Noel sat in the blowing snow on the steps mentally rehearsing her routine. It was hard to focus with the constant chatter of the others crowding and huddling, trying to beat the cold. She was number 27 and the line was moving slowly but surely.
Number 21 was called just minutes ago-a Latino guy in one of her classes-he was excellent-made her nervous. Noel knew he was a better dancer than she was, by eons!
He was like her, no trust fund baby-working his way through-probably living on dry soup and pick-up crackers from take-outs. At least she had the old cell her aunt had given her and was paying the bill. She felt it vibrating in her backpack. Thinking it was one of her instructors, she grabbed it. She saw the prefix for Galveston. Once again she told her Mom a half-truth.
Oh God, Noel wished, prayed, that after today there would be no more of this tip toeing around. She had been doing it since she left home after high school and was so darn sick of it. Today was her chance! If she made the top ten, she would be admitted-with a full scholarship!
Noel looked around at the crowd-all of them-wanting and deserving-same as she. Suddenly she heard a call for number 26. Oh no! She was next up! Where had the time gone?! She had to get herself together! There was no more time for going over anything. She had to breathe, walk, stretch. Gosh it was cold out here, how would she move properly? Her feet were freezing and her toes were so, so cold!
Noel, that’s you-number 27-she heard it!
Early the next morning, standing on tip toe, Noel read the names and ranks on the crowded board. Her name was not there. She backed away silently through the hoard of laughing and crying dancers, not knowing what to do or where to go.
Someone, a girl she did not know, touched her on the shoulder and handed her an envelope. Noel managed a smile. Inside was a summons to the Office of The Dean of The School of Choreography, Julliard School of Dance.
Along with an apprenticeship/scholarship to the Dean herself, Noel received a pair of new dancing shoes.