Some days it seemed way too cold for her to be outside dancing through the air. Yet as long as the sky was clear, the thermometer above fifty degrees Lila would be in that field. Everyone who lived within twenty miles could be relatively sure that a ride or walk down the Old Dutch Road would bring the pleasure of seeing Lila out practicing her ballet steps.
I was often one of the many passer bys who stopped, lean upon the white washed rail fence and watched her in the field next to her grandmotherís flower garden. A beautiful garden of lupines, heather, brown-eyed susans, daisies and several species of greenery.
Lila was a tall girl, almost gangly. Like many young girls she couldnít see her own loveliness. She was already turning heads with her sleek body, creamy white complexion, black eyes, and dark brown natural spaghetti curls hanging three inches below her shoulders. Still she never seemed to be aware of it. One day she would be what some call a rare beauty. As much as she loved dancing, especially ballet, by the time she was ten she knew that her full height would keep her from being a professional performer. Nevertheless she had the tenacity to enjoy the moment.
During the time that I knew her she was in that awkward phase of life, of wanting to grow up, still being a child, and not knowing what she liked or what she hated. Learning to deal with the added burden of knowing you could not have your first dream. It was a love-hate relationship with her self. She hated those curls during those days. She said they made her look like a little girl. Her sleek body was no comfort to her; she thought of it as an enemy that just refuse to blossom into womanhood. But she didnít dislike or hate everything. There were two things that she loved above all else: one was living with her grandmother just on the outskirts of town, the other was her dancing, especially ballet.
I was not the only one who regularly stopped, and leaned upon the white washed rail fence to watch her float across that field. She gave the appearance of one who was skating through the air. Always in full command of every muscle as her body would spin, swirl, and turn in the air. Often where her feet touched the silvery green blades they would lie down and then spring forth once again as if nothing had ever disturbed them. Her knees would bend; then her long trim legs would straighten out, her body would rise into the air with arms extending out and up to the music she heard. She seemed to move effortlessly as she practiced her Pliťs [plee-AYs], Chassťs [sha SAYs], Port de Bras and other steps.
Leaning on that fence, watching Lila was like listening to a superb chorale of acapella voices, every voice blended so perfectly you believe you hear the music. Her elongated body floated through the silent air and over that rough ground as if she were center stage in some famous auditorium.
Cars and trucks whizzing by, kids on bicycles, even the old mule baying didnít disturb Lila. Noise could not enter into her silent world; it was a place in which she had to live. Even when she spoke she could not hear her own words, but you will never convince me that Lila could not hear the music to which she danced.