Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “dancing”…
The opening of the clasp always acted as an early-warning system.
It was like the key of a parent turning in a front door, which allows a teenager and his girlfriend time to sit up straight on the couch, re-arrange their clothing and switch on the TV, hitting any channel at random, so that when said parent arrives into the living room they look about as guilty as it is possible to look, sitting two feet apart and watching, apparently intently, Tili a’i ffrindiau on S4C, the Welsh language channel.
In Angie’s case (quite literally, actually) the sound of the clasp gave her time to drag herself up onto her feet, and then further up onto her toes, en pointe, and to swish her dress out, Marilyn-style, so that by the time the jewellery box was fully open Angie the Ballerina would be ready to dance.
The music would start and she would slowly pirouette to the tune. Her lack of speed was not by design but by choice, since she had long ago established by bitter experience that if she spun any quicker she threw up.
And that tune, oh God, that tune. O For The Wings Of A Dove may well be one of the beautiful pieces of music ever written, but the jewellery-box version sounded as if it was being whistled by metallic budgies. It was almost sacrilege, like someone playing Smoke On The Water on the bagpipes, or Moonlight Sonata on a kazoo.
Plus it was the only piece of music that she ever got to hear. She had grown to hate it as much as an ice-cream van driver hates the theme to Match Of The Day.
Whenever the box was open she could see the couple on the Weather Clock, Sonny and Claudia. How she envied them. Yes, they were always apart during the daytime, but she could imagine them at night in their little apartment at the back of the clock, with a huge music collection, an energetic love-life and long conversations, even if mainly about the weather.
When the box was closed Angie was alone. She would amuse herself by hula-hooping with a bangle, drawing moustaches on the cameo brooches with an old lipstick or playing basketball with a stray pearl, throwing it into a hoop that she had made from a nipple-ring, a long-abandoned memento of her owner’s teenage years.
If she was really bored she tied impossibly tight knots in the neck-chains.
But most of all she danced in the darkness, dances other than ballet to music that she played in her head. Salsa, rumba, Dad-dancing, jive, even moon-walking, although she reckoned that that was really just walking backwards.
She had even tried Morris Dancing, using a hairpin as a stick and thwacking herself on the head with it as she jumped about.
Then one evening her owner tried to take out a dangly ear-ring that had got wrapped around the gnome on a charm bracelet. She pulled too hard in frustration and the entire box fell onto the floor in a massive clatter of rolled gold and cubic zirconia. She managed to recover all of the jewellery, and the box was undamaged apart from the fact that it now played Achy Breaky Heart.
To her surprise, however, she could find no trace of the ballerina.
Angie now lives in the bedroom of her owner’s small son. There are lullabies sung there at night and The Wheels On The Bus played on a CD player during the day. She is going out with Jeff, a Subbuteo footballer in AFC Wimbledon colours. She supposes that this makes her a WAG but she doesn’t care. She has never been happier.
In fact, she often dances with joy.