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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Friday, Jul. 12, 2019 @ 12:05 am
I go for brunch with a coworker, and we catch up over coffee and crepes and hollandaise.
“I just wanted to tell you,” she says, “That I’ve noticed that the way that you carry yourself has changed. It’s hard to describe, but the way you move through the office is different. Your head is up, your eyes are up. You seem brighter.”
I cycle out to the sailing club and am heartened to see sunshine and wind. Have I ever spent so much time considering the speed of the wind?
I sail with confidence, changing course when the instructor blows a whistle. I feel the wind, I feel the rudder, I feel this all come together and the boat is like a gathered horse beneath me. I pull in the sail, and she lunges forth, cutting a line through the sea.
After sailing, I cycle over to the outdoor stage at the other beach where Russell had mentioned that he might go swing dancing. I pull up to the top of the bleachers and look down into the amphitheater and scan the group of dancers. He’s not dancing - he’s sitting off to the side - and he’s looking up at me and waving. He was watching for me, hoping for me to drop by after sailing.
The sun is setting, and the setting is magical. Music floats up from the stage. He runs up the stairs two at a time, and I dismount from my bike and remove my helmet.
“Hi there,” he says, “I was hoping you’d drop by.” And he hugs and kisses me. I see his friends watching us from below.
And then he takes my hand. I reach down and take off my cycling shoes then step towards him.
“Listen to the music,” he says while showing me the steps.
I watch and listen and then we are dancing together. Me barefoot on the asphalt. The light shifting beautifully towards dusk. People are watching us, and I’m so happy. He spins me out and then pulls me back beside him, and he shows me the kick-through. Holding his hand and dancing and my city and my heart and the ocean. A heron cruises by overhead.
“I’m Darrell. I don’t think we’ve met?” I extend my hand and introduce myself.
“She doesn’t dance...” says Russell to his friend. And with a sideways glance towards me, he adds, “Yet.” I laugh. Yet.
We cycle home together and stop to say goodnight in front of his apartment building.
“I’m looking forward to our trip,” I say while running my hands through his hair, leaning against him.
“Me too,” he says. “I haven’t been this excited about a trip in a long time.”