The Dancing Class

You know that practised smile, the air-hostess smile? Miss Laura had it and could look on you and then move away before you could ask if her manner was sincere or meant for you or just a reflection of your longing, but luck was not on her side the day I had joined her dance class.

I was lonely and desperate and it was some years since I had become a recluse, more by force of circumstance than desire. An advert in the local newspaper caught my eye and here I was holding Miss Laura in my arms, and seeing her eyes, first warm and nurturing, then wary, then alarmed as she looked up at me. I could almost hear her refined and polished equipment whirring into action as she sought a way to extricate herself from the arms of this odd creature without creating a scene.

I hung on to her a bit too long and her eyes, with that gentle seriousness I had seen before in other girls, made the unspoken suggestion that I was threatening to embarrass myself and her until, like some piece of refuse caught briefly by an overhanging branch, I was released from my hypnosis and freed her from my grasp.

As I released her, her eyes hardened as if to say, “I do not waste my warmth on flotsam” and to be honest there was a guarded, careful quality about her which was at odds with her social and generalised manner.

I had been a wealthy man in my time, and used to employ a modesty of character combined with an expensive wardrobe to attract those whose company I might enjoy. Up to my mid-forties I had been considered sensible, balanced and particular, until a certain Maria Gratzia, who boasted among other things, that she was a distant descendant of Lucretia Borgia, caught my eye: which outlandish claim was given some credence by her subsequent conduct.

What she had against men, or mankind in general, or just me, I cannot truly say, but once I lost myself in her, she married me, took half my wealth, my reputation and my peace of mind before leaving me to find consolation in uneasy solitude brought on by shame and balmed by any drink I could acquire.

We all have unsavoury, grubby aspects to our character do we not, and she managed to fillet out mine and make it general knowledge to excuse her own conduct, which it did, leaving me, now a pariah, to steal into obscure seclusion from which I have failed to free myself for close on a decade. At last, the longing to be absolved, touched and recognised gradually possessed me until I had made this unbalanced foray into general life.

I was like a man dying of thirst who stumbles into some fine restaurant and gulps and slurps from a carafe of wine without ceremony, revolting the diners with his display of unpolished appetite, as was my briefly engaged dance teacher when she saw the hunger in my eyes. After a while, I saw recognition overlay the hauteur and she said, “Mr Longestine, please do not come here again,” and I left as quickly as I could. Secrets laid bare, it seems, can sometimes haunt us all our lives.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Life, Peter Wells, Relationships, Reputation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Dancing Class

  1. Some women ruin men for all other women…and some just ruin them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mikesteeden says:

    You are plainly blessed with a plethora of writing styles spinning a tale into an entire story at the speed of sound yet leaving the reader feeling as if he/she has just read an entire book. A bravo moment is due I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The things we do for love! I guess a lot of people have their own agenda when it comes to relationships – perhaps it all comes down to luck!


  4. davidprosser says:

    An uncommon tale filed with a sadness not about to be abated. Beautifully written in the style of another more decorous age.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


  5. Marquessa says:

    I love your writing style!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. fictionalkevin says:

    Loved this picture:

    she managed to fillet out mine and make it general knowledge to excuse her own conduct

    What a beautifully awful way to describe what a woman can do to a man – or visa-versa.


  7. You are a master of style! This was a sort of admirable Charles Kingsley or John Henry Newman, where I had to keep my finger on the verb!


  8. Al says:

    Another sad tale of a femme fatale. I’ll balm to that!


  9. Another sad person, whose exterior is no mirror of what’s inside. Well written, Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Haunt us, or urge us to stay the course so as to never visit that place again. Love your stuff, Peter. Really.


  11. araneus1 says:

    My wife said, “Wow”, and I agreed with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. L. R. Palmer says:

    Such an incredible gift you have, Peter! Love the cadence, the rhythm, the tone, all meshed to create the absolute perfect tone for the story. I actually FELT what the character was feeling, and in such a short story…?! Absolutely amazing! Kudos!


  13. Carrie Rubin says:

    “I do not waste my warmth on flotsam”—Ouch.


  14. I agree with the other commentor, some woman do ruin some men. But it’s also up to the men to realize you have to deal with anyone on a person to person basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gotham girl says:

    Just great Peter, just great!!


  16. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Miss Laura did what she needed to do. Yes, I am siding with the object of his longing and not the man doing the long. Is that bad of me? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow. Well written sir. I can relate more than I’d like to admit. Having my own “grubby aspects to” my “character” filleted out to the masses to “excuse her own conduct” as well. I too found solice in inebriation, and day after day choose the cruel loneliness of my bed over the cruel world. I’m not sure if this was autobiographical or fiction but it certainly hit home with me.


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