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Tiny Toes

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The smell of feet. Not the stench of foulness, but the sharp smell of the sweat of tough, hardened toes, the flowing blood of those wounded soldiers. The same feet which bound weightlessly across the dance studio floor; pointing, extending, creating beauty, art. The upbeat minuets of Bach or Beethoven pull them into a graceful duet of maturity and learnedness; those feet, my feet. Building, growing, emerging into a frenzy across that floor, those feet, my feet, until they suddenly halt.

Tiny toes. Tiny toes peeking in through the doorway. Tiny toes watching with awe those developed dancing duets performing with vanity athwart the floor. And for a moment, time catches me and holds those dancing duets; those feet, my feet. My toes begin to shrink and place themselves in that very spot in the doorway. Memory overtakes me and I become those tiny toes, watching from afar, those established feet creating art, beauty, pointing, extending, belonging to the girl I want to grow up to be.

Then just as suddenly as it caught them, time releases my feet. They are once more moving to the music, separating those tiny toes from mine; her feet from my feet. The music slows to an end and those tiny toes eventually disappear from the doorway. I begin to remove my pointe shoes and the smell of feet once again fills the room. My senses awake with the sharp smell of hard work and fresh blisters. As I administer first aid to those deserving militants retired for the day, I gasp. For a second, they again look like tiny toes.





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