Zumba first thing in the morning, contra last thing at night. A day bracketed by dance is a happy day no matter what takes place in between.
We only see each other in passing after months and months apart. She lives too far and I have the kid. She keeps reminding me she has never met my son, which is sort of extraordinary considering how much a part of me she feels. We make plans again to get together. We mean it every time.
She knew me before Tee. Back then, we walked together along the river and ate heaps of pancakes at the little grill where she sometimes worked. She always was the finest waltz partner. That has not changed. She lifts my arm up and over to twirl my cloddish feet in the most elegant of arcs.
After, in a dark corner away from the whirling dancers, we huddle together and gossip. I have known her for a decade at least. Longer? Yes, so we discover. A dozen years. Amazing.
We laugh like schoolgirls. Like sisters. I know the funny way she rolls her eyes, and feel what lives in layers there: the tenderness down under the scar down under the sarcasm down under the sugary flutter of the lashes. She knows my history so I don’t have to masticate all over again that mouthful of ineffective words just to get her up to speed. We get right to the laughing.
It is hard to believe either of us is so much older than we were then. We still circle back around to the same silly patterns. We are still always who we have always been. For once, this is a reason for hilarity rather than angst. Just leaning close to her welcome skin for 10 minutes, that fleeting return to the familiar, puts the fizz back in my tired blood. We hug good night with more promises of visits. She returns to the dance floor and I head to the parking lot. I cruise out onto the Beltway feeling the strangest of sensations. What is that, I wonder? Serenity? Happiness? Something new, but also like coming home.