My Ballerina Bear

‘One more piece,’ I murmur to myself.

I unwind myself from the position I’ve held for last half hour,

And have a moment of pure panic,

I stand and turn in endless circles, my eyes glued to the floor.

It’s the last piece to my favourite puzzle,

And it’s missing.

My entire childhood was spent slaving over this puzzle,

Completing it faster and faster each time I did it.

It was one of those Ravensburger puzzles,

A beautiful picture of a ballet studio.

Round fluffy teddy bears of all colours and sizes,

Dressed in their elegant ballerina costumes,

As they danced en pointe with tiaras in their fur and wands in their paws.

But I never admired those ballerinas,

I never wished to be in the limelight.

It was the little girl sitting in the bottom left corner of the puzzle,

Hurriedly tying up her shoes that always caught my attention.

I made up a story in my head of this little ballerina bear.

She was waiting anxiously for her turn,

She was waiting to shine.

No one knew how hard she practiced,

Or how good she was.

She was tiny but just as fierce.

If I’d been like all the other girls my age and believed in happy endings,

My ballerina bear would’ve gotten her chance.

She would have been amazing and she’d have been happy.

But I never believed in happy endings,

And I didn’t want that for my ballerina bear.

I wanted her to be herself.

No plot twists,

No cliff-hangers,

Just her.

That way she would never be ruined,

She would always be beautiful,

And she’d always happy.

I never actually found that last puzzle piece.

In all the twelve years I had the puzzle,

I only lost that one piece.

It was a piece of my little ballerina bear,

Of her tiny ballerina shoe.

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