Eric and Caroline eagerly weaved their way through tables of dining couples to the dance floor. I followed, curious, apprehensive. They spilled into a vacant spot just a new song began, I paused at the precipice. Eric nodded to the music, took Caroline's hands. And moved. They flowed and swayed, hips tilting in time. Caroline waited for Eric's lead attentively, and then they span and whirled in comfortable coordination. I watched from the edge, a smile widening on my face. There is something immeasurably pleasing about seeing good friends out of context. Different skills, new graces, more places to attach hooks of affection.
My reverie was disturbed by another side-liner asking me to dance. "Oh, but I don't know how!" A gentle tug on my arm, a reassuring grimace, and I was out among the pool of revelers. I watched our feet - mine moving awkwardly, his stepping neatly in scuffed brown shoes. Finally I listened to the music and had a figuring epiphany. We whorled and eddied in the currents of dancers and gradually I could afford to look elsewhere. Over his shoulder I could see that Dave and Lea had joined us and I laughed happily. Lea seemed content and Dave was relaxed, smiling cheerfully as he confidently turned Lea without missing a step. I kept a little distance from my partner, not entirely sure where to rest my arm or how much contact I was okay with. He was very patient but did not utter a sound and looked very somber. At the end of the interminable song I leaned in and spoke a loud "Thankyou!" into his ear before taking my leave. I must have been a terrible disappointment to him but I'd had a wonderful time, not quite dancing with my friends.