Chapter Three: Amy P
Hmm...that rhymes...chapter three...Amy P...anyway...
Amy was one of those extremely cute high school girls who was irresistible yet agonizingly out of reach to the "regular" guys in the crowd. You know the type. So beautiful that you get an upset stomach when you get close to her. A good upset stomach. But an upset stomach of the kind never felt if you are over the age of 18. It was a feeling of exclusion. Exclusion form the pretty girl club. A fear that a girl that beautiful could never have a second thought for any guy not on the proverbial football team. Interestingly, after years of feeling this exclusion, I find out she was just as scared as all the the guys and always wondered why the guys were scared of her. So a side note to current high schoolers.... that feeling does feel like a big deal because it is but don't let it make you retreat into the world of shyness. Just ask. If you never ask you will never know. And know this. The person you want to ask is as scared as you are. So just ask. OK...enough of the lecture.
I was actually friendly with Amy as she was in a lot of my classes but never more then that. Of, course, I wanted more but was too chicken to ask her out or talk to her about anything beyond dull schoolwork talk. See above advice.
So as usual in a suburb like Concord MA, us kids were thrust into all sorts of extracurricular activities such as sports, church stuff, and...yes...yes, dance class. I guess our parents thought it crucial that we learn things like the fox trot and the waltz so we could dance fancy at weddings.
So we have this class. The guys sit on one side, the girls on the other. When the instructor calls for a dance, you have to choose your girl based on the order in which you sit. So you pray to God that you don't get the fat wallflower or some girl you have just broken up with for some stupid high school reason. You stand in front of this girl with your heart pounding either because the girl is hideous or you are dying to have sex with her. Either way, that last thing on your mind is dancing.
"Position please!", the instructor would say which meant you had to assume the appropriate position for the dance at hand. Left hand on the girls right waist. Right hand palm up and holding the girls left hand. You are so close that it is a definite invasion of personal space. Sometimes you want it depending on the girl. Other times you want to shrink back into your hole and wish you were never there.
There was the inevitable misstep...foot on foot...the girls boobs bumping into your chest...cheeks touching. Given all the possibility of failing at this challenge, it was actually very satisfying to get it right after a while. You actually wanted to do it once you knew it. Do I remember a single step now? Of course not. Society doesn't dance like this anymore. So use it or lose it and lose it I did. So at weddings I just resort to the usual shuffle of right foot out, right foot in, left foot out, left foot in..all while trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your body. Looking idiotic the entire time.
Oh yea, Amy.
She was in this class along with a girl named Whitney, equally as gorgeous as Amy. There were the shy smiles between us even though we knew each other. Buy knowing someone in a classroom setting is worlds apart from the dance class setting. There is built in anxiety. It's you and 40 other girls! Ten of which you are dying to "go " with.
So there we are in the fourth week of dance class in some very historic looking building in Concord center getting a little less nervous about all this close female presence. The dance instructor calls for a dance. So the guys get up, walk across the seemingly endless dance floor to the row of girl on the other side, and do the usual ritual of saying, "May I have this dance?" to the girl they match up with. So there we are in the fourth week of dance class in some very historic looking building in Concord center getting a little less nervous about all this close female presence. The dance instructor calls for a dance. So the guys get up, walk across the seemingly endless length of the dance floor over to the girl you matched with, and perform the ritual of extending the right hand and asking, "May I have this dance?"
There was this counting strategy that us guys would deploy to anticipate who we would match up with before we actually faced the girl. Not that we had any control over this but it did give us a fictitious level of control in an uncontrollable situation.
So I am counting and suddenly my heart starts to race with the sudden realization that I might pair with Amy. Hurriedly, I again count the guys in front of me and then quickly count how many girls there are before Amy. Furiously calling on all the hours I spent in math class exchanging notes with girls rather then paying attention to the teacher, I suddenly realized the dream of Amy would actually come true. Yes, I was going to be paired with the the gorgeously cute Amy P.
If my heart wasn't three feet in front of me and beating at 200 beats per minute, I don't know where it was. As I approached Amy, she realized that it would be me that had the pleasure of asking her to dance. Luckily for me, she displayed her wide smile instead of some other horrific expression I cared not to imagine. This simple gesture slowed my heart beat by half. Though it was still racing, I thought I might be able to get the words, "May I have this dance?" out before I exploded into a blithering idiot.
Now, I was standing right in front of Amy. She was sitting there in her beautiful dress, required attire of course for this event, looking up at me with the sweetest eyes any guy could hope to have look in his direction. She smiled. I just stood there. I was too taken by her looking at me to actually have any other thought then just to stand there and look back deeply into her eyes.
At this point the guys behind me had already blurted the required words out of their mouths and their dance partners had responded in kind by placing their left hand in the guys right hand and standing up to his request. I thought to myself, "Don't blow this". Say the words. Just say the words. My mind was completely engulfed by the look she was giving me. I could think of nothing else. The moment is still embedded within me. Thank God she finally said, "Don't you want to ask me something?"
Oh thank God! Thank God. she said something. And I blubbered out, "Yes!" "Yes!" "Yes, I want to say you something!" Well, at least I blurted words in English. Again she smiled at me and I was able to finally say, "May I have this dance?" She placed her left hand into the palm of my right hand. It was the softest skin I had ever felt. I gently grasped he hand gently as she stood up and faced me still looking at me with those sweet eyes. I was struck. Struck with a beauty that was all engulfing.
While still staring into her eyes, I did pull myself out of my trance long enough to realize that we were the only couple that was not in position on the dance floor. We were still at the chairs. Our moment was interrupted by the dance instructor who finally said in, of course, the gayest of voices, "Are you two lovebirds going to join us?
While completely embarrassed by this, it also was an incredible relief of the pent up feelings that were broiling within me. We both looked at each and broke out into a loud uncontrolled giggle that can only come from within the young at heart. And young at heart we were.
The two of us were swept onto the dance floor by some waltz I will never forget but whose name I will never remember.
Amy P is within me forever.