This would be her last dance. She knew it. She could feel it, the surge of life inside her. Never had she felt so alive when she was so close to death. All her life, she had been constantly flirting with death, living off the danger. The life of a daredevil excited her, it was what gave her life meaning. Yep, she and death – or the devil to be more precise – were practically buddies. The closeness they shared was truly intense. Passionate yet deadly, like, for instance, the attraction between a moth and a flame. The moth knows that approaching a flame would only result in its doom and yet, it does so. One could call it “Playing with fire”. This was exactly the sort of relationship she and the devil shared. Oh, the dances they had! Those intimate, fiery dances…they brought her great exhilaration and joy! She knew it was only a matter of time until she yielded to the devil’s fiery embrace when her soul and the devil would be one being, in perfect harmony with each other. Today was that day. She could see the devil clearly now. Regal and Proud. He was beautiful in a deadly way and there was a mischievous sparkle in his eyes.
“So, shall we commence?” He offered her his arm. “I’ve been waiting for this.” She could only smile in reply. She took his hand for their one last dance together.
The devil did not disappoint. They started slowly at first, swaying to the dark yet beautiful melody which seemed to be emanating from all around her. She could see embers and will-o-the-wisps flare to life s they danced. The embers themselves seemed to be mesmerised in their dance, as they tried to match the couple’s movements. In her mind, she remembered her childhood. A beautiful little flame brought into existence by a mere spark. The embers around her burned bright and yellow, pure innocence radiating from them. The dancers’ pace slowly quickened. No more was she a child, a bright little flame. The embers turned a deep red as they began to flare more vigorously than before. Her adolescent stage, a period of great uncertainty and change. The flames now seemed to change colour every now and then, burning from red to blue to red again, as if uncertain which colour to choose. She was reliving her past, her life.
The pace now quickened even more and the melody got darker and darker, still radiating the same eerie beauty the flames were now roaring, their heat began to engulf her, their brilliance began to dazzle her. She was engulfed in the inferno which was her life. The life of a daredevil – a thrill seeker – full of exciting twists and turns, not to mention the risks involved. It was an ethereal feeling and she was enjoying every bit of it.
The devil held her close as did she, their movements synergising the roaring flames. “Not for now…”, the devil whispered. She could feel it too, the moment when she and the devil would become one, the moment when she would be his. As she gave up her last breadth, a gasp of joy and surprise, she merged with the devil. They were not two but one, a single being dancing, bathed in flames and music.
The excitement began to die down and the flames slowly withdrew. The melody got softer and softer until it was almost inaudible.
It was over. The devil stood there breathing slowly and deeply. His eyes were closed and there was a mischievous smile on his face. “Well, that was fun…”, he uttered. He opened his eyes and set them upon a different soul.
“Time to move on.”
My daughter emerged, at the racers gangway. She looked so bold, so beautiful in the face of danger of the mighty obstacle race course. She wanted this and I couldn’t refuse her last wish. The doctor said she still had a few more days to live before the lump in her head killed her but she wanted to do it today. Only our closest family members and her husband had gathered to watch this. My daughter, the Calypso’s final performance.
The obstacle course was treacherous. She had designed this herself. A sixty foot jump followed by two loop the loops and a ring of fire that would explode when she crossed. She liked it to be extravagant. The doctors said even if she made the jump, if the strain didn’t kill her, the fall definitely would. I tried to talk her down. She didn’t listen. She said only one thing. “I do not want a quiet death. I am a performer. And to me, what better way is there to die.”?
She climbed on to her tricked out bike at the top of the ramp. She looked my way. Her gaze gave me shivers. On her face was a very disturbing smirk, as if she was going to meet someone she had known all along. She met my eyes. I nodded, tears welled up in my eyes. She blew a kiss to her husband and put on her helmet over her bald head. All the medication and radiation had left her crown empty.
Once she put on her helmet, she was a different person altogether. Her posture changed, her gaze was unflinching and straight. She was ‘the Calypso’. I never watched her perform, fearing the worst of outcomes and today I knew what she was driving to and I cannot afford to miss the last moments of my little princess. She started her bike and sped down the ramp and hit the jump, she flew through the air as gracefully as a swan and hit the other side hard, but she kept going and moved effortlessly through the loop the loops.
She was in a different world altogether. She was not seeing the human world, she could see something else.
She sped towards the last leg of the course towards the ring of flame beyond which the drop was close to thirty feet. She crossed the ring and it exploded, she was suspended in mid air when she shouted a single word that sounded like ‘Now’, and she hit the ground safely with a slit thud, stepped of the bike and almost simultaneously collapsed. I just stood there watching as my little princess met death on her own terms.
Sai Ranjeet Narayan