Monday, June 22, 2009
Slow Dancing - Darcy Vebber
In the dark, in the space of the gym, which was small but high ceilinged, it seemed safe to pretend. Her chin was at the exact height of the boy named Jerry's shoulder and she rested it there, her chin and then her cheek because that seemed like it would be nice. To pretend that she liked him. She didn't think about him except in her vague assumption that everyone likes to be liked. She couldn't really think about him, a boy she knew by sight, thick and not quite as tall as she was. A guy, she would have said if someone had asked. Normal, mysterious. He had brothers, he lived in town, he was like everyone else. She thought about the way things were supposed to be, liking the boy she danced with and having a boyfriend and the strange roughness of his shirt against her skin. She tried closing her eyes for a moment but she lost her balance and had to lean more into the boy to stop from falling. He didn't respond. His body didn't respond except where he clutched her hand and the place in the small of her back where he pressed his open palm. She could feel the heat of that hand through the her t shirt. The music was old fashioned and urgent, something her mother might have listened to on the car radio and suddenly she missed her mother and her sister and the house in Window Rock where she could be alone. Left alone. The music ended and he released her, nodding at her in the darkness, moving quickly away, back to where the other boys were, on the other side. Nice. He was nice, she would have gone on dancing with him but as the air closed around her, her tall, awkward body her own again, she was relieved even as she knew that this sweet relief was the heart of some problem. Some difficulty. She stood with her back against the gym wall, her shoulders pressed into the plaster, waiting to be asked again.