Folks are discussing what they want to change, start or stop doing now that it is a New Year. “I’m going to do things differently this year” is a common phrase circulating right now. Although Christmas is over with and I find it depressing as I look at the dark, cold months ahead, something about a brand new year makes things more comforting. It is the whole feeling of second chances and new promise.
I always said I was not big on resolutions. I made my lifestyle change vow in August…the first time. Then in March on my birthday. Then in September on my friend’s birthday. Then in …..you get the picture.
I think I may start doing a few things a little differently around here. For one, I want to dance more. Yes, I want to dance as though nobody is watching as the proverbial phrase goes. You see, I was always the one who volunteered to watch the purses when my girlfriends took to the dance floor. I was always the one to say, I was too tired. Well this year I want to be free to get my dance on, people!
I was always one to say, “I can’t dance like that” or “I don’t know the steps” or “I have two left feet” etc. Maybe I’m no Mrs. Jay-Z, but I am not that bad. I have rhythm and I can keep a beat….I think. (Please anyone reading who has seen me dance and begs to differ, don’t let me suffer in ignorance. Ain’t nothing worse that a sista who dances like Elaine Benis.)
Now, enter a throwback to 1998. Ahhhh, the memories. I was but a young woman with a big dream. A dream to be a professional beach bum. I made a big move to Cancun, Mexico. Juan Alberto Batiste and I took the long, very much cliché walk on the beach under the stars after a chance meeting at the grocery store one fateful day. Yes, I was shopping for bread and so was Juan Alberto Batiste, as luck would have it. Anyway, to make a long story longer, we got to talking and he invited me to a Salsa club called Batacha that very same night. I was new in town, and wanted to meet new people.
I was nervous as we sat at our table in the club. I had a tequila shot to calm my nerves. I was kind of dreading the dancing portion of the evening. I already knew that Juan Alberto Batiste loved to dance. He only mentioned it about fifty times at the grocery store before asking me out. The trouble was, I said I loved to dance too. Not only that but I lied and said I was very good at Salsa dancing. I couldn’t help it. He had dark chocolate pools for eyes, and wavy dark hair like Antonio Banderas (pre Melanie Griffith .) I would have told him I was a professional dancer gazing in those dark chocolate pools. Blame my foolish youth.
Gulp….I tried to avoid the dance floor all night long with excuses of the varied sort. “I need air” (that’s when the long walk on the beach came in handy.) “I need some water, please excuse me.” “I need to use the little girls room.” “Isn’t that Leonardo DiCaprio sitting in that booth. Look! No? Oh, he sure is a dead ringer for Leo isn’t he?” On and on went the excuses. When the pulsating beat of Celia Cruz’s Carnival boomed through the speaker, that is when Juan Alberto Batiste’s hand began to clap on his thigh. Then he began to tap his foot. He was itching to dance, and I had run out of excuses. “Isn’t that George Foreman?” my voice trailed off, as Juan Alberto Batiste took my hand and pulled me to the dance floor.
We found a dancing spot on the outer circle of the dance floor. I tapped his shoulder. “I don’t like this spot,” I said. I felt vulnerable and too exposed, as though all eyes would be on me and my terrible dancing. “Let’s move more in the centre, Juan,” I suggested, motioning my hand to an almost desolate area in the back, back of the club where they stacked the extra chairs kind of area.
“Oh, o.k,” he obliged a little too happily. I was hoping he would say that he’s an outer circle dancer and I could use that as an excuse to ax the dancing portion of the evening. No. Such. Luck.
He took my hand and we moved through a sea of sweaty, moving bodies. I bumped into a few rhythmic hips and booties. That is when Juan Alberto Batiste took a stand still and put one hand on my hip and held his free hand in mine. Oh no…Here goes nothing. Great Salsa dancer…What a farce I am!
The first few times I stepped on his toes, and a couple of, “oh, I’m sorry” he chuckled. The tenth time I bumped into his nose, he looked perplexed. I think I hurt him, because he put his hand over his perfectly chiseled nose. When I put my hands up in defeat and grinned through clenched teeth, he said he needed to use the bathroom. Juan Alberto Batiste never returned to our table. I think it was more the lie than the
bad, ok downright terrible Salsa dancing.
When I got home that evening my roomie asked me how my date went. “Suzie, ” I said, slamming my purse down on the table. “We are signing up for Salsa dance classes, girl.”
Thank-you Juan Alberto Batiste. Although you were a huge jerk and left me and
my second fine third tequila at the table wallowing in self-pity, I learned a valuable lesson. I took those Salsa classes and got pretty darn good. So when I went out with Fernando Jesus Valdez de Flores, I only stepped on his feet twice! Ha! How ya like them apples?!
My days of purse watching and saying I am too tired to dance are over. I used that excuse yesterday at a party because I felt shy and I regret it today.
It’s a new year. Things will be different in 2016. I am going to dance. I am going to be free. But please, please tell me if I look like Elaine Benis: