"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Friday, 27 January 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters Challenge No 30 - Learning to Dance When it's Over. My story, 'Full Circle'

   Full Circle                                                   
    Move those bellies, ladies! Up! To the side! Down! Circle now! Yes!’
     I peer into the window of the decrepit hall. A kaleidoscope of colour meets me—a scene straight from the Arabian Nights—a circle of whirling ladies moving around a shabby timber floor, bright skirts billowing, bare feet stamping, jewellery jangling. They are urged on by a moving work of art—a red-swathed Egyptian goddess, Amy Winehouse up-do swirling, curling, shapely arms gracefully uplifted, flowing fluidly around the room.
     ‘Circles, ladies. Circles. Ah, that’s good. You can do it! Lovely, lovely…”
     What is this? I look around. There, on the jagged timber door, a little sign:

    Samira’s Belly Dance Class.
    Wednesday 7.30pm.
    Beginners Welcome.


     Belly dancing? Here? Could I be so bold? No. Benjamin’s right. I’m a yellow-bellied coward. Afraid of life.
     ‘Ladies, I said move your belly. Nothing else! Up! To the side! Down! To the other side! Circles! Do you feel it?’
     Delight gleams through the sheen of sweat on rosy faces. These ladies are feeling it all right! Smooth, sensual, erotic! I’m unloved, unlovely, abandoned and afraid.
     ‘Let it go!’ Samira urges. ‘You are beautiful! Isolate. Push! Shoulders forward! Move! Shake it! Shimmy!’
    Breasts wobble, bellies wobble, arms wobble. Samira glances at my window. She shouts in her husky voice: ‘The only restrictions are those you put on yourself!’
     She’s talking to me.
     ‘Shake it ladies!’
     Gold bells tinkle, wrist cuffs rattle, ankle cuffs clink.
     I close my eyes, visualise myself in that glorious room. Visualise myself throwing off the chains of the long miserable years of marriage with Benjamin.
     ‘No, I could never do this.’

     The dance class is over. The music stops, the stamping feet still, the clapping hands silence. I head home, lost in alone-ness.
     The crashing waves near my front door thump out a message. I lean against the deck rail and listen. Life. Must. Go. On. Hope. Dream. Imagine.

     If I drape some chiffon over my jelly belly, buy some scarves, beads and fringes…I could do this!
     I consider my life, the long painful years of being nobody, nothing. The kids have left, Benjamin has left, it’s just me left.
     Excitement bubbles up like water from a once-blocked fountain. ‘I can do whatever I want,’ I shout, surprised at the sound of my loud voice.
     'I can be free!'
     Instead of being the end of the world it could be the beginning of my world.

     I’m off to learn to dance the world’s oldest dance. Bring it on!


    Word count: slightly over 400. FCA.

    *Image - RiRi's Dance Acadamy, UK.
    Many thanks to Jules Preston, writer,
    for his series of guest prompts.
    Thanks Jules

    Romantic Friday Writers is a fortnightly on-going blogfest where writers respond to prompts or themes. It showcases the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. You don't have to write of hearts and flowers; there just needs to be some element of romance present in your story/poem. 
    Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. Check out the Romantic Friday Writers Website. A winner is awarded the recognition of being the week's Featured Writer. It is a great place to practise the art of writing and push the boundaries of innovation.


    1. Great job! I took belly dancing once and could so relate to what you so beautifully described, including that magnificent dialogue - yep, gotta move it!

      Really liked the optimistic ending. Again, great job!

    2. Hello Denise.
      Loved this! You grabbed my attention right from the opening & kept me hooked all the way through. The instructor sounded like she was starring in a Tony Little video. Perfect setting, dialogue & vivid imagery.
      Nothing like losing yourself in dance...Doesn't take much to set me off in the dance stakes. My wife just shakes her head believing me to be crazy. LOL!

      I have to agree with Kittie too...nice bit of optimism in the end.
      Awesome entry for this week!
      Thanks for sharing.

      Like A Harlot

    3. Kittie: Thanks. Must admit I've often thought of taking lessons so maybe that's why this story was in my subconscious when I saw the prompt.

      Andy: Yeah, I can just see you! Thanks for the encouraging comments.


    4. oh honey; this was so encouraging. I loved the implied freedom to anyone - anything - she dreamed of. She is breaking out of her old life, and moving on is a way that challenges her self concepts.

      You know; to me, girl power isn't always about a kick a** heroine righting the wrongs of the world. Sometimes, its about facing you own fears and conquering your self delusions.

      This excerpt brings to mind FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. One of my favorite self discovery movies of all times.

      Loved this totally.

      And hey; I know you're really at the beach, enjoying the sun. Let me set that imagery in my mind . . .


    5. Hi Denise .. thanks - this pop up means I can comment ..

      I'd love to belly dance - be flexible enough for it, have the figure for it .. the answer is a no - no ..!! Just the thought of it ..

      Cheers for now - Hilary

    6. Donna, thanks for liking my 'gutsy heroine' style story. I too adored Fried Green Tomatoes - all my fave girl actors in it.

      I got back from the beach today and I'm still in that otherworld, but I'll claw myself back to reality, lol!

      Hilary: Thanks for taking the time to come back. I wrote this story just for you then! Get yourself some gear and give it a try! Glad you liked it!


    7. The perfect ending. Nothing cut and dried, just that little seed of hope starting to take root.

    8. Yeah, Baby! Bring it on! This is such a positive post...loved it.

    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    10. That's me above. I really flubbed. So here goes again...

      Well, I'm not going to take up belly dancing, despite this brilliantly written story; but it definitely speaks to me - keep moving: dancing, walking, reading, writing, whatever.

      This is incredibly lean and compelling writing, sis. It has the power of poetry. Vivid imagery, strong verbs. Sharp metaphors: I really like "excitement bubbles up from water from a once-blocked fountain." Very impressive!!
      Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

    11. Thanks for stopping by, Denise. You're on Australia's west coast on holiday, right. Well, Animal Planet had the most amazing program about the coast and fish that plane to the beach to eat little fish. Breathtaking scenery! (Er, have you seen this fish? Seriously! It's so amazing.)

    12. Wow, that was a great workout!

    13. What a great message about life going on. I took belly dancing a few years ago. I thought it would be easy -- I was wrong.

    14. What an energetic, beautiful piece! You really captured it, too. I have a friend who belly dances, and it's all about the attitude!

    15. Hello again Denise.
      I'm celebrating my 1st Blogoversary today & have prepared a special gift for you to thank you for your support, encouragement & loyalty this past year. I hope you will accept it.
      Please stop by when you next get a chance. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Special Celebration (Part.2):It's My Blogoversary!

    16. Full circle...fantastic, love it! Denise, my poem is almost like your story! It's about the character loving herself and learning to do that in every phase of her life no matter what.

      I liked that your character was having this wonderful conversation with herself and shimmying with the realisation that there is a whole world out there. The start of a great romance is the one a person can have with themselves. Nicely done.

    17. This is excellent, Denise. The imagery and dialog is superb. Just take that little hyphen out of "aloneness" and I'll say perfect.


    18. This was great. I remember that feeling - watching from the edges and not daring to let myself join in, or even imagine joining in, and then that rush of freedom that comes with the realisation that I could do anything.
      Fab story!
      LAura x

    19. Beautiful, just beautiful. Denise, you've worked the theme amazingly well into this story. I felt the longing to be free from the past and the passion generated from dancing.

      Well done!

    20. Dear Denise,
      It's a joy to read your story. It is perfect for the theme of how dance can empower. I believe your heroine will come through her 'aloneness' well and find strength and happiness.

      Best wishes,

      Anna's The Last Dance - RFW challenge No.30

    21. OLD follower.

      I am stopping by from the Top Writing Blog competition.

      Just wanted to say hello. This is a great way to find new blogs and visit ones you haven't visited in a while. :)

      Elizabeth - Silver's Reviews


    22. I've always thought belly dancing would be a great pastime for improving flexibility :)

    23. Fabulous Denise. Loved it! It kept me hooked throughout and I could feel her hope and loss and I loved your MC and all her misgivings and inadequacies.

      Sorry I didn't post my own up this week.

    24. My comment was lost I think.

      I loved it. I loved your MC with all her hopes and loss and I was hooked throughout.Fabulous!

    25. I was hooked from the start. This was beautiful. I have never belly danced, but felt the movement here.

    26. Belly dancing! ha. I wasn't sure after the first couple of sentences!!! Great.

    27. I love the character's optimism at the end. :) Great story!

    28. I love the positivity at the end. Beautiful. (I've never tried belly dancing. Maybe I should! hehe)

    29. I like the face that this woman discovers freedom and self-worth after such a long time. Hope is something wonderful when it fills up the empty spaces within in.

    30. Thank you dear commenters for your postive outlook on my story. Hope springs eternal all right!


    31. Great post, welcome on board the A to Z Challenge! We shall have loads of fun exchanging comments and visits again! :)

      A to Z Challenge April 2012

    32. Great theme- loved this story Denise!

    33. Yay - I'm so glad she decided to give it a try. I was really rooting for her, which is pretty amazing considering the small space you had to make me care about her - great job!

    34. Well done - the excellent ending tops it off nicely :-)


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