The Music Box

She was the ballet dancer in a music box

he discovered sitting in the corner of his hotel room

with curiosity, he twisted the key till it would turn no more

opened the lid and dutifully she began to dance

singing the same song over and over

dancing around and around in circles

against the backdrop of her vanity mirror

he left the room and left her alone.

 

Becoming dizzier and dizzier and more lightheaded

singing to herself, for hours on end

desperate to please, with an urgency to enchant

even though he wasn’t listening

even at distance

as the mirror watched her enthusiasm gradually slow

every time she faced it

a teardrop slid from her cheek.

 

When finally he returned

he closed the lid

silencing her song, returning her to the dark loneliness

of the music box

he didn’t spare her another thought

she was little more than an ornament to him

a curio, a toy

her song too sweet to be trusted

her dance too predictable.

 

That’s what unrequited means baby-

 

One day a stranger will open the lid of that music box

excited to hear her sweet music for the first time

only to discover she’s been waiting around

long enough for the key to rust

her clockwork heart to become brittle

and the only tune she’ll have left

will be a remnant of a broken dream

a slow fractured melody

her favourite song, ending with ‘once upon a time’

she’ll struggle to find the notes

that made her sing

she’ll remove her ballet shoes

for good.

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