I went out shopping Saturday.  Started off at IKEA.  Spent most of the day there, actually.  Ate breakfast for free, then went in search of the woman I've been trying to talk to for two weeks about the last cabinet for my bathroom redo.  Still have not connected and that's beginning to irk me a good bit.  Just how many times am I supposed to leave a message for someone without getting a call back before I begin to sniff something unpleasant in the air?  That's not the point of this blog, though.

Couple of additional errands there were on my agenda:  legs for the three bathroom cabinets, and a foray into my favorite part of IKEA, the AS IS room.  Ended up missing out on a $32.50 6' bookcase by dithering about whether to get it or not.  Oh well, no doubt the universe has a better bookcase in mind for me..  We headed back to the restaurant for lunch (buy one entree, get one free).  When that was done, we got to watch some young dancers in traditional dress do Bollywood dancing..  Then they asked for volunteers to take a lesson, the one voted best by the audience would win a gift card to IKEA.  A young girl maybe 7 or 8 next to us started to volunteer and then nerves got the best of her and she retreated.  I wanted to hold up my hand and volunteer to do the best "chair version" of it that I could...if she would come with.  My husband wasn't crazy about the idea of me wheeling out there and making a fool of myself, so I didn't volunteer.  I told him later why I wanted to do it.

Instead, when the lesson started, I found myself suddenly and copiously overwhelmed with tears.  When I was three years old, the Ballet de Russe de Monte Carlo came to Houston.  That was when I decided I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up.  My parents looked around and found a teacher who would take me at that age.  After a couple of years, I started studying dance at Margo Marshall's school.  When puberty hit, rather than the long and lean lines of a ballet dancer, I had the rounder figure of a Vegas showgirl or a Rockette, but not the height.   I realized my future was not in professional dance, but the love of dance and motion never left me.    I continued dancing as a hobby, adding ballroom and belly danciing to the ballet, tap, modern, and what was called "stage dancing" (musicals, rockette,  showgirl style).

My deep dark secret?  When disco dancing bloomed, I was in heaven.  There was a club on Richmond, just west of 610, where backgammon and disco ruled.  I forget the name of it now.  I went there one night with a group from my second job, at Stouffer's Hotel on IH 59 in the Village area.  There were only a couple of guys in our group, but they both had "old school" manners and danced with every woman at the table.  At the close of my second dance, a fellow tapped me on the shoulder as I started to leave the dance floor and asked me to dance.  The tune was Donna Summers Last Dance..  We were pure magic together on the dance floor.  I totally lost myself in the dance., feeling that he and I were alone on the dance floor.  When the song ended, I realized we WERE alone on the dance floor, and the audience was applauding.  Couple by couple, they had vacated the floor to watch us move. My friends later told me that we were mesmerizing to watch.  For several weeks, he and I danced together, there, at after hours clubs, and once in a little place that served breakfast, and nobody but my group was in the place. The music came out of a jukebox.  There, we had a huge empty space in which to dance, and we filled it.  When we finally tired, the restaurant staff was standing around watching.  Even the kitchen staff had come out.

Never since have I danced so well with anyone.  He was Colombian, and married.  Our relationship revolved totally around dancing together.  We never went to dinner or a movie or had a formal date.We just showed up at the club and danced together until dawn spread pink and gold tentacles over the city.  Then one night, he didn't show up. I never saw him again.  His name I have also forgotten.  What I have not forgotten was the feel of moving with him, of the perfect wordless communication of our bodies.  For those few weeks, I was the dancer I had dreamed of being, the one everyone watched and wanted to be.  I shall ever be grateful to him for giving me that, because I don't think I could have ever had it without him.

What had me in tears today was the deep burning desire to learn Bollywood dancing, to feel the music in my soul and set it free in motion.  My body just cannot do that any more.  For that physical imprisonment, I wept.


07/18/2012 17:43

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