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Pointe Shoes

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Mari Beth’s feet were aching as she stepped gingerly into her car. Even pressing the gas made her arches throb, but it was nothing compared to the cool relief of the air blowing on her red face. She could feel people in cars around her staring at her harsh bun and revealing leotard, so she blocked them out, along with the pain and focused all of her energy on driving.

When she finally pulled into her driveway the sweat had finally dried off of her body and her feet had dulled to a pounding. Wincing as she loped up the stairs, she quickly unlocked the front door and flopped her dance bag onto the floor beside the couch. The ribbons of her Pointe shoes flipped sloppily from the sides, and she pulled them out reverently. These pink satin shoes were her life. She knew them by heart, from the stitches of the ribbons to the tiny spot of blood in the box. These shoes controlled every inch of her, giving her the high of being on stage one minute and sending her to tears the next. In fact, her eyes were stinging as she looked at them. Then she looked down at her bruised and swollen feet.

“Mari Beth, you home already?” Mari Beth’s mom walked in holding a sleeping baby in her arms. “How was dance?”

“Good,” she answered quietly, hiding her shoes in the depths of her bag. “I think I’ll just go rest a little bit.” She grabbed her stuff and walked as normally as she could up the stairs.

Once her door was carefully locked Mari Beth pulled her bobby pins from her head and let her brown locks fall messily around her face. She examined her reflection in the full length mirror tacked up on her wall.

Mari Beth knew that she was getting to skinny. She knew that her elbows and knees were starting to protrude at awkward angles, and that the reason her feet hurt so badly was because she had nothing to protect them; she was all bones. Bruises popped up all over her body from things as simple as a bump into the counter. But Mari Beth also knew that she couldn’t stop.

She knew that if she started eating again, she wouldn’t stop. If she started eating she’d slip away from this routine she’d started. Since she’d stop eating so much her dancing had improved, she knew it. Why would she mess that up?

Sighing, Mari Beth sank onto her bed, letting out a gasp as her mattress pinched a purple bruise on her back.

Mari Beth knew she should stop, or rather, start. But she also knew that she couldn’t.





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