“I’m getting nervous. This is so weird,” April said as we came up the hill toward the club.
“I’m nervous too,” I said. I was coping by belting out the wrong words to the salsa tracks we had playing in the car to get us in the spirit.
April and I used to spend every Friday night dancing, it’s how we first became friends. But now it’d been the better part of year since I’d busted out my Capezios. Now we both had serious boyfriends, our jobs had gotten harder, our bedtimes earlier.
“What if we forget everything we ever knew?” she asked.
Of course we didn’t forget. The body remembers more than we give it credit for, even if it wasn’t quite the same as the old days.
April was a more advanced dancer than I was back then, she even taught classes. But I took it plenty seriously. It brought out my naturally competitive side and I’d find myself focusing on doing it right.
But that was all a long time ago. Now, who cared anymore? Both April and I reflected that it was easier to let go now that we weren’t spending so much time competing with the mirror or getting ready for a performance.
I wasn’t trying to nail my one-legged double turns, I was impressed I could still do a double turn. When I broke off for shines, instead of trying to work in some perfectly executed combination, I just freestyled, even throwing in a little Roger Rabbit, because why the hell not? Why did it always have to be so serious?
We exalt being driven, but damn it gets exhausting sometimes. And I don’t always know when or how to turn it off. If I’m not careful I can turn every should-be-fun activity into a competition with myself. Whether it’s tennis or cooking or dancing or writing, I find a bar and reach for it. And then just as fast, another one appears.
The other night, I’m sure my turns were sloppy. I’m sure I got off the beat, and elbows went out when they should have been in. But I had a good time. I was excited when I nailed a series of shenae turns, even though I nearly passed out when they were over because I’d accidentally been holding my breath. I laughed at myself.
I reminded myself to look up, breathe...just have fun.