Melanie Sheppard.

The Dance

The Dance

There is a belief that when a person dies their soul is split into several parts. These parts are then mixed together with parts of other souls, and become the souls of newborns. It goes on to say that a person’s journey in life is directed by their soul, in search of the pieces that once made it whole. This includes people, commonly known as soul mates.

London was in the midst of a snowstorm leaving many scurrying for shelter. Breaking news warned to stay indoors until further advised.

She took shelter in a bar close by. The bartender poured a glass of wine as she de-frazzled herself and checked her phone. No reception.  “Well,” she said to the bartender, “you may as well leave the bottle, it looks like I’ll be here for a while.”

The bar door lurched open again bringing with it the cold air stream and snow. 

“Now that’s what I call a storm,” an American accent, east coast she suspected. He positioned himself a few stools down from hers ordered a scotch and checked his phone.

“God dammit. Really? No reception?”

She laughed, empathizing with his frustration.

“I’m hearing you,” she said, taking a sip of wine. “It looks like we’re going to have to resort to that ancient form of entertainment.”

“Oh yeah? And what would that be?” he asked.  

“Talking to strangers.”

They both laughed.

The American was handsome but not in the traditional way. He was not overly tall, had silver hair and his skin was red from the sleet. His eyes were blue, happy eyes that seemed to smile from within. His clothes were casual but cool; in fact his whole demeanour was cool. She decided he must be a ‘muso’ of some sort.

“Are you missing anything important tonight?” he asked, pulling her from her thoughts.

“Well yes, you could say that. It’s my daughter’s school play.”

“Shoot, really? That is a major pain in the ass,” he said in his American drool.

“What about you? Are you supposed to be somewhere special?”  

“No, thank God. I just got out of a meeting and was on my way to the hotel when the cab driver stopped the car and told me he couldn’t take me any further because all cabs had to return to the depot. Can you believe it? He just left me there on the side of the road in this storm.”

They laughed again at the obscurity of the situation.

Moving to the stool next to hers, he offered his hand, told her he was John from Boston. He was married to a Bolivian woman, a famous concert pianist, and had a daughter late in their lives. He had studied sanskrit at Harvard University.  

“I guess I had to study something,” he explained after seeing the surprised look on her face. He spent his time between Boston and London for work.

“You must really miss your family with all the travelling you do?” she asked, taking a sip of wine.

John paused unsure of how to respond. “I guess we’re kinda used to it. My wife is away a lot performing and we have a nanny. You could say we're not a conventional family”.

She couldn’t help but notice sadness in his eyes as he spoke.

Those eyes, those beautiful eyes, she was lost in them. Realising she had been staring into them for longer than she should, she blushed and looked away. When she turned back he was still staring at her smiling. She was drawn to him feeling an unfamiliar chemistry.

Hours passed as if minutes and their conversation flowed. They were unaware of their surroundings, entranced in each other as life stories were shared. John was funny, one of those people that laughed at their own jokes because they really were just so damn hilarious. He was also cultured, quoting Rumi or Shakespeare without flinching, and had a deep love for jazz music.  “My Dad played the trumpet in a band and would take me to his rehearsals when I was young. Man, they’re great memories,” he recalled fondly.

John was animated as he spoke, waving his arms around as if to add another dimension to the story.

“I have an idea” he suddenly announced, breaking once again her hypnotic state. He turned to the bartender. “Hey buddy, do your speakers plug into an iPhone?”

Like magic, jazz music surrounded them. She suspected magic happened wherever he went. He jumped from his stool and grabbed her hand,

“Let’s dance.”

It was a sultry, sensual dance as he pulled her close to him. “Just listen to the bass, you should be able to feel it inside you.”

She was feeling lots of things. She felt alive for the first time in years as blood pumped ferociously through every vein. His warm breath coated her neck as his hand pressed firmly on her lower back. She closed her eyes and moved with him, losing herself in the moment. The music finished.  They stood in silence, embraced feeling the beating of each others heart. She never wanted it to end.

The silence was interrupted by the sound of phones buzzing. The snowstorm had passed and there was reception again. They loosened their arms and stood back to look at each other. Her breath was shallow and tears filled her eyes. He held her face in his hands and wiped them away with his thumb. There were no words to be spoken. There was a shared knowing between them.

She took a deep breath and returned to the bar.

“I guess if I rushed I could grab the last of the concert,” she said nervously, throwing her things in her bag. John sat back on his stool and she could feel him looking at her. “It was so great meeting you,” she was too frightened to meet his eyes, afraid that if she did, she would never leave. “I hope you don’t have any troubles finding a taxi back to your hotel”.

Standing upright, coat on and bag on her shoulder she extended her hand to shake his. “Well, John from Boston, I guess this is good bye.”

He took her hand in his, squeezing it firmly.  “The pleasure was all mine,” he responded, his voice soft, barely a whisper. “I hope you get to see the end of that concert.”

Turning to leave, a wave of emotion erupted within her. She opened the heavy steel framed door, paused and turned back. John hadn’t moved, he was watching her walk away, longing etched on his face. They stared at each other for another moment, two souls reunited for the briefest of times.

She left. 

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