I was never much of one for dancing.
Too long, too lanky, too much like a baby giraffe on his sister’s roller skates. I don’t like dance music. I don’t like dance competitions. I don’t like movies about dance. In high school, I didn’t ask girls to dances. Unfortunately, I lived in an ‘enlightened’ era with increased opportunities for those most uncomfortable of adolescent rites of passage, the ‘girls choice’ dance. When I was asked, I always accepted, because that’s what a nice boy did. The evening of the dance, I would dress up in a suit and buy a corsage for the girl. She would drive up and I would come out to meet her without her needing to come up and knock on the front door. I would open her door, whether she were driver or passenger. All of this I did, because it was gentlemanly, because it was nice. But once the date properly began, I sought with concentrated effort to divert the night away from dancing, coaxing my would-be Ginger Rogers to engage in other activities, whether they were activities befitting a nice boy or not. No, I was never much of one for dancing.
For her, dancing was an imperative. It didn’t matter if she were engaged in something exciting or pushing through one of the more mundane demands of life. She had been dancing for as long as she had been standing. As though she were a marionette compelled by some unseen hand, her body was wired such that when the music played – she moved. Sometimes she would simply tap her foot. Other times her arms would move, conducting the unseen orchestra. And in those rarified moments when she felt nobody was watching, or if she felt confident and safe, her inhibitions fell by the wayside, and her entire body would bounce, sway and turn in time with the pulse of the music around her. Her eyes would gloss, her head would fall back, and she would dance. Oh, how she would dance! It was plain from the rapture on her face that she did not need to look for her heaven; her pilgrimage was at an end.
I will not forget the evening when our eyes met from across the room. The music was playing, and we were doing what we both did best. She was responding to the compulsion of the beat in full fever of movement while I was – with equal fervor – not dancing. Despite myself, I was unable to keep my gaze off of her. There was a grace and purity in her movement that left me ensorcelled, caught entirely within her spell. I saw her move, at first haltingly, but then with ever greater confidence. She swayed, leapt, pirouetted her way across the floor. Then, as she swiftly spun herself about, her eyes tripped over mine, and for a moment we both stopped short. She paused in her dance long enough to take a few halting steps in my direction as though she were being pulled by some unseen force towards me. She smiled. I was similarly drawn to the dancing beauty whose eyes sparkled under my gaze.
No words were spoken, there was no need. The siren’s call of the music and the strange, invisible connection we felt, predetermined our actions. I strode across the floor to her with much greater confidence than I truly felt and I took her in my arms.
I spun her around, held her close, dipped her low to the floor then lifted her high into the air. She was light as air in my arms, and her gift to me was the grace for which I had longed, but despaired of ever attaining.
The music stopped. With rapid breath and racing heart, I reluctantly set her down again, an angel returning to earth. Barely suppressed emotion welled behind my eyes as she smiled, and turned away from me. Looking about, she spotted her next dance partner: the stuffed bear she had just received for her third birthday.
I was never much of one for dancing… until I danced with her.