Pas de Deux

Claire Rudy Foster

“And then he said, you know you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.”


“Yeah, really. And we were standing like this.” She moves close to me, really close. I can feel the breath coming out of her body. “Here, you be me and I’ll be him.” She puts my back against the wall, just to one side of the framed Degas print.

“And then he started, like, this.” She touches my shoulder, slowly pushing it against the wall with her body.

This is Rainey who is my friend, I think. She pushes against my other shoulder. “And then he did this,” she says. She doesn’t check my face for a reaction.

Over my shoulder, next to my ear, the Degas ballerina is holding her foot in a perfectly balanced arabesque. The foot is pointed towards my head, and I feel it like a loaded gun.

This is Rainey and I only get to say her name once before she steps into me, up onto her tiptoes and bites my lip, soft then hard so I can feel her incisors making impressions of themselves.

“He did this to me,” she says, and holds me behind the neck.

“What else did he do?” I ask, but my voice is getting sticky and her face is so close that I can’t really see if she’s smiling or not.

“Let me show you,” she says. We slide down the wall in a grand pliĆ© and she shows me, slowly, what he did to her.


Claire Rudy Foster holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Reed College. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, with her unframed diploma and the skeletons of several novels. E-mail: claire.rudy.foster[at]

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