Marie sat anxiously by the telephone all day and only moved to eat. A week had passed since the recital, and though she knew big decisions took time, she desperately wanted to know the future now.
She had grown rail thin in the passing week. Though she was already thin by anybody's standard, her too-small clothes now fit her perfectly. Her poorly constructed jeans that were ripped on the knees hugged her hips loosely and she no longer had to tie a piece of string around herself to keep them up. Her shirt, the ones where her stomach peeked from underneath, were now sufficiently covering her middrift.
She wasn't the only one hoping and praying for the phone call. Her mother was growing more and more nervous with each passing day. Though Marie knew why, she still didn't know how studying in Russia would give her mother her job back.
It was three days ago. Four days after the recital that her mother was let go. She had worked as a clothing designer since she was in her pre-teens and now, she didn't know what to do. The girls weren't eating less and there weren't any other jobs available. She was desperate and would take any offer that came her way.
To keep busy, she sewed Marie and Arienne new dresses, though Arienne loathed them. It was the only thing she was trained to do. She was never any good at being the house wife. Marie somehow learned and took care of the house when it was dirtied. Now, though, the house was a mess and Marie still stared at the phone as if by willing, it would ring.
But it did.
The shrill filled her ears with the most beautiful music she'd ever heard. She almost didn't know what to do until her mother rushed beside her.
"Pick it up, Marie. Answer," she said.
"Of course. Bien sûr."
"Bonjour?" Marie asked, but only silence was heard. The hard knock of silence that really, isn't ever really silent.
"Bonjour, Mademoiselle." Marie didn't recognize the voice, but whoever it was, wasn't French. The speaker had no sense of linguistics. She didn't want to assume the best just yet.
"Oui. My name is Marie. Can I help you? Puis-je vous aider?" She spoke slow and drawled her voice to enunciate every syllable. Her mother had to stifle a laugh behind her.
"Yes. I have need to speak you. I bring news good for your family," the speaker said.
Marie was confused. Who was this person and why was their French so terrible. Her brow stitched in wonderment and her mother never missed a beat. She gave Marie a questioning glance and all Marie had to offer was a shoulder shrug.
"I am sorry for I know not speaking French good. I am Andrei Popov. Russian. Ballet," Andrei said with difficulty.
"Mon Dieu," Marie whispered. Her mother clinging to her clothes silently begging for answers. There was a definite pause and Marie could faintly hear the sound of pages being turned: the Russian-French dictionary.
"Dieu. Dieu," he whispered. "God. No, I am no what you call Dieu. I am Andrei." He paused. "From ballet." She could almost hear his confusion. She wanted to laugh, but kept her composture.
"I know. Je sais. I am very pleased to hear from you. You said you have good news?" She didn't want to get ahead of herself, but the joy that was bubbling in her was too great. It would explode. Knock her down. Tear France apart.
"Yes. Oui," he managed, and she could hear his smile. "You are what I call selected girl for ballet. You come to my home."
"Your home?! Votre maison?!" Marie said a little too loud and harsh.
"Not house. No. Russia," he said.
Well, of course she knew he meant Russia. It just took a little time to translate in her head.
"Russia," she said aloud.
"Do you agree? You come in summer. Then live in my home, I mean, Russia, and you study ballet. The art."
"Agree? Of course I agree. This is my dream."
"Bravo! I thought you would be happy. Good. Now, pack your suitcase. You will be in Russia for a few years."
This stopped her. Years, she thought. Can I be away from Maman and Arienne for years? This wasn't so. Yet it was.
She had to decide.
Her dream? Or her family?