"I'm just waiting to die, beautiful, waiting to die," he smiled at me.
"But there is so much life to be lived," I retaliated.
Later, we were in the bookshop, because he said I needed to buy the writer's magazines and enter the contests. He was in the self-help section, which was funny, because he constantly talks about being beyond help. He was ready to die at thirty-two; he thought he’d done all there was that he was meant to. I was looking at bargain books, and standing underneath a speaker that was playing jazz. The kind of jazz that makes a toddler stop in his tracks and just dreamily sway. The kind of music that soothes savage beasts.
I was rocking back and forth when he looked up.
"Come here and dance with me," I said.
"Ha-ha-here? Right now?"
I put out my arms in a gesture of invitation. Dance with me, I mimicked, here in the bookshop with all the people watching us. He made no move to come to me, but laughed.
"Are you serious? Why?"
There are an infinite number of unspoken reasons to move in time to the music alone or with a partner. I could have answered him: To smell my perfume. So I can feel your firm chest pressed against my yielding one. So we can hold hands and move together and forget that I am poor and that you are so sad.
He would have easily answered me back: I don't know how. I’ll look silly and then feel stupid. This isn't the place for dancing, there is a place and a time for dancing. People will laugh at me and I won't be able to deal with that. I don't want people to look at me. No one will understand.
To which I'd say...no preach (because dancing is very much like religion): NOW is the right time and THIS is the right place. The music is telling you to move as if no one was watching and they are laughing with you, didn't you know. They only dream of being so free, being able to cut loose and groove at a moment's notice! It feels GOOD to dance, to shake, to turn, to flow, to wiggle, to move your tired body. What other reason do you need? An invitation? I'll give you one. A special place and time? Here and now, they are special to me. Dance while you still can get out of your chair. Dance while you're alone in your house, in your underwear, like in a movie. Dance with your child. Just dance to feel alive!
I looked back at the book I'd been holding.
"Never mind," I said.