen Howell

    Oh such a shame. She needs to do something creative again.

  1. » The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 5 Number 8

    […] Silent Dancer by Shelli ~ @ShelliHowells ~ Between 100 and 500 words ~ Literary […]

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