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Can You Dance

Story ID:2773
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Hilliard Ohio USA
Year:2000
Person:Georgia
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Can You Dance

I held my wife Georgia close. We swayed to the music and turned in

slow circles. Next to us, a couple twirled and spun in elegant

circles. Their feet and bodies moved in harmony with the music.

They were beautiful as they floated over the dance floor.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to dance like that?" Georgia asked.


My daughter, Vanessa, was in her junior year of high school.

She and her boyfriend planned to attend the prom. Georgia decided

to give them dance lessons for Christmas.


Georgia found a dance studio and called them. "Are you sure

you and your husband don't want to take lessons with them?" the

gentleman asked. "There's a discount for a second couple."


"Well…" my wife hesitated. "Why not?"


We stood with ten other couples in the center of the floor

at Jimmy's Dance Studio. I listened to the conversations. "I've

always wanted to do this." one woman said.


"I hope I don't step on someone's feet." a man of about fifty

said to his graying wife.


A dapper gentleman of about sixty stepped into the room and

faced us. He was five foot two inch - if that. "I'm Jimmy. You're

here to learn to dance and you will. I promise you, by the time

you finish your first six weeks, you'll make your friends jealous."

he said. His toupee, obviously fitted many years ago, was slightly

off center and barely covered his spreading baldness.


We started with the basic box step, a simple waltz for those

who know how to dance. We practiced the steps facing each other

but standing several feet apart. The men stepped forward with

their left foot; the women stepped back with their right. Our steps

were mirror images of each other. "One, two, three." Jimmy shouted.


It seemed easy.


"OK!" Jimmy said. "Watch how it's done." He took one of his

assistants in his arms. An Anne Murray song began to play. "Save

The Last Dance For Me" she sang, as Jimmy and his partner drifted

elegantly around the room.


"We're going to start the music again. Take your partner in

your arms. Now let's give it a try." Jimmy smiled at us. "It's

easy. You'll see."


Anne Murray sang the song that would haunt us for months. I

held Georgia in my arms. My right hand held her waist, the left

held her hand. The music began. I moved my left foot forward and

stepped on Georgia's toe. We stood firm, waited for the beat, and

tried again. Half way through the box, we faltered again.


"Hold her firm!" one of the assistants came to our side. She

grabbed my arm. "Here! Put your arm around her waist! Hold her

hand with the other! Don't move it. Keep it firm! You have to

guide her!"


The music began. We got through the full box without stumbling

or stepping on each other. Compared to the instructors, we looked

like two kids dancing for the first time.


Several weeks later, something happened. The music played.

Georgia and I flowed over the dance floor. Our awkwardness was

gone. We were partners. We danced as one.


It took a lot of practice and time, but we did it. We became

a team. We anticipated each other's moves and were able to

interpret the slightest signal from the other. What seemed so

hard before became natural.


We looked at our relationship. We'd stumbled cooking together,

what our children should be allowed to do, when to mow the lawn,

how much to spend on a car, where our vacations should be spent,

and all things couples struggle with.


We took what we learned and applied it to out lives.


We danced.

Michael T. Smith