|James isn't the (coryphee) wrote in repose,|
@ 2019-10-05 22:14:00
|Entry tags:||*narrative, jamie mayer|
Jamie M: narrative (ballet)
Who: Jamie Mayer
What: Picking up where he left off
Warnings: Vague ref to ED/behavior
Ftr Jamie had been scared of class the first time. Like, okay: he had WANTED it. He had wanted it so bad it had banked up on the inside of his ribs until his breath was furred with wanting it. He had felt his belly sink to his knees in an elevator lurch of anticipation, felt his blood tick like an unexploded bomb the second he crossed the threshold. It was culmination the first time. All those hours, those years of skipping family stuff, of missing a soccer match or recital or swim meet, because he was in the studio building muscle on skinny legs, his gaze on himself in the bank of mirrors unerring.
I mean, there were banks of lockers and bruises he’d worn for years too. The first time he’d gotten tripped in the cafeteria, before they graduated to shoving him into the locker when he tried to grab his books. The time someone had come behind him in the pool and whispered that they thought he’d been looking at the other guys’ dicks before they held his head below the water until the air burned in his chest and he saw shocky, white light and then blacked out. He’d skipped out on gym after, hadn’t bothered going to Dad or Molly or Amy or Si - not because they wouldn’t do anything - and had gotten excused by a note in elegant, Russian handwriting from the ballet master at the studio. Nah, it wasn’t because his siblings wouldn’t have done anything, because Jamie didn’t believe that. It was became shame was a caliber rather than a yes/no question and the scale slid heavy, weighted with guilt. Because he had looked at guys’ dicks. Accidentally, in the locker-room but also like, online and that made accidental glances more like, hurtful for the guys in question. They felt unsafe. Jamie GOT that, like back then. They felt unsafe and Jamie felt unsafe, and it mostly ended in the studio where Jamie felt as safe as Jamie got. You left shit behind, outside the studio. You left it packaged up outside of class, where you didn’t need to think about it. Jamie didn’t think about anything but ballet there. That was the point.
High school was a long time ago. It had been left behind, traded in for the raw sound of pointe shoes on hardwood, on the way sweat collected, hung in the air a miasma of effort to find perfection. So like, the first time he’d officially exchanged the real world for the world Jamie longed to exist in permanent, he’d been scared. But the door was wide open. He had hours and hours of practice, of shaking knees and thighs and the screaming in his abs as he lifted a ninety pound ballerina overhead as she made the whole thing look effortless, but he was good. He was new, clean like all the entrants who tumbled through the doors looking to get their edges knocked off.
This, Jamie figured, was a whole different kind of fear. He wasn’t new. He could catalog the injuries if he felt like it (he didn’t). The first time he had walked in, an echo of the old fear met the new one, swallowed each other like some kind of perpetually-eating snake. He’d seen guys younger than him stretching out old injuries, wrapped ankles, wrapped knees. He’d seen one guy in earnest discussion with the dance master over compensating. Jamie didn’t want to compensate. It was like sense memory, running up and down his spine. It was the air - old sweat, anticipation and the way the boards bounced a little under his weight, under his feet.
Ballet taught you that the body had limits. And it taught you to go past them. To stretch - further. To point - harder. To lift - greater. Ballet put you on the fucking rack and stretched until your ligaments popped and ballet taught you that the moment you felt clean and whole and alive, your body plucked like a string by music was addictive as fuck. Ballet was habit, and tendu and plie and develope were habits that ached, throbbed along with his heartbeat in his chest. Jamie fucking cried at the end of the first class, when his knee felt like slivers of bone and swollen but not because of that, because it was like going home and realizing all the shit you forgot made home.
He had like, the truth to face on day one: he was old, and he was like, fat and he was out of shape. The delivery was like brutal because the guy delivering it didn’t care. He cared Jamie jumped, he cared that he turned and he didn’t gaf about how Jamie had gotten hurt because he didn’t ask and Jamie just -- kinda, didn’t TELL. And that had been like, WEEKS ago. When the bank of mirrors reflected back the hopelessness, the doubt.
It hurt. There was zero chance of it not hurting. His knee twinged fucking constantly, but that was like normal. Eventually it would go away, like the ankle in 2011 he’d fucked up, or that girl, the one who’d gone skiing and broken her leg who was two companies ago, who felt it when it rained but not anymore. His stomach had stopped like, growling after the first few weeks, it had obediently snapped back along with the muscle tone in his ass and in his thighs. H He smoked on the fire-escape with the ballerinas who were waiting out offers from other companies, to graduate from apprentice to full-blown corps, and he traded smiles when his knee was knives. He didn’t think about shit: about Amy and why she was dead but alive, about Si. He didn’t think about Seven, he counted the days hour by hour, company class and apple slices, black coffee and cigarettes. His cheekbones were clearer, sharper in the mirror and his turn was tighter and the whole point in the studio was to leave everything behind.
Jamie like, didn’t think about anything but ballet there. That was the POINT.