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Maya

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Pink elastic squeezed her nine-year-old feet into uncomfortable old lady wrinkles. The pumps were meant to be ‘flesh’ coloured. Her flesh disagreed, frowning darkly.

“Good toes, naughty toes!” Mrs Simpson recited in that high pitched, sing-song tone reserved for dogs and children. Maya looked around her, a finger snagging the leotard which had infringed on  the space between her round, brown bottom. A host of hopefuls – lithe feet, flowing into their pumps – seemed to form a seamless vignette of pinkness.

“Good toes!!”

They preened in accordance to Mrs Simpson’s instruction with eager pointiness. She half expected
Mrs Simpson to throw out a dog treat. Not that she would get one. She sighed, melting with the ache of stuffing herself into spaces that didn’t fit. The wooden floor seemed to agree, audibly groaning when her pirouettes hit the ground. Not one to give up, Maya kept going, one thump at a time. They sounded like ancestral drums. As the piano dinged under Mrs Botha’s laboured hunch, Maya somehow knew that drums were not a part of this orchestra.

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