The room on its own is modest, features faded wooden floor panels, water-stained tables shoved into corners, an unused fireplace, and unremarkable curtains. Strangers drop in like middle schoolers at a birthday party, timid, opting for the edges of the wall where they sip at their glasses and sneak glances at each other. They don’t notice, at first, the five men at the front who beam secret smiles at each other and grasp their instruments. Then like a summer storm, the music begins and the room lights up. More strangers slide inside, flocking to the beat like moths to light on a southern summer night.
Two girls in cotton dresses stand at the front, swaying steadily as if to urge onwards the accordion and guitar. Behind them, a short bald fellow shuffles a homespun three-step for two hours. Next to him, a tall man with hurricane arms swirls around a little lady. She stays there pulled into place by the sound of bare hands hitting a naked drum, by the bass that nudges her along, by the lighting, not too soft, not too harsh. The lighting is probably what keeps the shy boys lining the walls. They want to catch it with their palms, along with the beat and the hands of the pretty girls who spin on their own. But they want for courage, or maybe the girls move too fast. Tap, kick, switch sides…and just when you thought you had caught them there, they’re off again with a spin and a twirl. They are tall until their hips pull them down like honey, honey.
here they are. their arms
pulling them up again.
The boys have a hard time keeping track. They don’t know that these girls are dancing the dance of women who have learned to dance alone. They are dancing the dance of three years and a dozen cities, several hundred broken sentences even more awkward laughs. They are dancing the dance of three new haircuts, two bad jobs, and too many hours waiting for someone to talk to them. Not tonight, the lighting is just right and they, for once know all of the right steps.