The final Nutcracker song filled the theatre. She was swirling, spinning countless times around on one, silken foot, ribbons circling around her calf. Glimmering lights made her cloud pink dress sparkle brilliantly. She was the centerpiece, for she was the youthful, wanderlust Sugar Plum Princess. She closed her eyes for a split second—she wasn’t acting anymore. This was real. Her heart raced, her breath was quick, and she felt like she was flying. There was no audience anymore. It was she and Prince Eric and the townspeople, all celebrating together with dancing, sunshine, and festive music—with life.
As the next great burst of music sprang forth from the orchestra beneath her, Rosamond leapt into the air, her legs flying in front and behind her as her slender arms were outstretched. She threw her head back. She wanted to laugh for joy. Upon hitting the ground she twirled several steps and joined hands with Derrick—Prince Eric. They smiled at each other as the duet began, not because they were on stage and simply required to smile, but because they both felt the magic of the night and even shared in the love that their characters expressed.
They danced, lost in each other’s glimmering eyes, hers brown and his blue and both full of emotion. Their body movements evoked complete silence from the audience—such a contrast from the celebration on stage. Village people danced, trailing a vibrant rainbow of ribbons behind them as they went. Other young girls took up partners and danced gracefully in the background, but she and Derrick remained in the forefront of the stage, lights following their every move.
They fell into each step in such a precise manner, and yet it was all natural. They were lost from this world. And in the final scene, he’d kissed her.
“Derrick,” the old woman whispered after passing the elderly man. The memory of that youthful, carefree night had flashed before her eyes and consumed her mind. She could see his young, handsome face as they had danced in that final scene. She remembered the feeling of strength and freedom and power. Of carefree joy. And she remembered that face… It was Derrick. She’d caught sight of his eyes as they passed—the same eyes that she’d fallen in love with.
But he was deformed and crippled, now. The energy in his movements had left. The color in his face had drained over so many years. And there was no smile. He was old.
She chuckled to herself. Old. She was old too, now. White hair, using a cane just as he did, bundled up as if the weather itself was too much to handle anymore. She had lost the vigor of life too.
He had not recognized her…but maybe he would. She hoped he would. Tonight, or tomorrow. Or maybe next week or even next month. She wanted him to remember the night of the Nutcracker—remember youth and beauty and joy. Remember days that had slipped away without their notice, never to return.
She hobbled on, continuing in the opposite direction of where youth—a memory, a dream–had been resurrected for a few fleeting seconds. As she sighed, a smile lifted her lips. “Eric…”