They got her shoes and walked into the dance class in plenty of time. The instructors were a married couple who were probably about the same age as Kyle’s mother. In fact, the woman really reminded him of her in the way she walked and spoke.
“Do any of you have any experience with salsa dancing?” Marion, the instructor, asked.
Kyle was the only one who raised his hand.
“What would you say your level of expertise is, Kyle?” She read his name off his nametag.
“I haven’t done it in a few years, but I used to be pretty good.”
“All right. Come up here and partner me for a moment. Let’s show the folks how it’s done.”
Shrugging, he walked over to her taking his position across from her with a shy smile.
“I apologize in advance if I step on your toes. It’s been about ten years since I did this.”
“I promise to be gentle.” She grinned at him, nodding for them to begin.
The music started at a very fast tempo. Kyle’s feet stepped automatically as he and Marion moved across the dance floor. He spun her under his arm, twirling her first left, then right. As she turned, he flipped the edge of her skirt with his fingers, then grabbed her hand, pulling her to him. In and out, back and forth, they danced as the others in the class laughed and clapped.
Stunned, Marion nearly lost her aplomb when he tossed her in the air, catching her lazily just before she hit the ground. He swung her into a low dip supporting her with one arm and his knee before swooping her up again. The music finally ended. Laughing and panting, he bowed to Marion, who dramatically collapsed into his arms.
“Oh, my God! I think I’m too worn out to teach the class now. Where on earth did you learn to dance like that?”
“Amy Kay Scott’s School of Dance,” he said proudly. “My mom taught for many years and I partnered her from the time I was eleven.”
“You’re Amy’s little boy? I thought you looked familiar. My husband and used to work with her. Marion and Tony Capella.”
“Sheesh, I’m losing my mind. I kept thinking you looked familiar.” They exchanged pleasantries for a moment more before getting back to the class.
“We must get together later and talk. Is this your wife?” She held out her hand to Emily.
“No, this is my friend Emily. We met last night at dinner.”
“Lovely to meet you, dear! Are you as accomplished as Kyle?”
“Oh, no. I’m decidedly a beginner.”
“He can probably teach you better than I can. We’ll start slowly. You don’t get to his level overnight.”
He and Emily practiced some simple steps. He showed her the woman’s part as Marion worked with the others. Tony circulated, helping his wife as well as checking on Kyle and Emily. Slightly apart, they practiced the steps and chatted quietly.
“You’re so light on your feet. I’m jealous!” Emily giggled as she messed up.
“I’ve been dancing since I could walk,” Kyle admitted with a shrug.
“Why didn’t you go into it professionally?”
“Because where we lived only fags became dancers.” He glanced at Marion’s husband. “Sorry, dude. You know the stigma.”
“All too well,” Tony replied with a distinctive Italian accent. “But women love to dance and a straight man who can move like that on the dance floor, they’re figuring he can move good other places—you catch my drift?”
Kyle did, so did Emily. The men chuckled knowingly as Emily blushed.
“I know very well what you mean. All these single women used to come to take lessons and meet guys. They all thought I was in my twenties because of my size. I was barely fifteen the first time…. Ne-ver mind,” he concluded, snapping his lips together.
“The first time you what, Kyle?” Emily feigned innocence, fluttering her eyelashes.
“Danced a salsa,” he lied. “Jumped right in like a pro.”
Tony laughed at him as he blushed, spinning Emily away from him. Tony caught her, spinning her the other direction, sending her back.
“I feel like a yo-yo,” Emily laughed when Kyle caught her.
“You don’t look like one. Which is a good thing, since they’re flat and round. Very boring, yo-yo’s. You’re much prettier.”
© Dellani Oakes