The dancer

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When she was younger, before she had earned enough money for her college tuition, she used to dance. She can’t remember the names of the strip clubs now or the faces of the men. Not even the music; it was merely a cue, when to begin and when to stop. The only thing that mattered was the freedom caught within the span of each song, the feeling she was doing exactly what she wanted. For the half hour she was on, she could make the men believe they loved her. Even then, she knew that feeling could not last; it was not her freedom after all.

Now she is working for a law firm. She has been here five years and in love with the youngest partner for four. He is thirty-eight and married. No kids. She has seen them together and they looked happy enough. One day she will go into his office, probably at lunch, just as he’s unwrapping the ham and cheese sandwiches his wife always packed for him, and she will dance for him. Like she used to, when she still believed she could be free. She will make him see her. She knows, when she has finished, she will walk out of there, out of that life forever.

She will never dance again.

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