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Vacancies: Chapter 9

A mix of high decibel “Yayyys!” gave Talia her answer, and she was flooded by an unexpected sense of relief. I haven’t lost my touch after all

 

“Mrs. Leitner, please can we do ballet now?”

“We’ll get to some proper dance steps soon, sweetie. But every good dancer warms up before any kind of routine. What’s your name again?”

“Toby.”

She’s sweet. She also looks familiar. Nah. Esti hasn’t been here long enough to bring friends home. Let’s hope this dance class helps.

“Here, Toby, hand out these ribbons. We’re going to have fun with these!”

She had stumbled upon them just in time. Heavy, satin ribbon. She’d ordered them last year for a mishloach manos theme that didn’t pan out, but they were perfect for this class. Girls. Ribbons. Dance. Talia looked back at the row of eager faces, curious and expectant, waiting without knowing quite what they were waiting for. Just like her.

She flexed her shoulders and switched on the music. Something loud, fast, happy. In no time at all, the girls were stretching their arms and stepping to the rhythm. There were only six girls in the room, but Talia could not remember the last time she’d seen Esti grin so freely. Talia swallowed hard and stepped sideways with as much drive as she could muster.

“Fling your ribbons, now! As far as you can go! Let yourself fly with them through the air!”

The ribbons fluttered gaily to the music, and as she taught them the steps to their routine, Talia felt the rhythm pounding through her, driving away tension, making her smile.

The lesson was over much too quickly.

“Nooo, Mrs. Leitner. Don’t turn off the music yet!”

“Just five more minutes!”

“Sorry, girls, but it’s time to get your stuff together.”

Talia rubbed her neck. Truthfully, she would have loved to extend the hour, but the girls’ mothers would be coming to pick them up soon. Besides, it would be good to pop over to the mall again. She needed to get another feel for the place, to see what might be ideal for that empty storefront.

“We can do this again next week, if you like, though…” She paused. Where did that come from? One look at Esti’s beaming eyes made her continue. “If you all enjoyed it so much, we can make this a regular thing.”

A mix of high decibel “Yayyys!” gave Talia her answer, and she was flooded by an unexpected sense of relief. I haven’t lost my touch after all. So there.

The doorbell rang. It was Kayla’s mom. Long fall. Silver cap.

“Thanks so much, Mrs. Leitner! Such a great idea! My daughter was sooooo excited to come!” Her voice tinkled through the air, cheerful and carefree. Like her own used to be. Great idea. Yeah. What she really needed was a great idea for the vacancy.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 661)

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