It took me a while to figure out what set her apart from the other women at the contradance. There were at least a dozen other new people there that night. She was beautiful, of course, but there were others with long dark hair and wide dark eyes, a girl’s freshness and a woman’s grace. I envied them. I didn’t envy her.
She looked at all her partners like a lover, I thought—though I couldn’t be sure, never having had one myself-- like someone who knew every line of their faces, every gesture of their hands, and hungered, not for their approval, their desire, but for them, the way they were in themselves. It wasn’t just the men, either. She took my hand in a ladies’ chain, and I thought she could have sculpted my hand from memory after that—calluses, split nail, long blunt-ended fingers.
I sat out the next dance and watched her. She smiled radiantly whenever she met anyone’s eyes, but while she waited off the end of the set she looked like a little girl left alone at night, straining to hear the grown-ups downstairs, telling herself desperately that she is not afraid of the dark.
In the next dance, I discerned from the way she moved her hips that she was a divorced mother of two. And more: she waved her hands in the air like someone who had never been satisfied with her husband because he spent all day working.
It was all for the best. I could tell from the fire in her eyes that the rough touch of a man could never tame her.
I worked up the courage to talk to her. The distance from her chin to her clavicle revealed that she was a Scorpio who liked long walks on the beach. The roundness of her knees implied that she enjoyed watching movies and, though she was no fan of the original Police Academy, she closely followed the careers of Steve Guttenberg and Kim Cattrall.
I introduced myself. "Hi, I'm Amber."
She replied in a deep, masculine voice, "I'm Gary." It was only then that I noticed the Adam's apple . . .
Opening: Joanna.....Continuation: Matthew