In our ballet, my character Raymonda parts from her knight before he goes to war. We embrace one last time, then step away from each other, fingers finally sliding apart as he turns to exit the castle courtyard.
We’ve rehearsed a hundred times. Step-step-toe-reach, lean-and-lean-and-touch-and-part.
But today, I couldn’t let him go. On the other side of the gate was treachery, violence, death. I saw bloody swords, broken bodies, dead horses in the mud. He’d die, I was sure of it, and I grabbed his wrist, terrified. His eyes, no longer his own, knew.
“It’s alright,” he whispered, otherworldly, unafraid.