That night she sat in her chair married to the punch bowl. She had been sitting two hours too long in her white dress. I was on the other side of the room watching her from afar. I’m sure she would’ve noticed me by now as I awkwardly crossed my feet back and forth. I silently rehearsed my speech of asking her to dance. I constantly would sway back and forth and grit my teeth as I went over scenarios in my head of how it would play out if I did get up the courage. I would say, “I heard there was a word for people that have a constant urge to dance. It is called Tarantism.” Yeah, that could be a way to break the ice, “Excuse me I have Tarantism and it’s the uncontrollable urge to dance, but to control it you need a partner. Would you like to be my partner?” She would think I’m a freak, a wired one, a dork. She would look at me with a blank stare, I’m sure. No, that wouldn’t work. I looked over in her direction again. She had her legs clung to the table cloth and sipped her punch ever so slowly. I watched her making sure she didn’t see me. As soon as I saw her head prop up I would look the other way. Act as if I was looking at the banner that read the corny theme for the dance that year. The themes were always cheesy like “Love by Moonlight” or “Love amongst Roses.” They were never clever or original. This year we used a movie title, “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
Regardless, I acted as if was interested in everything but her. I would people watch while sitting in my chair, the rubber being moisturized by my sweaty palms. I would watch the people spin and jump and some even do the splits as Whitesnake’s song “Here I Go Again” screamed, reverberating the floor. “Blue Monday” blasted over the speakers. People shifted back and forth as “People are People” echoed in the room. They looked as though they were having so much fun. So why couldn’t I do it? Why couldn’t I just get up and dance? Seemed easy enough. However, I seemed stuck to my chair. Maybe if I really believed I had this “Tarantism” I would be able to do it. I could break free and ask her to dance. Damn, I am going to do it. I worked myself up to doing it. I psyched myself up. Played theme songs in my head to get me pumped. Suddenly found myself mouthing the words, “ You’re the best around, Nobody ever gonna get you down,” repeated in my head. I felt myself being ready to shake and move with the rest of them. I was ready. I was going to seize the day. The moment was there for my taking. I got up from my chair and started my long journey over to her. However, I noticed halfway there that she was gone. I twisted and turned and searched tirelessly for her. I twisted and turned around the dance floor looking for her. Then, I felt a tap on my shoulder and saw her. She asked in a sweet voice, “You move pretty well. Would you like to dance?”
© David Iribarne
David Iribarne earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from CSUS. He currently resides in Sacramento. He has had several poems published in Poetry Now, Sussurus, Catchword, Medusa’s Kitchen, Primal Urge, WTF?! and also has had work in The Creating Freedom exhibit on domestic violence at the California Museum. He also won second prize in Sacramento News & Review’s student poetry contest in 2005. He also has a piece published in SPC’s Sacramento anthology Late Peaches. He has written one poetry book entitled Bones. Skin, and Soul and a chapbook entitled Soul of Love. He is currently working on a chapbook on the subject of domestic violence entitled Silent Screams. He has a new book entitled, You Gave Me Your Shadow, which is available for $15 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.