Hard to Escape Chapter 30 Part2
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Candle: Ok I think I figured it out… So the updates are supposed to be at 6pm EST (3pm PST) every Monday but I kept setting it to 3pm these past few weeks because I'm on the west coast atm. BUT this blog is on EST so it would come out at 12pm PST….but I didn't notice b/c I'm an idiot. I guess we'll just continue releasing 3 hours earlier for now.
I lifted the blanket resting atop the wheelchair to reveal my new red satin shoes.
Enthralled, I ran my hands over them. It was as if they bore the weight of all my dreams. Sitting in the wheelchair, I stuck out my legs, and proudly displayed the shoes. My arms gently swayed.
Then, I finally mustered up all my courage and stood up from the wheelchair. I attempted to take a small step, toe pointed in caution. Then, my face lit up in joy and excitement. I took another step. And another. And another. Finally, my hunched back straightened. Like the lone narcissus flower, I overflowed with self-love and pride, and radiated with light.
I twirled in the air and leapt with joy. The hem of my dress soared.
But then, I saw Yin Xuan, my sister. Her dancing was n.o.ble and reserved, and she held her chin high. I wanted to draw closer, but the spotlight that illuminated her was too dazzling. I was blinded by the light and retreated. I hunched over once again. Outside her halo of light, I spun and danced. My posture was crude, and it was as if I was crawling. I started learning from her. However, the shadows we cast were different. Hers was graceful and beautiful. Yet mine, a poor imitation, were seemingly in disarray.
I started venting at my shadow. I chased it, wanting to tear it apart. But this was naturally futile.
Faint applause sounded from the corner my sister was in. And so finally, my face warped into a vile expression.
I was angry. I was resentful.
I leapt towards her in an arching leap. The music crescendoed. She still danced the same slow, graceful ch.o.r.eography. Yet I seemed to have evolved into the devil. My footwork was chaotic and carried intense emotion. I twirled and leapt nonstop, as if I could draw upon a bottomless well of explosive energy.
I wanted to dance my despair, my tears, and all my envy and struggles.
As a wheelchair-bound girl who was paralyzed for almost my entire life, I was quiet and withdrawn. But at this moment, in my conjured dreamland, I was able to dance, just like my sister. I danced with fervor. The movement of my arms told of all that I had suppressed. My robbed youth that I spent in a wheelchair was embodied in every turn and movement I made.
Every muscle of mine quivered, and I could hear my own heart pounding fiercely.
I was her, and she was me.
I didn't want to be the handicapped girl who was pitied by others. I also wanted to dazzle onstage; I desperately wanted to show who I was. I wanted everyone's gazes to fall on me. I wanted everyone to applaud for me.
Because of that, I hated my sister. I hated how she could stand in such a bright place, yet I would never be able to dazzle like her.
Then, Yin Xuan and I exchanged a glance. Under the lights, half of her face was cast in shadow. But her eyes were fixed on me.
She suddenly abandoned the slow, graceful ch.o.r.eography that the director and ch.o.r.eographer had agreed upon. She shook off the "refined" label and leapt to face me. Our faces were inches away from each other. Her gaze was unyielding and wild.
That was the real her.
I danced a move. Then she did the same move in the opposite direction. Our eyes were on fire and between us, there was an unspeakable air.
I danced three difficult moves in a row. Yin Xuan closely followed. We danced nonstop in the air. As one rose, the other fell. It was a fervent battle.
The music became more intense and drowned out the scuffing sounds of our shoes.
I saw the words in her eyes. She was also dancing her role. She was the elder sister, and had cared for her handicapped sister for many years without a single complaint. In her heart, she pitied her sister yet also hated her role as elder sister.
Her expression seemed to say: "Why the h.e.l.l are you unhappy when I have to endure so much hards.h.i.+p? Why the h.e.l.l are you able to live an easy life when I'm struggling to survive in the outside world? Why the h.e.l.l do I have to bind such useless baggage to my wings? You think I'm too dazzling. Yet you never realize that you're able to live such a comfortable life because of that!"
She danced with the same fervor.
We glared at each other and circled one another from afar. We were sisters who loved but also hated each other.
After the last grand jete, Yin Xuan suddenly closed the between us distance and hugged me around the waist. The dance changed from a sparring battle to a unified duet.
She advanced and I retreated. I soared in the air and she spun on the ground.
It was as if we were one body that was only temporarily separated by dance.
Or as if we were each others' mirror. I looked at her and she looked at me. Our movements were identical yet unique. We were able to see our own flaws reflected in the other person.
We danced the part of sisters, yet in our hearts we knew that somehow, we were also dancing the roles we played in reality.
We had our differences, and there was deep animosity between us. I hated her, and she hated me. I envied her, and she envied me.
The director didn't yell cut because of the unexpected turn we had taken.
We continued dancing, as if in a tangle. We weren't afraid to bear our hearts and express our true selves. I offered a hand to Yin Xuan. She looked at me and quickly responded by crouching in front of me. I stepped on her leg and stood. She then hoisted me in the air, and I struck a soaring pose. After a brief moment of holding the position, we split.
At this time, the music turned harmonious. We returned to our original positions, but this time our dancing was tender. After those tumultuous emotions, we returned to being a loving pair of sisters.
She continued dancing gracefully in her halo of light. Meanwhile, I slowly moved to the rhythm of the music and returned to my wheelchair. I covered my legs with the blanket once more and adopted a peaceful sleeping pose.
The conflicts and sparring became just a dream.
The director seemed to have forgotten to signal the end of the scene. The whole set looked at Yin Xuan and me with their jaws agape. I was drenched in sweat. Yin Li looked at us, his expression worried. Yin Xuan's face was flushed red, and her gaze wandered. She stood motionlessly in one spot for a moment, then suddenly burst into tears.
The scene had caused her to lose hold of her emotions.
Yin Li had already walked over to comfort her. He brought her home to rest. Before he left, he looked at me profoundly and I met his gaze. My emotions were complicated. No matter if Yin Xuan and I came from two different worlds, and no matter what had happened between us, dance was our common language, that bound us together. Through ballet, we had a strong resonance that others could not understand.
We hated each other, yet understood each other.
This scene not only caused Yin Xuan to lose control of her emotions, but also caused me to feel mentally exhausted. That night, I received her phone call.
She seemed to have returned to normal. Her tone was once more prideful and insufferably arrogant.
"After the shooting of 'Only I Dance' has wrapped up, I'll confess my sins. I'll hold a press conference and come clean. You will receive what you want, so don't bother retaliating against me any longer. And don't use 'love' to torment my brother."
"To be honest, I've always feared you. Even after the car accident, I was still afraid of you. I hated you. You possess everything that I want, and robbed me of everything. To become Madame Taylor's pupil, I slaved away for ten years. You clearly started learning ballet later than me, yet still surpa.s.sed me and took away my spot. What I hate the most is how high and mighty you act. It's like the rest of us are ants in your eyes. I've always hoped to share a stage with you, and compete with you in dance. That way, I could lose and be done with it." She sneered, "I wanted to be able to properly convey emotion through ballet and break through that bottleneck. Who would have thought that it would have come today when I danced with you?"
I wanted to say something, but she cut me off. "Listen to me. Let me finish."
"It's true, I knew Li Jing before you did. I was by his side in his darkest hours. Yet later, you appeared. I didn't recognize my own feelings for him at the time. But then, he became infatuated with you and he didn't even have the time to meet with me as friends. Now, it's the same with my brother. Whether it's ballet, love, friends.h.i.+p, or family, you've stolen it all from me. Even to this day, I hate you."
I finally couldn't keep quiet. "You can hate me. But hatred cannot be your excuse to rob me of my life."
Yin Xuan laughed over the phone. "You think I lived well afterwards? Once I awoke from my stupor and saw you lying in a puddle of blood, I couldn't believe myself capable of doing such a thing. I had been blinded by hate to that degree. But alas, you take one wrong step and it's never the same again. Every second, every moment, I was in fear. But once I returned home and saw you as lively as ever, I knew what living a nightmare really felt like."
"Do you know how terrified and hopeless I was at that time? Even my brother, who loved me, stood by your side and protected you. At that time, I was really afraid. I was afraid of you and my brother. I was so afraid I wanted you to immediately disappear."
My throat became dry. I opened my mouth yet no words came out.
Yin Xuan's voice fluctuated with emotion. "It felt stifling. There wasn't any joy in my life. I hated how ugly I had become, yet I also hated you. That's why I'll go turn myself in. I'd rather ruin myself than let you ruin my brother. Tang Yi Yun, or rather Yan Xiao, I want to apologize to you. You have the right to punish me, but you have no right to punish my brother. He's deserves someone better."
Suddenly, I felt horrible and didn't want to say anything. Once Yin Xuan used this self-destructive method to take responsibility for her wrongdoings, she was fated to have a tragic ending. Moreover, Yin Li and I would have no future together.
"Do not worry. I keep my promises. But right now, I only want to finish shooting this film. This is a good script. As the swan song of my career, it isn't too bad. After the filming, I'll have a press conference and come clean with everything. To me, that is also a kind of liberation."
Even just from Yin Xuan's dancing, I could tell that she was an extremist.
"If you have any sense of humanity in you, please don't tell my brother beforehand. Even if he'll be hurt in the end, I don't want him to know ahead of time. I guess this can be my last act of love for him. He's protected me for so many years, and I also want to be able to protect him."
Yin Xuan seemed to have said all that was to be said, and paused. But then she suddenly burst out crying.
Finally, she said over the phone, choking through sobs, "I hate you. I don't want to accept it. But if I was Madame Taylor, I would have chosen you too."
Candle: Niang Niang had one thing to say about this scene: “DANCE BATTLE!”
Hard to Escape Chapter 30 Part2
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Hard to Escape Chapter 30 Part2 summary
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