Saturday, November 15, 2014

This Dance

I stumble through this new dance step,
feet tangled, teetering off balance.

An instructor pulls me from the circle,
shows me how.
I’m humiliated by his good intentions,
shamed by my awkwardness
and painfully certain
everyone has noticed.

The dancers rotate; he moves on.
I try again, alone, my turn without a partner.
But my internal critic gets loud and distracting:
Me? A dancer? At my age? Why?
I abandon my efforts, stand and watch.

At the next rotation,
the woman nearest me approaches.
I’ve admired her skill in previous sessions
and steel myself for expected sympathy.

“Are you aware there’s a beginner class next door?”
Stunned, I nod.
“Been there,” I mumble.
She turns away.

My head says run.
My feet don’t move.
I sigh and step into the circle.

“I’m struggling,” I warn my next partner
and each one after.
As if they hadn’t seen.
As if they wouldn’t know.

After class, I plot my revenge: