I have a very poor imagination. When I first read someplace, that Oscar Wilde made a comment, what a deep flaw that was, I was depressed for days.
I could never sit down and come up with a totally beautiful tale of romance, drama, funny story, nothing original. I am simply dried up and devoid of imagination.
Then, I am one of those individuals, who had a sign outside their bedroom door hanging and reading "DEATH BEFORE BOREDOM." Does everybody see the inconsistency here?
Thank God, Somebody up there took care of the problem early on, by giving me a life that resembled a soap opera. Ever since I can remember, I did not have to try too hard to entertain myself. Something was always happening to impress me. Real life was always more interesting than fiction to me. It had more of everything, from funny to supremely sad moments, surreal and unusual incidents, name it, it was happening at one point or another.
Last night was one of those moments. The whole evening unfolded so smoothly, with such perfection of details, that if I were not there, I would bet that somebody made it up. It was a scene out of those Romance novels. I can not stop thinking about it. I may have become too melodramatic with middle age and battling cancer every day. I still think, you will find it, at least poignant, bitter sweet and a guilty pleasure, snooping into somebody else's deep emotions, while an incident was taking place, transporting them to the past and mirroring their future.
I have been working extra hard recently, despite the fact that I am not supposed to. I need a great deal of money, because my health maintenance is an expensive ordeal. I had decided that Friday evening was going to be the day that I would decompress. I was invited to a formal ball and it had been a long time, since I had attended one of those. For somebody, whose biggest joy in life is ballroom dancing, you understand, what that meant to me. PAAAAARTY!!!!!!!!!!
I love the whole ritual; from the moment I start putting the make up on, to hair and finally the dress and accessories. The whole preparation, is such a beautiful routine to me. These days it is a bit cumbersome, tiring, but I still enjoy it. This time, instinctively, I got out of the closet a gown, that I wore only once before, years and years ago. My custom made, engagement party, gown. I wore it for my formal engagement, Christmas Day, when I was 17 years old. It was a great party my father gave me back then. I did not enjoy a moment of it. I felt I was being sold to slavery that night. The gown and the memories of that night, were locked in some dark place in a closet.
Last night, I felt a yearning for that particular dress. I dug it out and I admired it's sustained beauty. It is a real old fashioned ballroom dress, with the all the glamor and sparkle that goes with that. The "dusty rose" color was faded slightly, but the rest was perfect. I am terribly thin now. I was not that thin then, but it was barely fitting my tiny waist. The theory that after 40, all your fat is being carried around your waistline, was proven true.
It still looked smashing, with the appropriate soft make up, the pulled up hair and the rest, that made me look and feel like a princess. Heads turned and people wanted to know, where the dress came from and all that stuff that take place in a fancy ballroom affair.
I danced mostly the "elegant" dances, as in Waltz, Tango, Rumba and some Foxtrot. The dress was not appropriate for the cha-cha or the other Latin, fast dances.
In the next room, there was another formal affair taking place. Being curious and slightly bored after a while, I wondered in the ballroom next door. It turned out, a Greek festivity was being celebrated. The orchestra was playing only Greek songs, mainly from the islands, because those ones are the dances of courtship. There were professional dancers dressed in Greek, traditional attire and they were executing dances from different Greek regions. I used to dance all those dances while in high school. Our little dance co. was touring Greece, ever since I can remember.
I walked in, uninvited. I am Greek, what would they say, if they caught me "Get out of our festivities?" Their festivities, are MY festivities too.
I sat on a chair, right at the edge of the dancing floor, watching and clapping while the professionals were performing. When they finished, the guests took over the floor. Still, most of the people on the dance floor seemed that they knew what they were doing. They were not improvising too much. And then....
I saw this dashing figure, making his way across the dancing floor, avoiding carefully the other dancers and kept on coming towards my direction. I could make out that his eyes were glued on me and he was smiling. When he came closer, I recognized him from my days, when I was living in New York. The same impressive EVERYTHING, that as a youngster, I had such a crush on him. His hair was gray, but full, wavy and beautiful, as ever. His dark, double breasted, expensive suit, fit perfectly his still, very athletic physique. His green eyes were hooded a bit more and had beautiful expression lines around them.
My heart started pumping faster, because I recognized him. I always admired him from afar. We knew of each other, but we were not even friends. Just distant acquaintances.
He came closer and closer and without saying a word, he offered me the "handkerchief," the Greek way of asking somebody to lead the dancing circle.
I took it and I followed him, while he placed me in front of everybody and he was holding the other end of the handkerchief. Once we started dancing and people noticed we REALLY knew what we were doing, they left us alone in the middle of the circle, so that we could execute all the fancy steps of the "courtship" dance.
"How are you?" he screamed from the top of his voice, while he had his arms around my shoulders.
"I am dying from cancer" I answered dryly, as if I was saying, "fine."
He stopped dancing. He stopped smiling. He drew me closer and asked me to confirm what I said.
"I am dying from cancer," I repeated.
He stayed immobile for a minute. Then he hugged me so tight, I thought he was going to suffocate me. I looked at his face and he was crying.
"Don't cry, do not ask any questions right now. Go back to your table, to your wife, your friends and do not discuss it, please. Not, now. Just be grateful for your life."
He kissed me on my cheek for the longest time, while holding me tightly. Just before he walked off the floor, he whispered in my ear "You will be fine, otherwise, nothing makes sense. You were always the gold standard. That never dies."
I appreciate the vote of confidence. But the gold standard has died in many places of the world.
I can always be the exception.
He walked away and the rest of us kept on dancing.....