There are two different types of journeys. The first is the straight forward one. You know where you’re going, you work out a route, get in the car and hey presto you arrive at your destination with the minimum of fuss. The other type is a little more interesting. It’s a bit of a mystery tour. You have a vague idea where you’re going, but you certainly don’t have a route mapped out. You’ll probably get lost and it will be stressful, but when you finally arrive, there will be a great feeling of satisfaction that you actually made it. Every so often we should all go on that type of journey.
To read the previous chapters in my tale of a fictitious group of beginners click here
Its Saturday afternoon, it’s cold and wet and you are feeling pretty sorry for yourself. You missed the dance class again – another feeble excuse about work over running – and now all you had to look forward to was a night in front of the telly. You could of course go to the freestyle dance tonight, but you felt your dance friends had given up with you.
It had been nice that Ellie had called you after you missed the first class night, but she had not been in touch this week. Who could blame her. You had had a text from Andy reminding you about the freestyle tonight, but it had been a little matter of fact – Freestyle this Saturday at The Community Centre. Starts at 8. Andy. Were the others going, would Janice be there? Would he be welcome to sit with them?
When you’d set out for your first dance class you had seen it as a leisure activity, a challenge obviously, but something to fill one of your evenings. You’d really enjoyed it but not because of the dancing. The dancing was in fact quite stressful. No, the reason you had looked forward to it each week, was because of the friends you had made.
The dancing itself hadn’t been easy, but you had made progress, and then one night it had clicked. You remembered with affection the night when you and your friends had met up at Andy’s. That extra bit of practice, and the patience of your friends had helped you no end. So what had happened. You were about to relive the embarrassment of the freestyle night when your phone rang.
‘Robert its Janice.’ ‘Oh hi, how are you?’ ‘Yes I’m good. I just wondered if you were going tonight?’ ‘Not sure. I’ve a bit of work to catch up on.’ ‘Look, all the dance gang is going and Paula is back now and she’s going.’ ‘I heard Paula was back, but…’
Janice interrupted you, ‘Look Robert, I know what happened at the last freestyle, but you were doing well. We all have bad days. I went on my own to a freestyle last week. I’d been invited by a guy I’d met the time you were there, but it wasn’t the same. I felt a bit left out to be honest. I didn’t get many dances and I left early. A bit like you did.’ ‘It didn’t put you off then?’ ‘Well it did, but tonight its all our friends from the class again, and it will be good fun.’
You got yourself showered and shaved, put on some nice clothes, and you went. Your friends were really pleased to see you. Mandy came rushing up and gave you a big hug, ‘Robert, good to see you – nice shirt.’ Ellie was a little more reserved but equally pleased to see you. ‘Well done for coming Robert. I know you had a bad experience last time but it happens – ask Peter.’
Ellie had the first dance with you. Some moves came back quickly, but you struggled with the more difficult ones. ‘Just do the moves you can do well.’ Ellie was supportive as always, ‘We ladies appreciate it when we have a simple dance. Some guys forget we are still relatively new at it, and it can get a bit disjointed when they try the more advanced stuff.’
In between dancing with your friends and a few other friendly faces you recognised from your class night, you sat and chatted with Peter, Andy and Malcolm. ‘See that woman in the blue dress.’ Peter was explaining his unpleasant experience from the class night the other evening. You spotted a woman dancing very flamboyantly in the middle of the floor. ‘She actually refused me a dance.’ You recognised the woman in question, ‘She’s the one who left me in the middle of the floor last time.’ ‘Well she told me she doesn’t dance with beginners.’
Malcolm, who remember had been around for a while, chipped in. Most of the women, even the very experienced ones will happily dance with beginners, but you’ll soon learn the ones to avoid. When you signed up for that first lesson you thought it was just about learning some dance steps. But it had been more than that. It had been a bit of an adventure actually. If you had known the stresses and pitfalls in advance you might not have set out on your dance journey. But now sitting at home you were so pleased you did.
You thought back to more of the chatter from the evening. ‘So Robert, are you ready for the Intermediate Class?’ Andy had apparently moved up last week. ‘How was it?’ ‘Terrifying!’ Malcolm had offered more of his experience, ‘It’s hard for everyone to make the jump to the intermediate class, but you can’t stay in the beginners class for ever. Mandy’s going to give it a try next week.’
You’d perhaps give the beginners one more week – you had missed the last two after all. Now you resolved that, no matter how stressful it might be, you would move up to the Intermediate lesson. You were not ready to end your dance journey just yet. Nor it seemed were any of your friends. Who knew where it would take them. But that was the thing about journeys.
There was one last thought. Perhaps you’d found someone to go on the journey with him. You remembered now how lovely Janice had looked again. She had bought herself another new dress and she had looked wonderful. She had been so pleased to see you. ‘You came then? Love your shirt.’ You realised now why she had called you, why she had encouraged you to give it another go. You remembered, with affection the end of the phone call. ‘I know you struggled with the moves Robert, but you are a nice man, and we all loved dancing with you, even if at times you went wrong.’
That night you and your dance friends had walked back to the car park together, reliving the events of the night. The guys talked about the girls they had danced with. The girls complimented each other about their outfits. Mandy you noticed had her arm through Malcolm’s. As you pressed your key fob to open your door, Janice came over. ‘Robert, do you fancy a coffee some time?’
Janice is pursued by Steve at Freestyle