Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 @ 3:51 pm
The Birthday Dance
I stand in the middle of the gymnasium, a circle of one hundred people around me. Christmas lights twinkle and the band strikes up. Russell runs up to me and catches my waist and swings me around to start dancing. My green skirt twirls up, glitter scatters from the poinsettia tucked into my ponytail.
This is my birthday dance.
I dance with Russel for three phrases, and then he swings me out. I swivel and then suddenly someone else is holding my hand and pulling me back in. Another three phrases, and then another lead cuts in. And then it’s a rapid game of cutting and dancing. I see Chris in the corner of my eye, waiting for a chance to cut in. He grabs my hand and we dance and I am beaming. “Happy birthday,” he says to me. I want to kiss him.
When it’s over, I stand breathless and clapping in appreciation of the band. I look around the room. I knew nearly every lead - man or woman - who danced with me. My heart grows inside of my chest.
Chris comes over to ask if I’m going to the dance in New West tomorrow night. He hugs me goodbye, tells me that he has enjoyed dancing with me over the last six weeks.
The night continues. I dance for hours. I am happy. A photographer snaps photos of me and Russell dancing in our holiday outfits with matching antlers. I never want this to end.
I go into work the next day, still wearing my schmaltzy holiday outfit. Poinsettia tucked into a messy bun. I hold an inter-office meeting and draw raffle prizes for my fundraiser, and I see myself on the big screen TV in the boardroom and do not hate what I see. My rosy cheeks, my easy smile, my green dress and red cardigan, and all of the room watching as I call out the winners.
My birthday has not yet arrived, and I am already filled up with love.