CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTEEN
Wednesday afternoon — 3:45 p.m.
New York City, New York
Seth O’Malley waited outside the classroom where Ivan was teaching the male Esprit de Corps dancers. He’d tried to time his visit with the end of class, but it seemed that the dancers had bartered with Ivan for a longer class.
In all the years of knowing Ivan, he’d never known the man to break even one rule. Seth idly wondered what they possibly could have given Ivan to cause him to break this rule. When he saw Ivan, he got his first clue.
Ivan looked exhausted.
As the class left the room, Seth took in a sense of the man. While still incredibly fit, there were dark circles under the man’s blood shot eyes. He moved as if he were in pain. Usually too hyper-vigilant, Seth walked all the way into the classroom before Ivan noticed he was there.
Ivan saw Seth and his face turned an unnatural shade of grey.
“Sissy?” Ivan asked.
“Fine,” Seth said, soothingly. “Absolutely fine. How has she seemed to you?”
“Good,” Ivan said.
“Lonely,” Seth said.
“Good for dancer to be lonely,” Ivan said, immediately. “Builds character needed to be world class.”
Seth raised his eyebrows at Ivan and smiled. Catching his look, Ivan shrugged. Ivan pointed to himself.
“Old man,” Ivan said.
“Pushing too hard,” Seth said. “Under too much strain.”
Ivan’s eyes scanned Seth’s face. This man had reached into hell to pull Ivan out for no other reason than he could. Seth O’Malley was one of the only people Ivan trusted completely.
“Why are you here?” Ivan asked, in an attempt to be more normal.
“I have been presented with a puzzle that I wondered if you might help me with,” Seth said.
“I’m kind of …” Ivan gestured to himself and the classroom.
Seth put his hand on Ivan’s arm.
“You are pushing too hard,” Seth repeated.
“And you know this? How?” Ivan sniffed at Seth.
“I recognize the condition in myself,” Seth said.
To force Ivan to slow down, Seth took a seat along the wall. After a moment, Ivan sat down next to Seth.
“You know more about recovery and longevity in dance than any person on the planet,” Seth said.
“Baryshnikov,” Ivan said.
“Who consults with you,” Seth said.
Ivan gave Seth a blistering scowl. Immune to the blistering stare, Seth grinned. Ivan scowled.
“Need the …” Ivan lost the word. He stumbled for a moment and then shook his head. He made a gesture with his hand. “Just gone.”
“You are exhausted,” Seth said. “Is it just Sissy?”
“Otis,” Ivan said and then the man’s actual name.
“We are in trouble,” Ivan said.
“Ah, yes,” Seth said. “I have heard that.”
“Don’t wish to return to gulag,” Ivan said.
“Nightmares?” Seth asked.
Ivan gave a quick nod.
“You no tell Sissy,” Ivan said.
“I no tell Sissy,” Seth said.
Ivan looked offended at Seth’s imitation of pigeon English. Seth pointed to Ivan.
“Really?” Ivan asked his hand against his chest.
“You’re exhausted,” he repeated.
“Is true,” Ivan said, in an exaggerated Russian accent.
Seth laughed. They sat in silence. More than once, Ivan opened his mouth to speak. He invariably thought better of it and closed his mouth.
“Do you think people would let me teach them without degree and … the rest?” Ivan asked.
“I think you’d have to beat people off with a stick,” Seth said.
“Sounds bloody,” Ivan said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.