The Princess Ballerina: A short story

This is from a short story prompt on one of my Role Play sites. Each day, we are given a few different prompts. It keeps you writing, even if you arent Role Playing your character. I’ve collected quite a few, and I thought I would share them. This one is dedicated to my good friend, whole name I stole for our lovely lead character. <3 you girl!

The entrance to the morgue was always a comforting sight. Home sweet home.
Okay, maybe that was a little morbid. Patricia couldn’t help it. She’d rather spend her time with the dead rather than the living. She found their stories to be fascinating.
However, being in a city as big as this, many bodies come through that tell no clear story. The homeless where the top of that list. They had very few belongings. Hardly any of them had identification or even family that wanted to claim them.
So Patricia talked to them.
She looked over their tattered bodies and belongings. She wanted them to be remembered in some small way, even if it was just in her imagination.
Body ID # 025479-78
An elderly woman. Patricia judged her to be in her late 70’s. Her weathered skin told of a story on the streets, living in shelters, and foraging for what she could. Her grey hair had been falling out, but there was a pattern to it. She wore a cap or hat most of the time. What was left of her hair was matted and knotted.
Her body was frail, a small hump in her upper back, just below the neck. Arthritis more than likely, her hands also showed signs of it, the fingers becoming curled and painful looking.
Her clothing was layers upon layers of shirts and sweaters. The woman had body lice.
When the autopsy was completed and documents signed, Patricia took a small bag from the woman’s belongings. Most of the contents made little sense. Rocks, thread and yarn. Twisty ties. A cough drop wrapper.
In all the nonsensical things, however, was a locket. Patricia picked it up carefully. She looked over the frail chain, opening the locket. Inside was a single picture. It was old, cracked and faded.
The picture was of a ballerina. Was it this woman? Was it Body # 025479-78?
Patricia let her mind open to this woman’s story.
She was a beautiful young dancer with the Russian Ballet. She was a crown jewel. Loved by all. Her fluid grace enchanted theater goers. She headlined several ballets.
She met a young soldier and fell in love. But their love was ill fated and ended in heartbreak. The performing arts kept the young ballerina quite busy, she gave up all hope of a love life.
Matters at home became worse in ways of politics.
She and her manager defected and fled to the USA. She wasn’t the crown jewel here. The competition for headlining performances was too strong.
She was failing. No longer the Princess Ballerina.
She took what she could, and modeled when she could. She didn’t have the body most men desired, however. Long and lean, rather flat chested, few curves.
Her manager left her. She took up work in a diner serving the sailors around the shipyards. That was where she met him. The man that seemed to pull her out of the fog.
They had been so happy together, for so many years. And though they shared a lovely marriage, it wasn’t without its own tragedies. He wanted children. Lots of boys.
She failed him. A series of miscarriages until her body just gave out. A hysterectomy was performed.
He took to drinking, and so did she.
And then, one night, he just didn’t come home.
Her job just wasn’t enough, and her looks were far gone.
She faced eviction. She was starving. And even with hunger gnawing at her belly, whatever assistance she did get she took to the liquor store.
She fell in with a group of women at the shelter. It was first come, first serve on the beds. Most nights she slept outside, under tunnels, or near the train yards.
And that’s where the ballerina was found.
Patricia closed the locket. She looked to Body # 025479-78. She wished she had a happier story for the woman, one with a nice ending. In Patricia’s mind, however, none of these stories had happy endings. All she could do was image some good memories for these lost people.
She stood from her desk, moving to the body. She gently tucked the locket within the old woman’s hand. She would take her most valued possession with her into the afterlife.
The Princess Ballerina.

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