“Hey, kid. Sonora just broke a toe. You’re up tomorrow. Make sure you’re ready.”
Just a few words and her life was going to change drastically. She’d be going from a company dancer to a principal dancer because of a broken toe.
She called her family. “You have to come out. I know it’s a two hour drive, but I can comp your tickets, and I’m playing the Sugar Plum Fairy. This is a huge step up for me. I’ve been a snowflake for years, been the backup for Sugar Plum for the last two years, and this is my big break. I need to know you’ll be there.” She paused, listening, and then said “Oh, great! I can’t wait to see you!”
Rehearsal time. She found her partner and they started to work. They’d practiced it before, of course, but there was a new intensity now that he knew he’d be on stage with her tomorrow. They danced well together, though, and after a few run-throughs they decided that it would be fine. She checked in with costuming, glad that she was the same size as Sonora. They had her try on the costume to make sure. It fit perfectly.
She went out to the quiet, empty stage. The music played in her head as she practiced her solo parts, dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy, spinning across the floor. Tomorrow she would be in full makeup, dancing with the whole company and the audience watching, but for the moment it was her time to feel the music and make sure there wasn’t a stumble or missed step.
She went home to her small apartment, ate a little, took a hot shower, and went to sleep, deeply happy at the thought of the next day’s stress.