The Dance

Gently placing the bottle back into the medicine cabinet, he spun the cylinder slowly on the shelf until the label faced outward. Old Spice was a classic, so it had to work. Never mind that he was now wearing half the bottle, the scent would attract a beautiful girl and he would end the evening with her on his arm. The sloppy lump topping his skinny necktie was a dead giveaway of his sub-par knot-tying skills, but he tied it with his own hands.

“That’s important,” he thought.

Old bleachers folded up against the gymnasium wall like a big wooden accordion, making way for the boys and the girls who were arriving. Soon, lines would form on either side of the gym; girls on one side, boys on the other, shyly kicking at imaginary dust bunnies on the floor, casually glancing up to see who might be looking, but never making eye contact. Would they dance tonight?

Time is relative to the dance…

The platter flips between the DJ’s palms, like a coin determining the outcome of fates. A-side or B-side? Does it matter? Sometimes both songs are good, but only one can be danced to. The disc stops and is lowered onto the spindle, pops and hisses of a needle on vinyl leading into the song…

The girls are still on the other side of the gym, but some are wandering over. The dance floor is sparsely populated with couples gazing at each other, white light from the mirrorball glimmering across their glassy eyes. They’ve all found one another through some sort of method with which he was not familiar, but he is pretty sure it resides outside of his shyness. Want and need and desire strain their leashes within his soul, unable to pass the gate.

The dance never really ended, it simply changed venues. Many songs have played. Where once there were bleachers are now a mix life experience and loneliness. He wasn’t going to ask just any girl to dance; she had to be the right one. Couples continue to sway, most with different partners. The floor is more crowded, but eyes still sparkle and steps are more certain.

Now in the center of the fray, a boy and a girl meet, gazing into one another’s eyes. Her eyebrow lifts to counter the corner of his mouth that always smiled just a little bit more than the other. He offers her his hand – she slowly and confidently accepts. They step into the song, and perhaps into an unending dream where eyes sparkle and dancing never grows old…


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