Red is a color worn by others. Haven’t worn red since Howard left in ’92 and I moved to back to Phoenix. So I haven’t a clue what made me buy a dark red Ralph Lauren shirt and tank top yesterday morning. Maybe it was the incredible sale at Dillards or I had to have one in each color as fall and winter are approaching and I’m never going to find another sale like this in my lifetime.
My friend Melinda thinks I spend too much time by myself, so she’s been planning many events in hopes I’ll say “yes” to one or another. Usually, I arrive a few minutes late and often leave early. Don’t like crowds much and it’s too hot to be outside. Let’s go to La Encantada Saturday night and hear the flamenco music special event put on but GOVAC. Yeah, right, what little cigarettes have you been smoking? Jazz maybe… flamenco never! Okay, I give; I’ll meet you at 6:45.
Old habits die-hard, I’m late as usual and in the back row. Another favorite place when you’re pissed at life (because somehow it’s to blame for passing you by) and hiding out seems like a good solution. Can’t see far away, left my glasses at home (of course did I really want to come to the show?), besides who needs to see to hear. Pablo’s guitar music is dynamic, tickles the soul and as much as my feet want to dance, my butt stays firmly in the tiny white folding chair. So I whisper to Melinda, I’m going to try to move closer. She rolls her eyes…been here before, she’s going to bolt any minute. “Talk to you tomorrow,” she whispers.
For the next hour I’m up and down like a yo-yo (probably A.D.D. in my last life). Finally, I hide behind a plant partition close to the stage where I can see and hear everything. Red is definitely the color of the evening. While the beautiful woman in the sexy long red dress is clicking her castanets and stomping her very proper low-heeled black maryjanes, a beautiful blond little girl in a long red ruffled dress with black patent leather maryjanes is mimicking her in front of the first row. The guitar music is powerful, the tall woman stomps her feet, clicks her hands, and swings her dress showing gorgeous dancer’s legs. The little girl stomps her feet, clicks her fingers, swings her dress, and twirls her ruffles ‘round and ‘round.
I’m lost in the music, in the dancing, and in the wondering when exactly we lose the joy of twirling when everyone is looking while we are unaware of their eyes upon us. When do we become self-conscious of other’s eyes and other’s thoughts of our behavior? At what moment in time do we starting judging ourselves more than anyone else could ever judge us? Why does what “they” think matter? Who are the “they”? And why do they matter so much?
When exactly God, do we stop dancing, I wondered more like a prayer than a question. And what has to happen for us to twirl, to be 5 again, playing with an open heart? A chair opens up in the front row next to friends and I sneak over and sit invisibly still. OMG, I’m in the front row! The concert is almost over; maybe no one will notice I’m in the front row this close to the stage.
For all my desire to remain invisible, 80 year old Francis, 4 ft. tall, born in Spain, complete with walker and castanets comes over asking me to dance. Now I have two fears simultaneously going off in my head – do I get up and dance with Francis in front of several hundred strangers, making a complete fool of myself or do I turn down a little old lady who can’t dance without her walker or a partner in front of several hundred strangers.
I got up and danced with Francis (who survived the Spanish Civil War before age 11, making it to Ellis Island on a ship in 1940), letting her lead me all over the place. Within minutes half the audience was up dancing and twirling. More people dancing than sitting, when Francis turns to me, winks, and says, “I knew they’d all get up and dance.” In the midst of all those people twirling around, it occurred to me that courage is contagious. And so is joy.
What is that saying about being very careful what you ask for? Sometimes God listens to me a lot closer than I suspect I think he does. Last night God listened to my heart, because if he had been listening to my head, he would have heard all that grumbling about last row, heat outside, and why did I leave those darn glasses at home. He would have heard my brain telling me to sit still before Melinda told me to leave cause I was driving her crazy. This time though, my heart won out, that is why God sent me two angels, one 5 and one 80 to teach me again to dance and twirl not caring who’s watching.
All rights reserved. ©2009 by Sara Fryd