Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
The folk dancers gather, circle out, promenade, move to the music. A man in a brown hat calls out directions, and the audience whispers, “Is that English?” The Portuguese folk dancers are performing for a mother-daughter tea party in the church basement. “No, It’s Portuguese.” The women sit at tables with various china cups. We eat tiny sandwiches and beam politely at the entertainment.
In a white shirt with a blue sash at his waist, a grey-haired man focuses on his task of guiding the women. He is serious, glancing at the ceiling as if the next steps are printed there, or staring at the man in the hat for the next command. He is precise while the other dancers play. Naturally, he is the one I love the most, so I stop paying attention to anyone else in the rotation. I am grinning to the point of confusing my neighbors, who begin to watch the performance more intently. How lovely to see up close the activities that people enjoy, where we invest our time, where we count our steps.
After the performance, the man slips out for a cigarette. He gazes at the sidewalk with great concentration and mentally reviews the performance. He taps a foot forward, shifts his shoulders involuntarily. He is dancing again in tiny movements, still gazing at the spot ahead of him, trying to remember if he turned left when he should have gone right.