“One – two – three. One – two – three.”
The melody of Luka’s voice keeping the steady Waltz timing is as mesmerising as his movement, strong and elegant, his feet drawing patterns on the floor, his body soaring; a magnificent peacock trailing a brood of clumsy ducklings as we try to follow him.
“Keep your – heads – up. One – two – three.”
We are supposed to hold our heads up and to the left but my eyes are constantly drawn to him; the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen in real life. I’m not the only one; this class of twenty comprises two married couples and sixteen single women. Even the married women look over their husbands’ shoulders.
“Think – about – your – rise – and – fall.”
I’m not good at this by myself. It’s so easy in his arms, when he works his way around the room and it’s my chance to let him lead me. I don’t have to think; it’s instinctive. The rest of the lesson I muddle through solo or paired up with another woman. They’re good people and we have a giggle together but it’s the blind leading the blind. I need Luka to drive me.
“Down – up – up-lower. Down – up – up-lower.”
He is simplifying his commands for us. He first described the ballroom rise and fall as waves crashing onto the beach. He spoke so passionately that for a moment I could almost see the cerulean blue of the seas glimmer in his eyes. Alas, it was too sophisticated a metaphor for clumsy beginners to translate to their bodies so he stripped it back to ups and downs.
“Shoulders – down – please. Thank you – two – three.”
I wonder again if he is single; I can’t believe he would be. I’m not even sure if he is straight – although what does that matter when I’m too shy to even talk to him. I shouldn’t be thinking this way; he is my teacher, a professional. It’s inappropriate.
“Synco – pated – chasses. One – two AND – three.”
I struggle to keep up. He is moving closer and his proximity is dizzying. I become particularly inept when I know he is watching me. If he would just hold me, I’d know what to do. Not just in the ballroom. Oh God, I must stop thinking like this. I wonder if he can see me blushing.
“Chasse – rise and – fall. Down – up-up – up-lower.”
He is within touching distance and I am on full alert. It doesn’t help that my solitary life lacks human contact. I’m not a tactile person but we all need to be touched sometimes. He is watching me, I can tell. Perhaps now is the moment that he will select me as his partner and we will merge as one fluid entity, moving only to the rhythm of our heartbeats…
“OK, well done everybody. Take a short break.”
The spell is broken; he walks away, trailed by thirty-eight hungry eyes.
I think of those waves on the beach and feel my hopes roll out with the tide.
Emma Robertson (she/her) is a dance tutor and writer from London, UK. She has recently been published in Idle Ink, 101 Words, Free Flash Fiction, Pure Slush and 50 Word Stories. She has been longlisted by Cranked Anvil and has upcoming pieces in Virtual Zine and the Swoop Books Ordinary People anthology. Twitter: @emmadancetrain