An Inadvertent Dance
A Short Tale in
She went to the senior prom with the fellow she had been dating all through high school; they were easy together, and shared many friends. They trusted one another, shared a secret vocabulary, and knew what each giggle or expression made by the other meant. There was a relaxed familiarity, and a sweet pulsating heat in their relationship. Everybody expected they would marry and live happily ever after.
Then, while he went to get some punch, he was distracted by a group of friends and stood talking – a drink in each hand. The next song began, and a nicely dressed young man that she had shared a class or two with through the years came up and asked her if she’d like to dance, while his girl had gone to the Restroom. She smiled, and he took her around the waist, and led her with a grace she had not imagined in this seemingly shy young man, whose name she was not sure she could recall.
It was just one dance, one inadvertent dance. Hardly noticed by the other dancing partners around them – and just as it was ending, his date for the evening returned to the dance floor and her fellow showed up with beverages, and the evening resumed, as planned. Except that everything felt different now, and she kept thinking about him, could sense the aroma of his cologne clinging to her shoulder whenever she turned her head in that direction, and had to keep herself from searching around the room to see where he was.
The evening ended. The school year ended. Time passed, and she remained distracted by the thought of him, and of his graceful dancing.
Summer ended. Time passed. It was just one, unintended dance – but his presence clung near to her. She never was quite the same as she had been before it.
Life went on, but his cologne lingered, more in her mind than in any actual sensory experience. Having been touched by the shy, graceful young man she was left vaguely ever after distracted in a way she struggled to find the words to explain, at least to herself. She had never spoken to anyone about the event, or its powerful memory, and until she found within herself some way to name it, she doubted that she would.
Years passed, and for the most part, she did live happily. But at unexpected moments, a sadness so bittersweet would overcome her. Or an ocean wave of memory would knock the breathe out of her, making her think she would drown in nostalgia. There was a longing she couldn’t grasp hold of, a profound sense of loss she simply did not understand.
And finally, life ended. As she passed through the veil that separated her from all that was familiar and into all that would now become her eternity, she heard the music, and saw the nicely groomed, fresh smelling young man. His hand was outstretched, awaiting their next dance.
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THE FOXFILES © 1996 - 2004, Rebekah Tanner
This Page created: 17 November 2003
Text written: 13 November 2003
"Will it matter that I was?" Is an embroidery on dungaree, a gift to the author from Terri Baum in January, 1975.