Do You Dance?

Submitted by Kyleigh on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 18:36

His dark eyes quietly glanced over the room, all thoughts hidden behind the mask of silence that covered his face.
A young girl, maybe fifteen, appeared at his side, her light eyes and hair contrasting with his darker complexion.
“Do you dance?” She asked quietly, sensing the deep quiet and thoughtfulness inside of him.
Her face shifted into a questioning look, and her blue eyes seemed as if they were about to laugh. “Why not?”
“More suited to swords and music,” he replied quickly, looking slightly to the side to see the girl.
She laughed. “So is my brother.” She pointed to a young man with curly light brown hair dancing among the guests at the party. “So I don’t take that as an excuse.”
“I would frighten you if I tried to dance,” he said.
She tried to figure out if he was joking or not. “I’ve seen worse.”
“So you think.”
“Maybe if you showed me I’d change my mind a little.”
He smiled half-heartedly. “Or maybe I’d haunt your nightmares forever.”
She wrinkled her nose and shook her head, then stuck her hand out for him to shake. “Lizzie.”
He took her hand loosely but firmly, and shook it quickly. “Jacob.”
“Why do you hide like this?” She asked finally.
“Hide? I’m in entryway of the ballroom, am I not?”
She shook her head. “Not like that, and you know that.”
“Maybe there’s nothing to hide.”
“Or maybe it’s hidden behind the mask you wear,” Lizzie added.
“You can’t be much older than my brother. Eighteen at the oldest. What reason do you have to wear a mask?”
“You are correct, I am eighteen. As for the mask, that is a long story.”
“We just ate dinner. You know the way balls are – guests sometimes don’t leave until early morning,” said Lizzie.
Jacob nodded stiffly. “Aye.”
“Care to tell me?”
“It’s probably about time I let the mask slip,” Jacob motioned to two chairs near where they stood, and both he and Lizzie sat. He stared at the dancers for a minute, then turned to Lizzie.
“My father was a sailor,” Jacob began. “Well, the captain of an East India trading ship. We were rich until the storms came.” He paused. “One day we got word that he had stayed behind on the sinking ship to give others a chance to escape in the lifeboats. His death hurt me more than anything, driving deep into the my ten-year old heart. I began to shut myself out from the world, encased in my thoughts, locked in my own world… I was just beginning to come out of this when the next tragedy struck. The fever came, and it took my mother and sisters with it. It was just me and my two younger brothers left, and I had to take care of them. Our neighbors rushed us to my uncle’s house, and my uncle became our legal guardian. The months passed, and I grew some, learning sword fighting, music, critical thinking, arithmetic. One of my brothers ran away, and we never found him. I personally took the blame for this, in trying to hide from the world and consuming myself with my studies, I had ignored my brothers. And little Jonathan took that as hatred.” He stopped talking, fiddling with his necktie. “There was such pain in my heart, and the only way of escape I found was to throw myself into my studies all the more, going at sword fighting and music all the more vigorously. But it didn’t work, the pain was still there, encased in a mask, encased in silence. It hurt more than ever.”
Jacob brushed a hand over his eyes, closing them and trying to go on.
“You do a good job of hiding your pain,” Lizzie commented.
“Lizzie, if you learn anything from me, learn this – a shell against the world will not get you anywhere. If my uncle had not been as wise and discerning as he was, I would still be like I was then. Yet by the grace of God he took me aside one day, and it all came tumbling out. It was humbling, I, a fifteen year old boy, sobbing in my uncle’s arms. But it felt good, and some pain was gone after that, but the shell was not. I found it hard to love, hard to smile, hard to take pleasure in anything. I stopped dancing, and the music I played stayed dark and somber. Habits of five years are hard to break, Lizzie. Some have taken these three years and are still not broken.”
Both were silent.
Lizzie trembled. “I am sorry I pressed you so about the mask…”
“Don’t be. Sometimes the only way to get rid of pain is to release it and share it with another. Thank you for listening, Lizzie.”
“That story wasn’t so long,” she commented. “There’s still music here… still dancing. A chance for healing.”
Jacob stood. “It will be the first time in many years, Lizzie.” He bowed. “May I have this dance?”
Smiling, Lizzie stood and curtsied, then took Jacob’s outstretched hand. “Of course.”
Christmas came, and Jacob again stood in the doorway of Lizzie’s house, watching the dancing from a distance, yet this time smiling slightly and not looking so reticent. A petite girl, blue eyes and golden hair shining approached him, and her arm lightly brushed his.
“Do you dance?” she asked.
“Aye,” he whispered, and both smiled.
Author's age when written

Another writing prompt contest entry... for some reason they always end up somewhat melancholy. Anywho, most of this came as I was writing, but the conversation at the beginning about dancing is based on an actual conversation with someone.


"There's still music here...still dancing." I love that quote.
I know some people like Jacob. Wish I could be a Lizzie.
This is very beautiful, Kyleigh. You have an incredible mastery of words.

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

It reminded me slightly of Pride and Prejudice as well. You wrote it very well. Good job. :)

"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Thanks everyone. :)

Brianna and Christa- yeah... as the story progressed I realized that Jacob (who had originally been modeled a little bit after a friend of mine) was a lot like Mr. Darcy. Funny thing is that my friend really isn't much like Mr. Darcy and has many times refused to watch P&P.

Heather - I know a few, too. Jacob is actually modeled after someone who is quite reticent, though I don't think he's actually hiding from the world, he's just cautious in getting to know people and thinks a lot and doesn't smile much. He's a great person once he opens up to you, though, but he still seems to hide slightly, but that may just be the way I'm reading him.

Great job Ky! Another great story. :)

Luv you! Miss you!


I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I enjoy these kind of stories -- stories where a character is given another chance, a new start.

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

I like the ending, where a different girl asks him, "Do you dance?"  and he says, "Aye." 

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya