Molly felt as if she had left her body. The consultant’s lips moved but his voice came from the adjacent room. ‘There are treatments though as yet no cure. We can…’
Her ears simply echoed with ‘multiple sclerosis’, two words that leapt and spun like the opening sequence of her acclaimed Nutcracker, dazzling, gravity defying words that held her as she had that audience.
‘Miss Stephens?’ He was insistent.
She settled a smile, sinking gracefully to his stage, part of his chorus now. Two more words, hers now. ‘How long?’ He misunderstood, thinking she feared her body’s mortality. A shake, soft yielding eyes stopped his dissembling. ‘To dance.’
But she knew. The strength and control had already gone. Soon even myopic fans would see. And that was her real death.
She gave it six months as a guinea pig, let their chemicals do their thing on her nervous system. She allowed them to use her pliant body, just a different choreographer making aching demands on her whole being while her mind did what it had always done and channelled the pain back on itself.
She had spent years with her life scheduled in meticulous detail. So it would be her death. The 15th anniversary of her debut at Covent Garden, October. She dressed carefully, wrapped in the fur she loved and made her way to the Millennium Bridge. The audience was sparse: a sea-sharp wind deterred all but the hardy. No one noticed as the slight figure stepped onto the handrail. One couple gasped as 5000 had that first night, following the arc of her first jump.
Her dance, graceful, determined and focused mirrored the swirling currents of the roaring tumult. The river gave her one final rapturous acclaim and she was gone.
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