Chilly tonight. Her legs prickled from exposure. No jacket though. No shawl either. Just a simple swing dress. Bare armed, without anyone to guide her homeward. She was her own sentinel against the night. 

Odd to be dancing like this. Streets devoid of music; cobblestones wet with rain. Alone. All dolled up for what? For nothing. She had no place to go. Time was irrelevant here. 

To think she once bartered her happiness upon a lover? A man half her spirit. He called when lonely but never when happy, and he lied.

Romance oozed from his lips like a sludge. She drank it naively and took it for wine. Gone now. No more stolen glances. No more the aching for something (anything) substantial. She knew it now. It rang true in her sleep: She was just an amusement. 

Still twirling, the dreamer laughs hysterically. Her parents across the hall swear they hear her. Suddenly, street gives way to sand and sand to ocean waves and waves to drowning. Her dress ripples in the water. There is no waking up from this. There is only rock bottom. 

When dawn creeps across her still form, her breath catches. Eyes pop open. Dress is replaced with simple pajamas. Sheets are her terrible sea. Touching her cheek it hits her——she survived a revelation. 

He does not love me, she thinks. But I can love myself despite his shaky resolve. I can weather his storm. And with that, the tired girl awakens as woman. She is ready to dance alone. 

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