Don’t fumble while they’re watching


Pine trees of women sprout from the ballroom floor, glaring eyesights scanning the crowd like spindly branches.

Underneath their eyes, the people shrivel, wilting like forgotten forest flowers as the glares poison them. Up above, chandeliers cast an angelic gleam over the grief that dances across the fixtures, replacing the lack of shuffling in the crowd.

Clinks of crystal glasses against luminous doll teeth intertwine with futile, bland blether; every inch of gossip shared is calculated in their heads, an equation built in from years of country-club chatter and financial freedom.

A sea of dresses—hemlines swaying in endless circles, mimicking waves—glow with an unplaceable aura, granted by the light from overhead. Infinitesimal steps shift the tide of people to and fro.

In this world of elegance, glittering and gleaming in a pristine ballroom, the glares assiduously scrutinize the characters, each one masquerading in a betraying costume. The betrayal runs deep in their veins with the poisonous looks carrying the knife deep into their heart; a silent assassin, the eyes of the judges possess a powerful weight.

Appearances begin to crack with the clicks of the lackadaisical minutes dancing along with the crowd.”

Beneath the repressing, deflating looks, an intruder bypasses the scrutiny, wearing a dress derived from dazzling deceit.

Pairing the lies with height-appropriate heels, the intruder blends in with the ordinary extraordinary, conspiring while within their walls. Floating between the waltzing couples—ones simply together for the common good of an empire—she holds her chin high as her feet quiver.

The heels, which seemed like a good idea as she prepared her camouflage, could not mold to her rough, calloused feet. Anxiety flickers across her mind, neighboring the mission in her mind as small miscalculations wrecked her veneer.

With a back that could double as a ruler, she elongates herself, praying to blend in among the glamorous crowd. Slithering into a circle of familiar strangers, she finds refuge in their perfected actions, ones that strain with the cry to fit in.

And that’s exactly what she is doing.

Prominent, twinkling gold necklaces drape her collarbone like a ticket into the one percent; swirling her glass, the intruder laughs—that polite laughter often noted to be counterfeit—with her gloved hand waving like a flag. The eyes across the room are watching, and yet, her mask persists under the fiery watch.

Appearances begin to crack with the clicks of the lackadaisical minutes dancing along with the crowd. Drinks downed far too quickly present themselves as the crowd diminishes, dismissing themselves to their drivers or marble bathrooms.

No longer in the charitable safety of a group, the introducer leans against a wall overflowing with faces from long ago. Unknowingly, she becomes susceptible—an easy target.

An extended hand overwhelms her vision, inviting her to the open field. Eyes instantaneously track her as she follows the man to the floor, watching incredulously as if they would never expect such a dare.

Standing in the middle of it all, the chandelier still glistening above, reflecting beams of truth, she holds her breath; would she remember the dance?

They’re watching, he breathes as he begins to glide with the music.

A ray of light lights them up, exposing their production. Heat rises in her skin, adjusting to the attention of the room.

She could not lose this far into the night, for fumbling now meant drowning in front of far too many.