47: An Orphaned Ice Skater

The Boss has been standing very still for a long time. She can see through a tiny crack in the stationery cupboard door. No-one seems to be coming, although she can hear noises on the stairs. She isn't sure if they are getting closer or not. The reams of paper are pressing into her back. She thinks about an alternative career.

The Boss wouldn't mind being an Ice Skater, actually. It's a secret she's never told anyone before, not since she was a child. And then, it was all she talked about. She made costumes from tin foil and cling film, tinsel and milk-bottle tops. She practised twirling on her own, in a quiet corner of the playground. She never got dizzy. She practised, and while she was practising she waited for a man with a side parting and tight trousers to throw her upside down and whirl her through the air until her teeth rattled.

Her father told her she had thick ankles, and her mother thought the flesh coloured tights and glittering mini-skirts were 'inappropriate'. In cold weather The Boss used to pour water on the patio and practice sliding and twirling as soon as it hardened. There was an accident. The Boss frowns. It wasn't her fault, although everyone blamed her.

An orphan doesn't have too many career options.

When the door opens the Boss leaps up quickly and clambers onto the top shelf of the cupboard. There isn't enough room for her here. She hooks her knees over the top of the shelf and lets the top part of her body dangle downwards. Her neat skirt ruffles gently downwards and the hem brushes her chin. Her careful curls uncoil downwards and then spring back up again. She can feel the blood rushing to her head. She can feel her pulse hammering hard in her eyeballs. It has been a very long time since she has been completely upside down.

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