“Hurry, children. And don’t forget your coats.”
Kneeling in front of a row of lockers at the back of a classroom, the raven haired girl hauled a backpack from her own section and onto her lap. Ignoring the giggles and chatter of the other children who were putting on their shoes and coats next to her, she lowered her head and opened the bag’s zipper.
The teacher’s voice droned on behind her as she stored a pencil case and rulers in one of the bag’s compartments.
She had just finished putting in and organizing her books alphabetically when her hand brushed against a parcel at the very bottom of the bag. Opening it up further, she blinked her grey eyes at the objects found.
Almost hesitant, fingers dipped in to untie the ribbons and to unfold the parcel, revealing a pitch black fabric that shimmered back at her as if it were a piece torn from a starry night sky.
The young girl moved her fingers through the silk-like fabric of the top half of the dress and the raven feathers that covered the bottom half, before guiding those same fingers to a pair of ice skates resting a little ways to the side of the parcel. These were also black, but made of layers of leather and a curved steel blade at the bottom.
With her fingers, the girl traced the elegant diamond letters glued to the side of one of the figure skates, mouthing the words as she did:
In the girl's eyes, the whole classroom seemed to blur away…
'“Please, another round of applause for our winners!”
At the voice’s request, sounds of applause and cheers exploded from the stands of the indoor stadium, traveling across the ice rink where three young women dressed in ice skating customs waved to the crowd as they slid away with medals hanging proudly from their necks, bouquets close to their sides.
People in uniforms moved around them, picking up roses and stuffed animals from the ice rink. In a few seconds they were finished, leaving the rink shortly after the women.
The applause, the whistles and the cheers left with them, dying down to hushed whispers and excited smiles. Once again, the voice broke through the noise, echoing throughout the stadium.
“Congratulations!” it cheered. “Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: a final program, one sure to ignite the hidden flames of our hearts, performed by our very own ice skating queen – and what a young queen she is! – I give you,"
Another row of applause, whistles and cheers erupted from the crowd, many times louder than the last, only to then fall into silence as all the lights in the stadium started to dim, and then went out.
All except for one spotlight, that moved outwards until it reached the middle of the rink, illuminating the small and dark figure of a girl.
A true vision of black, she wore an ice skating dress darker than the shadows themselves but still put to shame by her long raven hair.
Eyes closed, the girl raised her arms above her head. Then, with a flick of her hands, she started dancing, and the whole world went silent.
At the first notes of the song “Black and Gold”, the girl pushed forward and began a series of timed and slow, very controlled movements. The whole crowd held its breath, following the girl’s very move and expression.
She seemed like a raven, floating over the ice, a smooth and effortless flight of an elegance matched only by goddesses.
When the tempo changed, so did her dance. It became fierce and dangerous, movements harsh and bold, fire and ice clashing in her grey eyes.
All the while she never stopped. Not once did she slow down or grind to a halt. Everything in her flowed like water; she glided through the ice, going faster and faster, her sweat covered skin glistening under the spotlights.
With a death defying spin and a last music note, she finished.
There were no applause, no whistles nor cheers. Everyone stayed in their seats, mesmerized, mouths agape. Their hearts thumped wildly alongside the girls, tears rolling down their cheeks.
She had them and she knew it.
She had them there in the palm of her hand, in her mind and in her heart. She had done it; she had gone beyond simple perfection, she had created something, felt more than she had ever had, she had attained-’