Edward Anthony Masen
"What am I going to do with you Clara?" I asked as the girl beside me attempted to play piano. Her smile was infectious the whole time as she played. But she was without a doubt, absolutely terrible.
"Cut me some slack Edward," Clara giggled. "Not everyone can play Beethoven."
She stood up from the piano stool and moved towards the centre of the dance studio. She pulled her coffee hair up and laced her pointe shoes. I began playing Clair de Lune and watched as Clara moved to the music. She danced like an angel, beautiful and graceful. Expressing herself into her dance was a blessing to witness.
While on pointe she skittered across the studio and did five pirouettes, her legs elongated as she fell onto the floor and looked like she was gasping for air. It was all apart of the show. Then Clara bounced up and leapt into the air, her body a straight line. Finally she did Grand Jete across the room- floating on air for a second- then landed impeccably.
I faded out of the song and Clara's moves slowed.
"Thank you Mr. Masen," she smiled. Clara put her thick coat over the top of her dancing attire and changed her pointe shoes for a pair of boots. It was getting cooler now in Chicago.
"The pleasure was mine Miss. Brooke."
We both started laughing at the formalities and she came over towards me. My heart thumped against my chest as Clara placed her head on my shoulder. "Your mother wouldn't be happy with me if I brought you home late."
I shook my head, stifling a laugh. "No she wouldn't be."
I grabbed her hand and we left the dance studio.
The sky was already dark. We walked together, following the streetlights as we walked along the beach front. Small waves crashed against the shore and salty air hung. A cold breeze came off the water but it was refreshing in a way. It was reasonably quiet, stores had shut but bars were filled few people watching the baseball. Clara reached for my hand and squeezed it tight. "Edward I'm nervous," she breathed out. "What if my French isn't up to their standards -"
"You're the best dancer I know," I said truthfully. "The Paris Opera Ballet gave you that scholarship for a reason. They'll be impressed by your work ethic, not many of their international students would've taken the time to learn French before going."
"It's been my dream since I was three years old. There's a lot riding on this scholarship- I don't want to stuff up."
Clara was a ballerina and I went to every one of her shows. Even at sixteen she was already a recognisable name and was outperforming even the best of ballerina's in Chicago. At one of her shows three months back, Clara was introduced to a scout who had followed her progress for a year and she was given a full scholarship to the most prestigious ballet school.
"You won't stuff it up. You'll be the best ballerina the Paris Opera Ballet has seen," I smiled. "Do we need to go over the plan again?"
Clara nudged my side, her sky blue eyes catching the above moonlight in them.
Our plan was simple one; we'd made it up when we were thirteen. Clara would join the Paris Opera Ballet and I would join the U.S. Army one I turned eighteen. Then once we'd accomplished our dreams, we would come back to each other and continue our lives from there.
But just as things started getting interesting between us- flirting and holding hands- she would have to leave for Paris.
We continued our walk back home. Clara lived a block down from where my parents resided- or should I say my mother- my father was too encased in his business to be home. Finally we turned onto my street. Clara walked me to the door and then stopped, this would be the last time I would see her. Her boat was leaving tomorrow morning.
"I'll write to you," she promised. "As soon as I get to Paris."
I hugged her tightly, she smelled like strawberries. "Don't worry about me," I said. "Go follow your dream."
When Clara pulled away, she wiped her eyes. "And you follow yours."
"Say goodbye for your parents for me."
"I will Edward." She laughed and put her hands to the back of her neck. The necklace she wore became loose and she placed in my palm. "Please keep this safe."
The necklace had been hers since her tenth birthday, before that it belonged to her mother. It was warm as she squeezed my hand over it. "Clara I can't take this-"
"No," she shook her head defiantly. "I want you to have it."
Clara let go of my hand but I didn't give it back. I would return it to her when we saw each other again. "Goodbye Edward Anthony Masen Jr," she said.
"Goodbye Clara Elizabeth Brooke."
She kissed my cheek and turned around to leave. As Clara walked down the street my mother opened the door and told me to come inside. She noticed my eyes following Clara and she smiled. "You'll see her soon Edward."
I sighed and watched until she turned a corner. "I hope so mother. I hope so."
It had been two weeks after Clara and her parents had left for Paris. I was playing piano while Mother dusted around the house. She was humming along to the song I had composed, it was a soft one. The ivory keys moved under my fingers as I played along.
A knock on the door interrupted my playing and I hit the wrong key.
"I'll get that," Mother said. I cursed myself for allowing to get distracted and turned back to piano. After a few minutes my mother walked in from behind me. I stopped playing and turned around to find her face pained.
Her hands were white as she gripped the morning paper.
"What's the matter?" I asked. A tear fell down her cheek but she cleared her throat and looked at the paper.
"Edward I'm so sorry," my mother quivered. "Clara's boat-"
I didn't wait for her to finish and went over. Mother handed me the paper and covered her face as she sat down on the couch. On the front page was a breaking report. I read over it and braced myself.
Boat accident leaves no survivors
A boat on it's way to Paris has met a horrible fate when a group of fisherman spotted remains of a cruise boat on the gulf of Northern France. After searchers looked through the damage it was obvious the amount of trauma the cruise boat went through. Whether is was caught in a storm or attacked by a warship is still unknown. What is known is out of the 600 passengers there have been no recorded survivors as most bodies have been recovered but in unrecognisable states.
Among the bodies recovered was Chicago psychiatrist Wilbur Brooke, who's skills have been acknowledged worldwide. He was going to France with his wife Evangeline Brooke, who's body has also been recovered and sixteen year old daughter Clara Elizabeth Brooke, who's body is still yet to be found. The family were going to Paris because young ballet protégé Clara was going to attend the Paris Opera Ballet, an opportunity of a lifetime. Tragically, the teenage girl will never live her dream.
I dropped the paper and saw my mother crying. My hands were shaking violently as my legs wanted to give way. Everything inside me ached but I managed to let out a cry of pain.
My best friend of ten years. The girl I grew up with- the one I loved so much.
She was gone. My heart crumbled into a million pieces