Aiko wandered through the stately Musee d'Orsay, amazed by the master paintings. Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, they were all there, but it was the Degas Ballerinas that totally fascinated her. She could sit for just hours staring at the delicate young girls, pirouetting and pliéing as if nothing else in the world mattered other than grace, and beauty.
She imagined herself in one of those old sun dappled studios, in her leotard and long layered skirt, a cute little ribbon tied around her neck, a big colorful sash cinching her waist, and a generous bow draping over the back of the skirt. Then there were the slippers, which made the dancers seem to almost achieve weightlessness--made them seem tethered to the surface only by the tiny point of the toe.
She dreamed so fervently that she felt herself falling into one of the paintings. She became one of those beautiful young girls, forever fixed in a dance of joy, far away from any earthly troubles.
The old guard, doing his rounds through the galleries, wondered idly where the pretty girl with the wide eyes had gone, he had seen her only moments before. She had seemed particularly enraptured by the Degas. He glanced at the painting she had been staring into so intently and was struck by the dancer's face, wondering why it seemed a different face than the one he had passed a thousand times before.