Dear _______ ,
I know it’s been a few years, but I was thinking of Charley’s dance class the other day. You know, back in high school, where we each first learned swing and waltz and salsa and all those other dances. Goodness, all those Friday afternoons we spent in that band hall. You boys always vastly outnumbered by the girls! I remember everyone would exclaim whenever a slick, fast new move was demonstrated, especially in the tango. Do you remember when you caught me, that one time I slipped on the corté? The very first time we all tried it? I fell right smack into you. Good thing you were so tall, even then! But your arms caught me in a caring way, and we stayed there for the longest two seconds of my life. Fitting, isn’t it, that we began during the tango? Flared by that encounter, our souls grew together over the next few years. We laced our roots like lovers’ fingers, as slowly as the Old Forest in Middle Earth is said to grow. It turns out that Tom Bombadill couldn’t save us, after all.
We were dancing too the first time I was mad at you. A man twisting a handlebar mustache watched us as you led me onto the Electric Cowboy’s dance floor. I tried to follow your unfamiliar dance leads, but my toes in my gold metallic sandals steadily turned black and blue, and my ego as a ballroom dancer burst into flames. I scowled at you throughout the song and let my restless tongue flame out my mouth like a hideous dragon when we sat down afterward on rickety black wooden stools. Were you trying to make me look like a fool? You know I didn’t learn the two-step with you! Your blue eyes shifted. Puppy dog. I tried not to look. I remember the smell of the beer, the dimness of the room, and which pair of jeans you were wearing. I can’t believe I didn’t know how much of a jerk I was. I peer backward in time and appreciate you.
There are many more memories, of course, to choose from. Do you know, the first kiss I ever received was from you? The stars shone with a fresh, clear energy, and Jack Frost began to nip at our noses. The night’s blue sky cloaked the air above the car whose door you opened for me. The party waited for us inside, but your warm fingers caught my arm to say, thank you for a wonderful night in advance. You had stepped so close, gazing into my grey eyes with yours like deep blue pools, that I stepped back in surprise. Pulling me to you, your lips gave just a peck, but my heart danced the jive around my chest that felt like white feathers caught in a firestorm.
I can still feel your lips lingering on my cheek, even now as a blast of cold winter air sneaks through the door on the coattails of café customers. I’m sitting in a coffee shop instead of the cold apartment that I can’t afford to heat. Ha, alone in a coffee shop, reminiscing on love… how cliché. It sounds like something from a movie. I bet a movie heroine’s scarf never trails into her latte while she reaches for her journal. I’m near the end of it now. You’re scrawled on nearly every page, bound in ink to the pages containing my life. I wish you could read it, I wish you could understand what I was going through, and I wish you could understand why I was a jerk. I know I probably can’t make you understand, but at least here I can bring myself vindicate my soul.