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How We Met

I met a girl at a grocery store. Her name isn't important, so I'll call her "Agirl". Though nothing serious developed between us, it was surely a meeting orchestrated for other reasons by Heaven itself. Agirl and I were both shopping for PowerBars, started talking, and exchanged numbers. We got together once or twice, and though we had a nice time, we never felt compelled to see each other. So, as often happens in casual relationships, we stopped chatting. Then about 6 months later we started, got together once or twice, and drifted back apart again. Then again. And again. One would think that after a while I would have stopped bothering, but something kept bringing us together.

Turns out, it was dancing.

We had talked about dancing for a while. We both enjoyed it, and Agirl was taking ballroom dancing lessons and needed a partner. I was game to learn, so I said I would join her. We met part way there, and she drove us to Louise Lamar's Dance Studio in Bernville, where we entered the studio to join the class already in progress.

The sign on the sliding glass door said that tonight was the first of five sessions learning the Tango, the dance of love. We walked through the door, then up a step to the dance floor. I quickly glanced at the dance students in front of me, a line of men on the right and a line of women on the left. And then I stopped. At the near end of the line was the most stunning woman I had ever seen. She had dark wavy hair down past her shoulders, a perfect figure, and the most beautiful face. I stared for a moment, then looked to the men's side of the room to see if her partner was watching me. No one seemed to notice, or at least didn't appear ready to punch me out. I joined the end of the men's line while Agirl joined the end of the line of women, right next to the dark haired beauty. That was either a blessing or a curse, as it was highly likely I would get caught looking across the room at someone other than my partner (most definitely a blessing!).

The instructor resumed his lesson. Since this was the beginning of the first class, he was teaching us the basic movement of the Tango. No real dance steps yet, just how to move your body and your feet together to get the right motion. Oh, and what motion my dark haired beauty had. Her steps were smooth, her hips moved in perfect time with the music, and when she turned to dance the other way, staring was all I could do. I thought she couldn't see me stare since she were facing away, but I was so mesmerized that I completely missed the fact that the entire opposite wall was a mirror. And frankly, I didn't care.

The Tango. An 8 beat pattern with a slow 1st step on beat 1, slow 2nd step on beat 3, three quick steps on beats 5-6-7, and a pause on beat 8.
Step 1 - (Pause 2) - Step 3 - (Pause 4) - Steps 5-6-7 - (Pause 8).
Step 1 - (Pause 2) - Step 3 - (Pause 4) - Steps 5-6-7 - (Pause 8).
1 - (2) - 3 - (4) - 5-6-7-(8).
1 - (2) - 3 - (4) - 5-6-7-(8).
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. There were 9 women in the room.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. There were only 8 men. That meant she was alone!
Or it meant I miscounted people while counting dance steps.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. I counted right! She was there alone!
Or someone else was alone and she was with the guy standing next to me. They were across the room from us, and not lined up directly, so I couldn't be sure. I didn't think they would have been together, at least they didn't look like they would be. Not that I could tell you now what he looked like, nor anyone else on the floor for that matter. But my beauty was wearing a shirt that closely followed her curves, stopping just at the top of her shape hugging blue jeans. It was close enough to keep her perfect midrift hidden until she raised her hand to practice a turn move. I think I stopped dancing. I know I stopped breathing.

"Ok, now that you've practiced the steps alone, it's time to dance with your partner" said the instructor.
"OK," I thought to myself, "now I'll know if she's alone." We all joined our partners, and she went to dance with...the instructor! YES!!! She WAS there alone! And when he needed to instruct a couple, she just danced by herself. And so it went during the course of the hour lesson. She moved like nothing I had ever seen, and all I could do was watch.

I must stop here and explain something. This wasn't the first or last time that a woman was partnerless at a dance lesson at this studio, there are often more women than men. I have seen the instructor dance as the lady's partner. I have heard him ask a man to switch for a little while. He has even made a general announcement asking men to watch for a partnerless woman and volunteer from time to time. I have never heard, or heard of him, doing what he was about to do.

So the lesson went on. I learned, I danced, and I watched. Then he said it. With 10 minutes left, he said what he has never, save this one fateful evening, said.

"It's time to join your partner, but first, this poor lady has been stuck with me all night, so for this dance she gets to pick any partner she wants."
"Oh Lord," I thought, "She could pick me!"
Everyone turned towards her to await her decision, and there I was - standing behind her!
Agirl and I were at the near end of the floor, then her, then everyone else, and she was facing everyone else! I was to her side and behind her, and she was facing the other way. Damn! There's no way she'll pick me.

"Pick me!" my brain shouted.

I was never much of an athlete in school, and was often picked last, but I knew I wasn't athletic and didn't really care. But this was different. This was important! She stood scanning the men in front of her with her hand on her chin and a furrowed brow, playing up her big decision for everyone watching.

I was standing out of her line of sight, but my brain was screaming with every synapse:
"Pick Me!  Pick Me!  Pick Me!  Pick Me!  Piiiccckkk Mmmmeeee!!!!!"

She lowered her hand from her chin and slowly swept it across the line of men in front of her as she spoke, "I ... pick ..."

I didn't have a chance. My dark haired beauty was about to pick another man as her partner.
My heart sank.

" ... him!" And with a flick of her arm she pointed at me. My face lit up and I grinned from ear to ear as my brain exclaimed, "YESSSSS!!!"

"Hi. I'm George." I said.
She responded, "I'm Renata."
"Renata." I repeated. "That's different." I shouldn't have been surprised. She was so completely different in so many wonderful ways than any woman I had ever known. No one else had ever made me feel like this. I had only just met this exquisite woman, and in mere moments, Renata and I were going to dance. I was a very lucky man!

"Ok," said the instructor, "practice what you just learned."

Learned? I had learned something? The dance steps from mere minutes ago were fuzzy, but each moment of the present was crystal clear. Renata held up her hand for me to hold. It was warm and inviting and I took it gently. She put her other hand on my shoulder, and I put mine on her waist. Her body was soft but firm, with curves in all the right places. It felt so good to touch her. You're supposed to hold your partner close in the Tango, so I did. I was a little taller so I stared at her lovely face, barely daring to glance down past it whenever I could without getting caught. My breathing was quick and shallow, and I was terrified that I would mess up and seem like a dolt to the beautiful, graceful, exciting woman just inches away from me.

Then the music started, and there on the floor,
though we had never seen, spoken, nor touched before,

we danced the Tango!

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