Peanut Butter-Honey Ice Cream with Sriracha Candied Peanuts
I stared at her as she stood in the locker room and moved her hands slowly up and down her perfectly flat, milky-white abdomen from under her black camisole. The top’s low back showed off strong back muscles and its spaghetti straps sat snuggly on pulled-back shoulders that extended into skinny, lean arms. Tight, flared, floor-length spandex covered endless legs. She had finished working out, but you wouldn’t know. There was no rose to her cheeks or shine to her skin, and her blonde pixie cut—soft not blunt—sat untossled on her head, framing her heart-shaped face with perfect waves. She’s a dancer. I don’t know her beyond the blonde and the pale and the black. But I know her.
I know her because I was her. Well, a brunette her. Though likely six to seven years my senior, she is my younger self before illness, fatigue, and injury diminished the place of the art and the sport in my life, aged my limbs and heart, bloated my face. I’m not sure if the trance she put me in was heartbreaking or uplifting. I’m still the bendy-twisty creature with decent balance and an ear for a beat. But I can no longer call myself a dancer—I’m just one who dances. Dancer Lady’s too old to be in a company. She may be a teacher. I don’t know. But she’s a studio rat of some kind. She scurries to the gym on her rare days off to crosstrain, to maintain her strength and stamina. She straddles the equipment with such grace, staring dead-faced ahead and never tiring.