Thursday, April 15, 2021

Trapped by Patricia Cole

 Point your toe.

So, I pointed my toe, daintily clad in black ballet flat shoes, smiled to my partner and on the correct beat of the music bounced into the opening reel.

It was an unusually warm summer evening and the crowds were out in force to take advantage of the weather.
My white dress was beautifully made by my seamstress mother. I felt it caress my nylon clad legs as I executed perfect steps totally in unison with my kilted partner.

The Fraser tartan sash pinned to my shoulder with a Scottish cairngorm brooch, streamed out behind me as we danced.

Cameras clicked and flashed as we floated gracefully over the stage.

I was born to dance.

Lift your arms one by one.

It was competition time and after endless waiting around we were on the stage giving our all.

We circled as a chain; giving first one hand and then the other as we met and passed. Always smiling even when my mouth was dry as dust and my heart was hammering.

Had we done enough to win; of course, we had. It was almost a foregone conclusion that we would be the winning team, but each time it was an enormous thrill.

I was born to dance.

Now lift both arms.

We circled; arms held out. Clasping hands and doing little slipping side steps in perfect time with the music. Eight steps one way then eight steps the other.

Some of the men had sweaty horrible hands but one must keep smiling and enjoy the dry firm grip of the others.

From the circle into a wheel never pausing, never sagging, never looking anything but perfect.

Beautiful poise, beautiful footwork, beautiful smiles.

I was born to dance.

Now push your weight into your heel.

Oh, the quickstep. I was in his arms; he was leading me firmly with his hand holding me firmly on my waist; our hips glued together while our upper bodies leaned slightly back.

The tulle in my skirt sailed and swung round my knees and my feet looked elegant in stiletto heels.

I loved it; it was splendid being swirled around the floor by my handsome man who looked ever so superior in his tailcoat.

We sailed across the floor – slow, slow, quick, quick, slow my body moved automatically to the rhythm.
We executed a few fancy steps as we turned in the corner and then, once more, we were floating on air. The perfect duo in perfect harmony.

I was born to dance.

Now can you turn?

Can I turn? No problem. Jiving was my forte.

I spun under the outstretched arm of my boyfriend; he whirled me round, caught my hand expertly and turned me the other way.

Could I turn; you bet I could turn.

My cotton dress was cinched in at my tiny waist with yards and yards of skirt flowing down to my calves. My many petticoats had been soaked in sugar water till they could stand up on their own. I knew they would play havoc with my stockings but tonight it didn’t matter.

My ponytail, caught up with a bright red bow, brushed my cheeks as it swung first one way then the other.

I knew my swirling skirts were showing the tops of my stockings but that was no problem; no shrinking violet me!

Buddy Holly, Adam Faith, Cliff Richard bring them on.

I was born to dance.

Can you stamp your feet?

Cha cha cha.

My hips swung, my upper body and arms moved in time to the music; all bright colours and smouldering looks.

Oh yes, I could stamp with the best of them.

Latin American knee length skirts, daringly low tops, black stockings and patent leather shoes.

I was born to dance.

 Turn your hips.

I twisted along to Chubby Checker singing encouragement. It’s like drying your back with a towel. The only problem was that you never made contact with your partner and I longed for a slow smoochy waltz, when our bodies pressed close together, we circled the floor; my head on his shoulder, his arm round my waist; Englebert Humperdinck singing the Last Waltz.

I threw myself into every sort of dance with gay abandon. The music would lift my very soul. My feet would easily learn the steps and my body moved instinctively in time with the beat.

I was born to dance.

 That’s it for today, Mrs Brown.

I’m jolted back to the present.

I’ve been creaking through an exercise session for the elderly. I’m trapped in this old useless body but not my mind. My mind is free to roam, to remember and to dance again.

© Patricia Cole

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