Dancing Shoes

June 27, 2008
By Nicole Oliver, Milford, MI

“One, Two, Three, Step. One, two, three, step.” The words matched the action as a young girl warmed up for her lesson. Eyes set straight ahead she took the greatest concentration on the task. The time was irrelevant, for this took no account of time. It was far better to her to complete each move with careful and graceful precision.
Her willowy frame twisted this way and that long after everyone else had left for home. She had to get it right, and with each failed attempt she cursed herself silently with a scowl. Refusing to take a break the would have practiced late into the night had the instructor come back.
An aging woman, she had in her high time been on the road to success before an accident shattered it all. She had pushed herself to hard, had gotten caught up in the whirlwind promise of fame that she had dreamed of since she was young. She had settled to teaching others that hope just as she had hoped to be that one in a million girl that took off..
Unaware of the teacher there, the young dancer continued her routine trying to make each move gentle and free flowing, connecting each to the previous, ignorant to the soft footfalls.
“Go home dear. Rest up. Practice does make perfect, but to much make a machine, not a dancer.” Came the woman’s voice, jolting the girl from her practice. Still holding the step she was in the middle of, she twisted her head to see who was there. Coming back to a walking position, she nodded to her teacher, replying with a soft “Yes.”
Rushing into the changing room, she threw on her shirt and shorts over her practice wear, before gathering up her dance shoes into her backpack and rushing toward the front door. Her instructor was still there.
Mustering up the courage to ask, a voice soft and gentle came to question, “Umm…, why did you come back?”
“I thought you might be here. You could be a great dancer someday dear, but you need to live life other than dancing if your not.”
“I’m going to be a dancer. I know it. I love dancing. It’s what I do.” Came the reply, sure and steady, a determined voice who knew where to go.
“I thought so too. But sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned. I wish I had lived life more when I was your age, and do not want others to make to same mistakes I did. So call it a bit of grandmotherly advice.
“Oh. I’m sure you would have made a wonderful dancer Grandmother.”
“I think so too, but I can’t be now. But I am sure that if you truly want to, and fate lets it, you shall be an even greater dancer.”
“Th…Thank you.” Came a now soft reply from the girl, not used to flattery, and more of self critical judgment of her dancing.
“Let’s go home dear. I’m sure your mother is waiting.” With that the woman wrapped one are around the girl as the started home. Dancing would always be important, but for today it could wait a bit.

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