Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goodbye Dancer

"Daddy! Play the 'we're not gonna take it' song!"

And so began our last dance. Our last dance as a family. My last dance with my dance partner.

I queued up Twisted Sister. Loud. And the boys started dancing in our living room. I love how kids dance and play air guitar. Totally uninhibited. Whether the movements of the gangly arms, and legs and torsos actually move in time with the music is of secondary consideration.

Then some B-52s: Love Shack and Rock Lobster. The boys love the B-52s. My god, my boys dance to songs I danced to 20 and 30 years ago. Then Madonna, and "Who Let the Dogs Out" and so on. That's about when Amy joined in. The boys bounding up and down, playing air guitar, falling on the ground, vibrating. Amy moving in perfect synchronization with the music mixing her belly dance and standard dance club moves.

Amy danced with passion and enthusiasm. She had taken lessons on and off for nearly two-decades. She combined grace and a sensuous energy. I loved watching her dance. I loved dancing with her.

We met at a dance club. A B minus bar with a dance floor. I may exaggerate if I say I fell in love with her that night while dancing, but I was smitten. Like in the movies I remember it as just the two of us on that dance floor, the rest of the crowd blurred out of focus, in the background, in the dark. Just Amy and me, moving and spinning together.

She looked at me sitting on the couch with my music system remote, selecting more songs. Tilting her head, she said, "is something wrong - why aren't you dancing?"

Nothing was wrong - I was just sitting. But it was a good question. So I queued some more songs then joined the family dance. Four of us on a Sunday night, a school night, jumping up and down spinning and falling and laughing. It was the four-year-old who started it. Sweat beading on his forehead, he took off his shirt. Dancing only as a four-year-old can, smacking his sweaty, naked belly with his hands mostly in rhythm with the beat. Then the seven-year-old, swinging his shirt around and around, over his head, swaying his skinny hips like some rock star teasing an adoring crowd. His shirt landed in the middle of the room. Fun! Then I took off my shirt, swung it around my head and tossed it at Amy. We all laughed and danced some more. Then Amy, not to be outdone by her three shirtless boys, with a tank top underneath, took off her blouse and tossed it at me.

Our dance continued. The boys wiggled; Amy and I showed-off a few club swing moves we remembered. We danced some more. How long? Maybe an hour? Maybe less - I don't remember, but the hour grew late, we slowly tired, wound down, and our family dance ended.

Four days later Amy was dead. The boys and I haven't danced since. I imagine, someday maybe, the three of us will dance again.

Meanwhile I'm glad we had that last dance.


  1. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I've been thinking about her and you guys more and more lately. I just still cannot believe she is really gone. I'm so sorry but I'm so very glad you have these beautiful memories. I never got to see her dance but I imagine her in my head dancing in that purple belly dancing outfit. Thank you for sharing, John.

  2. Thanks for sharing too. Time and memories are so real. More real than anything else. Funny how the government taxes the material, artificial stuff, and anything that matters is exclusively your own.

  3. I'm here. I never know quite what to say. But I'm here.