We sat down and leaned our backs against the barrier at the front of the stage. It was quite a bit of time before Nick Mulvey came on stage so there was hardly anyone there. Theo seemed to have disappeared somewhere too, but I imagined he was lingering just out of sight, watching me attempting to talk to Cassie.
It was strange. We talked as if we were old friends catching up. Maybe she was a bit desperate to speak English at native pace and maybe a bit relieved to hear it spoken back with some competence. Who knows.
As we spoke, her story seemed to unfold before me like a scroll unfastened and left to roll over the edge of a table. It shook me on a few levels.
She told me a lot, most which may not be permissible to share in a story like this, but there are few things that I do dare to write about.
She told me she had been dancing since she was ten and she felt it in her bones that she was tired. She had a ballet teacher once, a short grey woman with amazing posture, who used to circle round her students like a wolf and shout at them through the cigarette that lounged like a sailor in a hammock in the corner of her mouth. She was infamous for making the ballerinas hold their legs as high as possible and inching them ever higher with the heat from a lit cigarette.