I have been blessed with a sense of rhythm. I am overweight, but flexible. I have a knack of catching new steps and moving the way I am taught to move.
In other words, I can dance.
I have been dancing from as long back as I can remember. My first childhood memories are those of barging into a prayer dance and taking centre stage, much to the chagrin of the actual centre stage dancer, I am sure!
I always thought I was good at it. I always thought I enjoyed it. I always thought this was what I was best at.
And then, along came Joe.
Joe was this plump boy, who in a strange and uncanny way, resembled me in every way – his nose, his cheeks, his hairline; even the way he grinned.
I had no idea he would turn my world upside down, and then the right side up again.
It all began with the freshmen’s social. All classes were expected to make a contribution to the cultural program. At that point of time, cultural meant only dancing and singing to us. Drama, skits etc. etc. were an alien concept. Thankfully, that has now changed.
So basically, each class was expected to come up with something entertaining for the freshmen’s social. Ideally, as a senior, I should not have been a part of this. But, due to a dearth of girls amongst the freshmen that year, I and a few others had to become the scapegoats.
Class honor – that’s the carrot they gave us.
The first day of rehearsals was disastrous. The “juniors” were tacky, cheesy, arrogant and everything that we weren’t. Or so we thought!
And among them was Joe, my male counterpart (eh?) and my dancing partner.
Apprehension was the word that kept creeping into my mind each time he caught me unaware. He would smile and nod his head. I would smile/squirm at the same time if that was possible, turn around, make a face and try to get as far away from him as possible, which was never too far away, by the way.
I hated it, but close contact with him was unavoidable because, well, we were partners remember?
He would grab my hand and pull me if I was missing a step. He would wink and give me hints if I forgot what came next.
I hated that. He was the junior and I was the senior. What cheek!
But he was charming in an irritatingly nonsensical way. And slowly, very very slowly, I eased into being almost comfortable with him.
During the breaks that we took from the rehearsals, he would dance around, mostly making a fool of himself with his silly antics. But he was cute. Very cute.
He would make me the subject of his affection which was, of course, limited to the dances only. It was absolutely annoying in the beginning.
But I am a girl goddamit! I enjoyed every ounce of the attention that he so unabashedly showered.
We were the ‘hit couple’ on the day of the performance. Everyone was impressed. Me included.
I couldn’t fathom what had actually hit me then. I was young and foolish.
When I look back now, I see the impact that he made.
He turned my world upside down.
All he did was smile at me when a smile was what I needed the most. All he did was hold my hand. All he did was make me feel like a princess.
All he did was dance. With me.
He made me laugh like never before. He made me cry like never before. He made me feel like never before.
He turned my world the right side up!
And all he did was cross paths with me.
I am glad he came along.
You rock, big Joe. You always will.