Girl playing. Little Ballerina and ballet shoes on a white background. Ballet.

By Chaya Sandler

The sun’s beams raced through the atmosphere, twisting and turning in their razor sharp paths, shooting through the sky and slowly announcing their presence, the sunbeams turned Ayala’s blond locks into a golden crown. Next to the first peacefully sleeping figure, lay another clearly in the midst of a fitful slumber. Dalia tossed and turned, her dark tresses tangled.
The alarm clock jolted both awake, but while Ayala gracefully yawned and stretched sleepily, Dalia bolted upright, unease across her face and the day had barely begun. At breakfast, their mother gave both a big smile. “I’m sure you’ll both be amazing! Ayala, you have nothing to worry about sweetie,” Ayala blushed bashfully, “and Dalia,” was it just Dalia’s imagination or did her mother’s eyes cloud over at this last sentence? Was that a hint of doubt creeping into her voice? “Show the world what you have, it’s time to shine.”
On the bus, Dalia’s hands sweated, and she kept spacing out of her friend’s monologue. Ayala watched with a small furrow on her brow. Dalia really wanted to be in the dance this year. This year is the first year she can be in the show….it’s Ayala’s last. Dalia can dance, she just gets stage fright, and no matter how much Ayala, or their mother encouraged her, Dalia was terrified of failing on stage.
She could really do with the confidence boost, Ayala hoped Dalia got a part. She whispered a quick capital of tehillim for her. And then one for herself, although she knew she had the talent, she knew where that came from.
After making it through a morning of lessons, finally, finally, Dalia had made it to the audition and there was only one girl in front of her. Ayala was five girls behind and she waved, smiled and mouthed a “you’ll be great.” Of course Ayala would say that. Ayala wasn’t nervous, not that Dalia was jealous or anything, but it was hard to have an amazingly talented older sister, Dalia wanted their mother’s eyes to light up at her this time.
As Dalia tried out, Ayala stepped to the side to chat to one of her friends.
“Did you hear? They only have one space left!”
“What? But not everyone has tried out yet.”
“Yeah, well, there are only six girls left and they have already found all the girls they need. You’ll for sure get the last one, everyone knows how well you dance.”
Ayala bit her lip nervously, what about Dalia? Dalia bounded over, her eyes beaming, there was a confidence in her smile and a contentment on her face that Ayala had never seen before.
“I think it went really well Baruch Hashem!” Behind her sister’s back, Ayala could see the judges nodding in approval, but then one pointed at Ayala and they all whispered excitedly and pushed Dalia’s name to the side.
Hashem, don’t do this, please Dalia will be heartbroken…. Dalia was smiling away, already far away in dreamland, listening to the audience’s thunderous roar of applause. That applause should be Ayala’s. She was the better dancer, Dalia was good, but Ayala was something else. And this was her last year to be in the show! Dalia had four more years to try out, and she would surely get in next year. How many girls made it into dance their first year anyway? Whereas for Ayala not to get in, after having been the star of the show for four years? That would be mortifying, everyone would be talking about it-and besides, if she didn’t try out, everyone would know she had given away her place for Dalia, Dalia would hate her.
If she failed, everyone would be surprised, disappointed even, if Dalia didn’t get in, no-one would be terribly upset. And Dalia had already tried out for everything else but Ayala hadn’t which meant that she wouldn’t have time to try out this year, and if she didn’t try out…she wouldn’t be in anything and it was her last year! Dalia would have many other chances….
But she was smiling, no- beaming! And when everyone heard she’d made it into dance in her first year….how could she deny her sister that chance? Ayala blinked back tears, it’s not fair, it’s too hard, I can’t do this…..maybe they’ll knock someone-else out? No, they’ moved Dalia’s paper out the way…
She loved the show, she loved dancing, but she loved her sister more. And so Ayala put on the best performance of her life and failed her audition. Meanwhile, Ayala passed the test of life.