[All photos from Unsplash]
You face me and hold out your hands. I grab hold and you pull me into the center of the floor.
“Do you know the basic steps?” you ask.
“How about you give me a refresher course?” I say.
You move your feet in step. “Do you see what I’m doing?” you ask. “These are your moves. They’re opposite mine. Here, stand beside me and copy what I’m doing,” you say.
I let go of your hands and step next to you, and you put your arm around my waist. “You’ll mirror me with the opposite foot. Right, left, back step. Right, left, back step. There you go!”
We do a few more practice rounds, your arm holding me, and then you say, “What do you think, are you ready to give this a try?”
“Why not?” I say.
You stand opposite me, I hold your hands, and we begin – right, left, back step; right, left, back step.
“Hey, I’m not too bad!” I say, proudly. You just smile.
“So, what kind of music do you like?” you ask.
“Have you heard of Sufjan Stevens?” I ask.
“Yeah! He’s great,” you say.
“I saw him in Chicago last semester,” I say.
“No way! How was he?” you say.
“Well, he walked onto the stage in butterfly wings and a boy scout uniform,” I say, “And he would hardly look at the audience, he was so shy!”
“This is the guy who writes Christian folk music?” you say.
“That’s the one,” I say. “Oh, and he had dancers! They wore neon spandex and sweat bands and spent the concert flailing their arms around in time to the music. They might have even been ribbon dancers.”
You laugh, throwing your head back. “I wish I had been there,” you say.
I smile, noticing your rectangular, brown-speckled glasses: behind them, your eyes are light blue.
“So, Jeremy,” I say.
“Yes, Liz?” you say. I chuckle.
“Where did you learn to dance?” I ask.
“In college. I had a girlfriend who liked to swing dance – not that it was allowed on campus
or anything, but we went out dancing a few times.”
“Ah,” I say. “Did you go to a Christian college?”
“Yep. John Brown, in Arkansas.”
“It was the same at my college – no dancing. Except actually, they let us swing dance occasionally, as long as we didn’t let it lead to kissing or dating or, you know, sex – we always joked that dancing led straight to sex.”
“We did, too,” you say, smiling.
“Which obviously it does, so I didn’t go to dances very often. And also I didn’t date much, so there’s that.”
“Well, JBU could never quite keep me down because, I don’t know if you know this but…” you spin around and wink at me, “I have a black soul.”
I chuckle and say, “You’ve definitely got better rhythm than me.”
“Actually,” you say, nodding seriously, “you’re pretty good,” and you spin me around while
I try not to step on your toes.
We dance and talk for a few more minutes before you check your watch and realize you’ll need to get your sister home.
“Curfew and such,” you explain.
We let go of each other’s hands, and you tell your sister you’re going to walk me to my car. We walk outside, toward the parking lot.
You glance at me, and say, “I had fun tonight.”
“Me too,” I say, grinning, quickly catching your eye, and just
as quickly returning to stare at my feet. Then we’re quiet, walking side by side.
“This is my row,” I say, motioning toward the vast, empty parking lot. “It’s the silver car way down that way. This place was packed when I got here.”
You smile. “I’ll just stay here to make sure you get to your car okay,” you say. “See you Wednesday?”
“Definitely,” I say.
I walk to my car and unlock the door.
I am writing and serially publishing scenes from my falling-in-love memoir, about the anguished, beautiful, and spiritual way that my husband and I met, fell in love, and married.
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