When he asked me to dance, I had no notion whatsoever it would become our lives.
We were both nineteen and enduring our first year of University. Well he was enjoying his but I couldn’t bare the lecture schedule which was sparse and scattered without thought through the week, the windows of time between being too short to get away. I wanted to be travelling and was regretting not joining Ruth on her year-out adventure.
So when the quiet boy called Henry asked if I would audition with him, it sounded fun and a contrast to why we were really so far from home. We were instantly accepted onto the course; we had ‘poise’ she said (the funny elderly tutor who still wore the brightest red lipstick in the palette).
Every Tuesday and Friday evening in the old music hall next to the university chapel, she followed us closely, her arms outstretched and her body keeping close to our own as we moved around the parquet floor. Without fail she wore her tap shoes and black knee-length floaty dress,. It was as if she wanted to dance with Henry, or perhaps me.
‘Bravo!’ She would call and as the weeks turned into months, Ms Ketch taught us the dances of her youth while an unexpected connection between Henry and I blossomed. We were entered for a competition and delighted to win it.
It was the first of many spanning twenty four years dancing together. No-one has since held me on the dance floor like Henry could. Many are technically brilliant and we carry out the routine in a skilled fashion, but there is a spark missing.
His finger tips would talk to my spine mid-tango, he would catch my eye during the Foxtrot and no words would need to pass between us before any dance. We just knew how to bring the best out in each other, whatever mood we might find ourselves in.
When Henry died last year, my husband was wonderfully supportive and encouraged me to get back out there. I’m not sure he quite understands though, what it is that I have lost…
A piece of flash fiction to break up my housework… I keep walking past the December print on my Jack Vettriano calendar and realising I’ve not given you a piece to go with it. Deary me… I am slacking!
(But you should see my kitchen – it’s unusually spotless)