As with any addiction, it starts out innocently. You dabble first before you get hooked.
“Hey, isn’t that the guy from that awful Saved By The Bell show?”
I stop flipping to check it out. He’s dancing.
Sweet Jesus, he can really dance?
Next up, some football dude called Emmit Smith. Maybe Todd would want to know? He’s awesome. Look at him go!
Jerry Springer is dancing? How funny!
I call Todd at work. When he picks up I say,
“Oh noooooo,” Todd laughs.
Our marriage hit its first bump just four days after our wedding because of dancing. There we were on our honeymoon in Jamaica. There was a wild New Year’s Eve celebration going on, and Todd refused to dance. Seems he’d used up all the dancing he could muster at our reception and he was D.O.N.E. done. The music called out to every cell in my body. I felt like a wild animal in a cage.
Later, we sat on a dock, water lapping our feet and I told Todd how sad I had been. That I couldn’t imagine a lifetime of no dancing. Surely it would kill me?
He confided that dancing just didn’t come naturally to him. He felt stupid and self-conscious. He would love to learn. Could we take lessons?
I felt myself exhale. No need for that annulment just yet.
We signed up for Swing Dance lessons and for six weeks we met at the YMCA, learning some basic steps. It was incredibly hard for me to let him lead and I’m not sure I ever really let go all the way.
We started dancing in our kitchen, Todd’s face adorable as he’d try a new move and then look at me expectantly to see if I liked it. I always liked it. What we lack in grace, we make up for with enthusiasm and humor.
One evening, watching television, a commercial with bouncy music came on. Spontaneously, I got up and shook my groove thing for the whole sixty seconds. Todd applauded. Next commercial it was his turn.
Nine years later we still do this. Always trying to surprise the other with new moves. The one on the couch shouting, “Work it! Work it!” to the one dancing.
Early on, we went to see Fosse at the theater, and our repertoire expanded exponentially. I started doing little isolation moves such as standing perfectly still and just rotating a wrist. Todd perfected what he liked to call the "Bye-Bye Blackbird."
“Bye,” he crosses his arms and pats the opposite shoulders.
"Bye," he pats his thighs.
“Blackbird,” he puts his hand to his forehead like he’s adjusting his top hat and turns his head to the side twice.
Writing the above, my mind flashes to me in a hospital bed. They’ve told me my baby is dead. Ten weeks. We're waiting for an operating room so they can go in and take it. It’s all over. Completely out of my control. Yesterday I was pregnant with our first child. Now…I’m not. I’m numb. I can’t even talk. I can no longer cry.
Todd holds my dead hand. He can’t reach me. No one can.
He takes the lead.
He walks to the foot of the bed. Slowly he crosses his arms and pats his hands on his opposite shoulders.
Next he slowly pats his thighs.
Then, ever so gently, he puts his hand to his forehead like he’s adjusting his top hat and turns his head to the side twice.
The dam breaks.
Last night during a commercial in Dancing With the Stars, he roared as I hiked up my shirt and surprised him with an impromptu belly dance.
“Niiiiiiiice,” he said, nodding approvingly.
I took a bow.
Suddenly my latest addiction makes perfect sense.
And I tell ya what? We could give Jerry Springer a run for his money.