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Dance

Her feet hit the ground, one after another, in perfect time to the music. His arms caress her beautiful, strong frame, support for her flexibility and moves. My nose was pressed to the glass, watching him lead her across the floor, bendindg her back when the song ended. I wanted to dance so much, it was a constant ache at the back of my heart. Yet my mother laughed when I expressed my most heartfelt wish to her.
"Dancing? That's so stupid." She dismissed all my dreams with a wave of her hand. The couple began dancing at a lighter, faster tempo, their feet flying over the polished wood floor. I wished that that was me, dancing like a queen across the floor, every eye in the room on me.
I would find a way to make my dream come true.
Their dance class lasted until nine- I had often stayed until then, watching them tango and cha-cha away. I would wait for the instructor to leave.
Finally, the dancers gathered their geat, laughing and talking as they changed their shoes. The bell over the door clanged as they left, climbing in their yellow Mustang and driving home. Tentativley, I pushed open the door, listening to the bell tinkle above my head. The instructor, an auburn-haired woman with a lithe, athletic form was adjusting the CDs on the shelves next to the stereo. She turned to me with wise amber eyes.
"Teach me to dance," I asked her. "I'll find a way to pay."
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Soon my feet flew over the polished floor like the dancer I had idolized.
"Carmen, I think you're ready to compete!" Michelle, my instructor, said, which stopped me cold in my tracks. Conpetition? I wasn't even supposed to be here! Yet I agreed all the same.
My hair, golden and glossy, was braided low on my neck. A low-cut sparkling red dress cut to my thigh hung around my muscular frame. I was ready.
The floor was polished. My partner was strong and knew what he was doing.
"Number 23? Number 23?" The announcer called. My partner, a college student named Nick, held me close as a tango song came on. The music blared in my ears, echoed in my head, and pulsed in my blood. Tango was in my blood.
We dazzled the judges. We held our hands, wrenching in fear. I remembered how much I wanted this, how much it meant to me.
"Carmen Mantrell and Nick Juliet have one second place!" They shouted. My heart skipped a beat, joy overflowing every thought, every sound, every emotion.
Second place! Second place! After only two months of practice, second place!
After the compitition, which had a 10,000 dollar scholorship fund for second place, I marched up to my mom and told her the truth.
My name is Carmen Mantrell and I am a dancer.





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