When I think about slow dancing, I first picture eighth grade boys putting their skinny arms around me.
The brave ones moved their hands down as we stepped around in a circle, headed toward the slope of my ass while I wondered where and when I wanted them to stop.
I positioned myself near my cute crush, wanting him to see me and ask me to dance when the D.J. played Stairway to Heaven.
I never asked.
I was too scared to say anything other than “yes” or “no.”
I think about how all the years I’ve been dancing, I’ve never learned how to let go and follow.
I once had a male friend who knew how to guide me with his strong arms.
I leaned into him and let go but only for a single song.
What was I afraid of?
In the years since, I wanted to take swing and ballroom lessons but never did.
The man I married didn’t like to lead any more than I liked to follow.
What was he afraid of?
Today, when I hear a slow song with a good bass undertone, I feel it down low and deep.
I start to sway and circle my hips, even if I’m sitting down.
I smile at a handsome stranger on a dusty, dirt dance floor with the sun shining above.
I think about narrowing the space between us, breasts to chest, fingers of one hand entwined while his other palm presses me closer through the base of my spine.
I imagine grazing my nails on the back of his neck and leaning in so our cheeks barely touch, feeling his warm breath quicken in my ear.
Fear is not what I’m feeling.