The Recital

She gingerly positioned herself on the tip of her left pointe and shifted her weight so that she was now balancing herself solely on the tip of her toes.

Calm down. It's just like practice, she soothed herself.

Trying not to focus on any one face in the audience, she smiled and pirouetted in front of the other dancers who remained motionless as though listening to what she had to say. When she reached the other side of the stage, she collapsed on one knee and waited like all the rest. Before she lowered her head, she stole a glance at the audience.

It looked like a million people were sitting out there and every one of them seemed to be captivated by the movements and twirls. She tried to avert her gaze from the front row, but it was futile.

The mousy, brown haired man came perfectly into view. He wore an ironed and pressed black suit with a pocket on the right breast which held one solitary pen. On his lap was a pad of ruled paper. She couldn't see whether he wrote anything down yet. By his feet was his briefcase. It was official looking and had the intent of warding off "simple-minded" people. The mere sight of him made Marie turn her head the opposite direction.

It was her turn again to move. She glided on the tips of her toes and waved her hands to the background music. She circled her friends twice, pirouetted in front of them, and stayed still.

Flashes of light from camera blinded her and a headache soon followed. She tried not to stare at the mousy man who held her future in his hands, but the temptation was too great. She made a point of smiling broadly, and curtsied slightly while maintaining eye contact.

Almost as soon as the curtain opened, it was closing once again separating the dancers from the audience.

"Wonderful job, girls. Très bien," Madame Marseille gushed clapping her hands and rushing toward them. "I think the audience really enjoyed this performance." She looked at each face affectionately as if each were her own daughter. "And you," she looked directly at Marie. "You were beautiful. Très magnifique. Monsieur Popov won't have any reason to not accept you."

Madame cupped Marie's slim face in her hands.

"You'll make it somewhere. You'll be somebody. I promise. Je promet."

The End

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