After a lot of encouragement from my Liam and a certain Philip Dodd, I have written my first ever piece of fiction.
He held his arm tightly around her waist. It was narrow, just like his wife’s used to be before they’d married. He’d seen her watching her feet in the corner, frustrated at why they wouldn’t step the way she wanted them to, and had asked her to dance. But despite her feet, the young girl had rhythm. She’d watched the more experienced dancers with wide eyes all evening, copying their steps so closely that her concentration had made her forehead wrinkle slightly as she nodded in time to the music.
Oh, the music. It brought him back to memories of humid, low lit evenings high up in the mountains in Mexico. Brightly coloured bunting had been hung alongside paper lanterns on the terrace which overlooked the town, and the light that glowed from thousands of windows, glittered at all different levels across the horizon. The music that played those nights had started a fire within him; a passion for the salsa beats that would burn all evening, well into the night. The sound of tapping feet on concrete and bare palms hitting the skin of the bongo drums still echoed in his ears, among visions of girls skirts that whirled like pinwheels in the wind.
The fast rhythm of the salsa beats began, and he brought his attention back to the girl. Immediately his posture changed from that of a man in his early sixties, as he held his chin up, feeling the fire begin to burn and the music take control.
“Feel the music. Feel it from your heart“. He told her as he took her right arm and levelled it to his.
She turned her attention to the music and loosened her shoulders slightly. Tapping her right arm in time to the beat, he began to whisper, one, two, three... one, two, three..., nodding his head and closing his eyes just as his mother had done when she’d taught him how to listen.
The people around them began to move as if they were painting pictures in invisible paint with their feet on the dance floor, but the two of them remained still, just tapping to the beat. Not until he felt her hips start to sway impulsively, did he teach her how to move.
She twisted her body to the right, keeping her back tall and straight and her left leg swung out behind her, flicking the hem of her soft black dress around beautifully. A look of surprise lit up her face as he spun her around again. She was nervous at first, and tripped a couple of times, before finally they had built up a rhythm.
“Keep your head up.... Relax your arm... smile.”
She laughed energetically, and her hand tightly gripped his arms. They were covered with curly grey hairs, and his skin was dark; the arms of a mature man. In a brief weak moment he wondered if she would compare him to the many smooth young men she might have held tightly before.
Breathlessly they moved in sync, their bodies reaching forward and falling back. Barely touching, they seemed held in a magnetic symmetry. Suddenly her feet became her focus, the friction hot against the hard wooden floor. She’d found her own fire, and it began to rise within her the more she moved. He caught her hand and threw her away from him; watching the way her hair whipped across her face and how her confidence grew. Her aura seemed to expand around her, as if brightly coloured ribbons were being whirled about her head. Her energy was electric, crackling almost, reaching out to his. Those around them turned to watch as she forgot who she was, where she was dancing and how she placed her feet.
She was a natural. As the music stopped, he reached out, catching her in the small of her back, and as if taming a wild bird, with one swift movement he lowered her gracefully, so her long dark hair swept lightly across the floor.