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I went to her graduation. I didn’t tell her I was coming; she wouldn’t have wanted me to. She wasn’t comfortable with my feelings for her. She was a dancer and the ceremony included performances by the graduating class. I wanted to see her dance again. It was the only connection left to me. I wouldn't see her afterwards. Perhaps ever again.

I went alone. I sat in the dark as the lights onstage went up for her ensemble piece. Five dancers. Two men, three women. I don’t remember what the music was.

The other two men and two women broke into pairs. Two pas de deux. She flitted between them until the two pairs exited the stage, leaving her alone. Not entirely alone. There was a chair.

She picked up the chair and began to dance with it. It was achingly beautiful. It seemed to speak of her isolation. Her chosen isolation. And her completeness. As I watched, my heart swelled with emotion I struggled to contain.

In the darkness I cried silently. And felt like a fool. You’re just a lovesick idiot, I told myself. You’ve made up this story about how she’s extraordinary, how she’s this ethereal being, a shooting star. Romantic nonsense. You’re trying to fill some empty place inside you with a ridiculous fiction. Snap out of it for Christ’s sake.

The piece ended.

The audience exploded.

Cheers and whistles and wild applause.

The woman sitting beside me had also come alone, as it turned out. She wheeled around to face me, needing to express something that was overflowing from her. Her eyes were wet with tears.

“Who is that girl?” she said, her voice raw with emotion.

And in that moment I knew it was real. She truly was extraordinary. God damnit.

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