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DANCE — a fiction by ollie francis
‘You never really know someone until you have danced with them,’ my grandmother once told me. Yet forty years dancing together and they never knew.
The dance hall was on the same road where my father had been born. It was in a run-down community hall rotting between two rows of terrace housing. It had been set up in the 1940s by st. George’s — a place for the newly bereaved to gather and dance cheek to cheek with fellow widows, as though trying to resurrect the romance of the pre-war circuit in the days before the youth grew disillusioned with the rituals of courting and went straight to the rutting.
Maurine had been dancing there since opening night. Step, rotate, find a new partner. She spent forty years on the dance floor — a regular diva — always with a hope that the next waltz might be the one that lasts forever.
Sometimes you don’t realise you’ve been dancing. The music was already there and you wake up to your own movement, mid-step.
I suppose there just isn’t the stigma attached to love that there used to be. I like to imagine the changing world drips through my grandmother’s mind like water through a cave; over time, life grows in the darkness.
It had taken years for the law to change, of course: it always lags behind culture. It had taken my grandmother almost as long to acknowledge her own rhythm.
I have a picture of two brides blurred by the one-step. No spring chickens — just a couple of autumn hens — but still dancing.
Originally published on Tumblr