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Worldwide Ace » Just One Slowdance – Part I

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Just One Slowdance – Part I

12 February, 2009 (06:43) | Unlucky 13, Women

wallflower
Image by Lawrence Ipsum.

I don’t dance.

Ever.

Period.

Except when no one’s around. I actually do dance then, but it’s not really dancing. And it’s a little unfortunate seeing as I took ballroom dancing classes in early high school. Of course, I didn’t go to ballroom classes because I wanted to learn to dance. The first two weeks, I went because my parents made me. After that, I went for her.

“Really?”

“Yes. You’re going and that’s final.”

“But I don’t need to learn to dance.”

“You’re right,” agreed my dad. “You don’t need to. But it’s what will separate you from the other boys your age. And it’ll be good for you.”

My dad’s little Cadillac pulled up in front of the golf course club house. For years, I had driven down my street and seen the slanted roof poking its head out form the dark New England greenery of the golf course, its solitude a glaring contrast to the houses lining the other side of Newton street like children readying for a fire frill. It seemed almost foreboding the way it loomed darkly at the end of empty green fields where my neighbors would sometimes take their dogs. Far beyond the back holes sat a tall barbed wire fence that separated the public course and its creepy clubhouse from the lush and luxurious private course. On the other side of that barbed wire were dreams and fantasies only hinted at by the exclusivity. From the little circular driveway in front of the clubhouse, I couldn’t see the fence let alone feel the dreams.

brooklinegolfclubMy feet were literally dragging as I pushed open the door to reveal a small hall that had probably served as a cocktail lounge for old men in plaid pants sipping dry martinis while their wives commented on the flower arrangements that Phyllis or Susan had put together that morning. The central table had been pushed aside and the chairs neatly stacked to reveal a polished wood floor.

A rather severe looking woman stood in an ankle length skirt and a sweater by the far window next to a table with a boombox on it that seemed absolutely anachronistic to the entire scene. I expected to see a cup of tea delicately balanced, pinkie out, as she turned to face me. Instead, her hands were clasped tightly and met dead center, perfectly dissecting her at the sternum. Her forearms were perfectly parallel with the floor and a sinister smile crept across her face saying “we’re going to become the fastest of friends” in that duplicitous manner I instantly recognized from Disney Villains.

“Excellent, excellent. Now are you Mr. Roberts or Mr. Martin?” she asked, elements of creepy old actresses echoing in her voice.

“Uh, I’m Ben. I mean, Mr. Roberts.”

“Ah yes. Wonderful.” She looked me over, her eyes crawling up my body like a spider traversing a web. “Next time, I assume you will be properly attired like the others?” I glanced down at my wrinkled T-shirt and jeans, my black and white high tops peeking out as I wiggled my toes nervously. The woman’s hand waved out gracefully toward my right. I followed the motion, my eyes falling on a motley crowd of six kids approximately my age. I hadn’t even noticed them, the severe woman demanding my gaze.

The four girls grouped together to one side of the line, a pair of empty seats separating them from the two boys. The tallest of the bunch was two inches shorter than me, her long dark tresses matched with eyes the color of springtime. She wore a deep green sweater, a long skirt and black shoes with gold buckles and short thick heels. Next to her slumped a petite blonde, her eyes glued to the floor leaving her cheeks to indicate why. She wore a startlingly red dress with puffy shoulders, dark spots, and a tightly cinched sash for a belt. Her black shoes reflected brightly as if brand new, except for a single spot where she had rubbed the shine out of them. Beside her sat a slightly pudgy brunette whose stared at me as if I were the first glass of water she had seen after a month of wandering parched in the desert. He smile cranked into overdrive as soon as our eyes met and I had to physically restrain myself from grimacing and darting onward. The last girl was rather plain, her blue eyes and blond hair making her perfectly suburban and unremarkable. She was the only one of the group in slacks, and the cuffs at the bottom were rolled up neatly to keep her heeled shoes from catching on them. She gaily chewed gum, the smacking suddenly the only sound I could hear.

The boys were slight and tiny, one of them obviously a year or maybe more younger. His feet dangled off the edge of his seat, the tips of his brown suede shoes barely scraping the floor as they swung back and forth. He had dark slacks and a white dress shirt, the collar buttoned tightly at the top, yet loose enough to see shadows playing on his neck. Beside him sat the most aloof jock I had ever seen, his plaid shirt half tucked in and gum smacking in the corner of his mouth, leaving a sneer shooting from beneath his dirty blond mop. He stared out of the window, his forearms leaning nonchalantly on his khakis as he slouched forward.

“Well then, we’re one short, but let us begin,” the teacher called, snapping me back to her. She was staring at a small silver watch strapped to her wrist. “I expect you all to be on time. If you’re going to be late, don’t bother coming. Now pair up. Ms. Redding with Mr. Dubinsky. Ms. Goldberg with Mr. McHewitt. And, let’s see here, Masha with Mr. Roberts. Ms. Horowitz, you’ll be with me for now.”

I turned back to see who Masha was, but all the girls arose at once and began slowly wading toward the middle of the room where I stood. The tiny blonde in the red dress paired up with the short boy. The plain girl with the aloof jock. The pudgy girl began walking toward me, but I saw her smile already fading as she veered off toward the teacher, leaving me gazing at the striking black haired beauty named Masha.

ballroom

“How come she called you by your first name?” I whispered as she approached.

“She can’t pronounce my last name.” Her accent curled out like steam, just thick enough to play with as it hung in the air, taunting me with its warmth. She was Russian or Ukrainian or at the very least Baltic, as if the name hadn’t given that away.

“Ah,” I said.

“There will be no chatting during instruction, Mr. Roberts,” the stern voice snapped sending shivers up my spine. “Is that understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, my boarding school formality appearing out of nowhere.

“Ah, finally a young gentleman with manners. If only you dressed the part. We’ll start with a simple waltz. Ladies, with your partners. Ready, and begin, two, three, one, two, three…”

To Be Concluded in
Just One Slowdance – Part II.

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