One Step Back

He reaches forward, placing his right hand on my waist while extending his left. And much like everything else he offers freely while expecting so little in return, I take it. The music begins, and we dance.

Two steps forward, one step back, though not exactly to the beat of the music. It doesn't matter. He's doing the best he can.

"Go step, step, a step back and'a turn" shouts the little Italian dance instructor who he refers to as Mama Mia, because... "Well, she's going to say that a million times anyway."

"Dean'a, you must'a feel the musica! Ay, Mama Mia!"
"Dean'a, you supposed to lead'a, no follow! Ay, Mama Mia!"
"Dean'a, you dance'a like a wet noodle on stick! Ay, Mama Mia!"

Dean accepts these criticisms with a loving smile because he's not here to please Mama Mia. He's here for me. He'd never say it, but I know. I'm here because I have nowhere else to go. I guess that means I'm here for me too.

Two steps forward, one step back.

I used to date men with motorcycles, but Dean drives a Saab. I chased tattooed men with tabooed thoughts, and we'd fuck like olympic athletes going for the gold. But years pass and beauty fades. The tattooed men are probably still fucking beautiful girls while I sleep with Dean.

Dean does not fuck. He prefers to "make looooooooooooooooove," but unlike the men before him, Dean only wants to make love to me. That counts for something, right?

Two steps forward, one step back.

Dean and I met by accident. Literally. I was a broken down woman barreling down the road in a broken down car. I knew my brakes were shit. That was the point. When you've got nothing left to lose, you've got everything to gain. I gained a lot by rear-ending Dean's Saab. I hit him good and hard, but somehow, he thought he was at fault. His car was banged up but drivable. Mine was a total loss, and since my night was a total loss too... I figured, what the hell. I let him drive me home if he agreed to take me to dinner first. I got a free meal and a new car too. By the end of the night, Dean thought he found love.

Two steps forward, one step back.

"...and'a a TURN!"

Yes, Mama Mia. A step back, and a turn.

I tried. Honest to god, I tried to end it so many times, but no matter what I told him needed to change, he'd change. Friday nights with the guys from work: gone. His beige sofa: gone. Pleated goddamn khaki pants: gone. I pushed and he pulled. Is that how he pulled me in?

Two steps forward, one step back.

My friends say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he fucks, but I think you can tell more by the way he wakes up the next day. Max told me to go make him some coffee. Leo asked why I was still there and I heard him flip the lock as I stormed out the door. Dean woke me with a kiss on the forehead and a homemade breakfast in bed. In fact, he made two completely different breakfasts because he didn't know if I'd want eggs and bacon or french toast with fruit. What I really wanted was for him to fuck me senseless, but he was holding the best looking omelette I'd ever seen, so I ate it. I ate the french toast too. And, best of all, Dean brought me coffee. I didn't get laid though. Not that morning or any morning. Not since I met Dean.

Two steps forward, one step back.

I didn't mean for us to become a couple. It's just that I was broke and he sure wasn't. I lost my lease and he found a roommate. Well, OK, he found a girlfriend, but I'm a good goddamn girlfriend. Those tattooed men taught me things that now rock Dean's world. And I do. Every night.

Two steps forward, one step back. Ouch, that was my foot.

He tells me he's sorry, but he shouldn't be. He's a good man; handsome in a computer programmer sort of way with a soft touch and more genuine enthusiasm in a single day than I can muster up in a year. He hasn't raised a hand to me in anger even once, and he... Well... He loves me. And besides, he paid for the shoe he just stepped on, so I really can't complain.

Two steps forward, one step back.

We're near the end of another private lesson and Mama Mia is losing hope. I lost hope a long time ago which explains why I'm here, learning to dance the mambo with Dean. He moves the same way he did last week when we were learning to Fox-Trot. We only need to look half-decent for one dance, so I'm not sure what the point of these lessons is. It's just one dance alone before everyone joins us, and by that point, the deed is done, so it doesn't really matter.

"I think I'm getting the hang of this one," Dean says as he steps on my foot again. "We've only got a few more weeks, but I think we'll be great!"

"Dean'a, you move like a jackalope on rollerskate! Next'a week, we try something else'a, OK? Ay, Mama Mia!"

Soon, we will be Dean and Gina Honeycutt. Two steps forward, one step back.

::::: | Saturday, Aug 08 2009 at 11:25 PM
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