I peer into the window of the decrepit hall. A kaleidoscope of colour meets me—a scene straight from the Arabian Nights—a circle of whirling ladies moving around a shabby timber floor, bright skirts billowing, bare feet stamping, jewellery jangling. They are urged on by a moving work of art—a red-swathed Egyptian goddess, Amy Winehouse up-do swirling, curling, shapely arms gracefully uplifted, flowing fluidly around the room.
‘Circles, ladies. Circles. Ah, that’s good. You can do it! Lovely, lovely…”
What is this? I look around. There, on the jagged timber door, a little sign:
Samira’s Belly Dance Class.
Belly dancing? Here? Could I be so bold? No. Benjamin’s right. I’m a yellow-bellied coward. Afraid of life.
‘Ladies, I said move your belly. Nothing else! Up! To the side! Down! To the other side! Circles! Do you feel it?’
Delight gleams through the sheen of sweat on rosy faces. These ladies are feeling it all right! Smooth, sensual, erotic! I’m unloved, unlovely, abandoned and afraid.
‘Let it go!’ Samira urges. ‘You are beautiful! Isolate. Push! Shoulders forward! Move! Shake it! Shimmy!’
Breasts wobble, bellies wobble, arms wobble. Samira glances at my window. She shouts in her husky voice: ‘The only restrictions are those you put on yourself!’
She’s talking to me.
‘Shake it ladies!’
Gold bells tinkle, wrist cuffs rattle, ankle cuffs clink.
I close my eyes, visualise myself in that glorious room. Visualise myself throwing off the chains of the long miserable years of marriage with Benjamin.
‘No, I could never do this.’
The dance class is over. The music stops, the stamping feet still, the clapping hands silence. I head home, lost in alone-ness.
The crashing waves near my front door thump out a message. I lean against the deck rail and listen. Life. Must. Go. On. Hope. Dream. Imagine.
If I drape some chiffon over my jelly belly, buy some scarves, beads and fringes…I could do this!
I consider my life, the long painful years of being nobody, nothing. The kids have left, Benjamin has left, it’s just me left.
Excitement bubbles up like water from a once-blocked fountain. ‘I can do whatever I want,’ I shout, surprised at the sound of my loud voice.
'I can be free!'
Instead of being the end of the world it could be the beginning of my world.
I’m off to learn to dance the world’s oldest dance. Bring it on!
Word count: slightly over 400. FCA.
*Image - RiRi's Dance Acadamy, UK.
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