Dancing was my refuge, my go-to place. Prompted by the harmonies and rhythms, and sometimes stirred by the lyrics, I could escape to a world full of magic and expression. On Friday nights I would walk down to the Student Union and onto the dance floor, allowing the sound to transport me to a treasured space: alone and yet with others I could be without pretence and celebrate my joy of life . I could be anywhere I might dream of and travel the earth without unease: each track taking me further into a blissful euphoria sometimes touched by melancholy.
Lost in my own world and the music, I let my eyes wander across the floor in that disengaged way I used to hide my isolation until I saw a girl dancing on her own in a manner not unlike my own but beautifully expressive and in time with the music: she looked as if she too was celebrating immortality and I was entranced as I had never been.
I won’t bother to tell you she was pretty but she was, and modest in dress and manner so that her movements were private yet deeply expressive. How is that ever so? How was it that she danced alone, and no one breeched her privacy? She was the very essence of the young sublime.
That time came when I must take my leave, and catch the last bus home but she was still dancing as if there was no other life but here. Made brave by the moment I walked up to her in a break between the tracks and said “I have never seen anyone dance as beautifully as you” and she turned her head to me and smiled with a warmth and interest which matched her movements on the floor. Without another word I left the building not wishing, I told myself, to taint the compliment by an expression of self-interest.
Now I have been alone these many years and have lost all hope of finding love but still I search for the Eden I hear in music. Perhaps in her movement and her look I got as near as a man can get to glimpse that paradise. I did not ask her name.