CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and ONE
“What did you do?” Frederec said.
“I remembered Mrs. Yvonne,” Sissy said. “Do you know her?”
“The most beautiful woman I have ever seen,” Frederec said. “Ever. And that’s saying a lot. My mother and I have had the pleasure of dressing her a few times.”
“She was treated really horribly by this guy,” Sissy said. “She was humiliated publicly. Shamed! Everyone knows or at least knew what she was. Yet, she’s always so gracious, polite. She doesn’t let anyone dim her beauty. When you see her, you can see her beauty and power. No one can dim her grace. I want to be like her.”
Frederec nodded in agreement.
“She told me once that the shame belonged to her Spider,” Sissy said. “That’s what she calls the guy who held her captive.”
“She is correct,” Frederec said.
“Yes, she is,” Sissy said. “So I just took off my leotard. I didn’t take off my tights. I figured if he wanted me to take off my sports bra, he would just have to ask.”
“And did he,” Frederec said.
“Oh, Sissy, I’m so sorry,” Frederec said.
“It was great, really,” Sissy said. “I took off the bra and stood there thinking of the grace and beauty of Mrs. Yvonne. He ordered me to do some dance forms. I started and like one second later, the girl who’s the highest position in my year was dancing with her top and bra off too. Her male partner took off his top and was dancing on the other side of me. It was like a mutiny. Everyone in the class took off their leotards and bras, you know, if they were wearing them.”
“I know!” Sissy said. “It was great for me — and very confronting to the teacher. I could tell he was ashamed of himself. He called the class early and then asked to speak to me alone. The lead boy in my year told him that they would not allow him to humiliate me further. I was a member of their class. If the teacher had something to say, he could say it to the whole class.”
Frederec softly applauded and Sissy grinned.
“I mean, for me?” Sissy leaned forward and clutched her heart. “My heart was pounding a million miles a minute. The tension was thick and awful. I was sure someone was going to be in big trouble. BIG TROUBLE.”
“You were not in an American classroom,” Frederec said.
“I know!” Sissy said. “I was just saying … I mean, that would never happen in any classroom I’ve ever been in.”
Frederec nodded and grinned.
“And then, it was okay,” Sissy said. “The teacher recovered himself. He told the class that we were correct. Once he’d seen the wounds, he’d realized that he didn’t really need to see them. And then everyone clapped. It was …”
“Awesome,” Frederec said.
Taking a drink of her tea, Sissy nodded.
“And was it worth it?” Frederec asked.
“You mean, did he end up having something to say about my injuries and dancing?” Sissy asked.
“Not really,” Sissy said. “He acknowledged that the trouble I have with my leg is from constriction due to the injury. He told me to work through strengthening and stretching the muscles I’m already working on. He had me dance with the lead boy and then asked the boy what he thought. He said that I was a little weak on one side, but not bad or more noticeable than a lot of dancers. So, it wasn’t anything I didn’t know. But it was good, I guess, that we’re all on the same page, you know?”
“Overall, it was a good day,” Frederec said.
“Awesome day,” Sissy said. “Because of Mrs. Yvonne.”
Frederec held up his glass of whiskey and Sissy emulated him with her tea.
“Dieu vous protège, Mrs. Yvonne,” Frederec said.
“God bless, Mrs. Yvonne,” Sissy said in agreement. “I’m going to try to be like her more often.”
“Good thinking,” Frederec said.
Nodding, Sissy smiled and, for the first time, looked out the window at the Parisian street beyond.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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