Who teaches us how to dance?
No one, really.
We just watched others do it.
The first time I was aware of the dance
“Heigh-ho, the Derry-o,
Takes a wife”.
It was about choices.
Choosing a partner was a big one.
There were so many people
on the dance floor.
Most other little boys stood awkwardly
on the sidelines laughing and pointing
while I tried to learn to dance.
From the beginning I thought it was important.
I chose my partners purposefully,
but there were parts of the music I couldn’t hear.
I was innocent for a longer time than most.
I began stepping on toes,
feeling clumsily out of step,
until that time, almost exactly forty-four years ago,
when I saw you across the floor.
For more than two months I maneuvered,
waiting for my chance
to ask you to dance.
I heard hormonal harmonies clearly,
so the music’s effect was deeper;
the dance had a new dimension
for both of us,
filling us with delightful tension.
For two years we danced ecstatically
on a tightrope of emotion
Then we agreed to become permanent partners
and the dance changed.
It was exciting and confusing,
complicated, and frustrating, at times.
Children came and we grew,
and it was different, always different.
Sometimes better, sometimes worse;
Then the children left
to find their own partners,
and we gradually learned
each other’s steps again.
We became smoother
until we became bored.
We tried new steps.
Some were good;
some made us bump into each other.
Eventually we learned
what we could do well,
and how much space we needed.
Now we watch each other dance
with a new awareness,
a new closeness, and a new joy
that makes us want to make the most
of the remaining music.
© 2009 Michael Yanega
21 February 2009