New red pointe shoes were waiting backstage for Camille. They were the color of hot peppers, like the ones her grandmother had kept hanging by the wood stove. The spicy ones that she loved. The memory made her smile. There was a note attached to the ribbons but it was not signed and she no idea who could have given her such a fine gift. Scribbled in the barely legible handwriting were five words: They will give you courage. Had her lack of confidence being showing? She had not told a soul. Camille sat down and slowly put on the shoes, tied the ribbons. They felt good on her feet, broken in and comfortable. Was it her imagination or could she really feel strength rising up into her legs? The orchestra began to warm up. Camille parted the curtains and walked to the barre. She was ready.
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