Occasionally, I may write some short stories and post them on here. Got to keep my creative writing degree free of dust! Here’s my first attempt.
“Sometimes I think you dance up there without anyone knowing.”
Boy, was that a statement that both anyone would want to hear and also hate to respond to at the same time. The act of dancing, solo, is one that shouldn’t have to be explained or even talked about with anyone else. And yet. Here we were, him talking about it and waiting for me to respond.
Finally, not having the wherewithal to come up with a lie, I told him the truth. That yes, I had been dancing alone some nights up here in the attic, turning on Pandora and letting everything go for a few moments. Sometimes it was 20 minutes, other times, 70. But either way, it felt good to dance up here in this sweaty attic, among the cardboard boxes marked “WINTER CLOTHS” and “CHRISTMAS? ETC?” without anyone judging me or asking what I’m doing.
His response to my admission of solo attic dancing? A shrug, a look of furrowed confusion across his brow, and turning around to finish folding the laundry. Apparently once-in-a-lifetime confessions didn’t mean much when it was just dancing in the inhabitable floor of our house.
I took this shrug to mean that I could still continue the dancing, unobserved and unobstructed from judgement, even though he would know I wasn’t “looking for something” or “getting out my old coat” the next time I was up there. I tried to push that thought to the back of my mind and tell myself, “it’s fine, he won’t bother me,” but I was worried I’d catch him peeping on me sometime, for a laugh or just out of curiosity.
A few months passed until I was ready to go back up to the attic again. I had slowly began making improvements to the dancing environment the attic offered, by lying down some wood for a small dance floor and a fan that kept it just sticky instead of sweltering during the humid Kansas summers. I also had my sleek black bluetooth speaker, which provided some good acoustics, whether I was swaying my hips to classic rock or gyrating to 2Chainz.
I figured he had the attic out of his mind, as most men do when they have their questions answered, so after a few successful dancing adventures, I resumed my twice-weekly trek up the attic ladder up to my small space, which I was also slowly organizing to make more room, for more dancing. I still had to bend over to reach the sides, but in the center of the room, I could stand up quite comfortably. I brought up a floor pillow and a blanket in case I need to rest or catch my breath after a session, their colorful geometric and floral designs brightening up the small space, almost making it more welcoming. I also hung some battery-operated string lights around the top of the side walls, which looked a little hokey, but provided good ambiance when it came to a session with KC & The Sunshine Band and CCR.
I had come up here to get away from everything and for once, not be worried if I was moving right or had it all together all the time, which was something I struggled with in my quest as a perfectionist. Before I had to confess my secret, it was something I could jump in completely without feeling like I had to compete or make it something better.
One day, after a particularly trying week, I drove home, thinking about the attic. I really need some time up there, I thought to myself.
He and I had been fighting about small things, the things that after a month or so seem so silly, but at the time, you’d fight to the death to be right about. We were just taking our stress out on each other and this time would pass, like others had before it. At least, I hoped that’s all it was.
His car was in the garage, but when I walked into the kitchen and put my bag down, he wasn’t around. I called out and didn’t hear him, so I figured he had gone for a run.
Good, he won’t know I was up there, I thought. I still liked keeping it a secret, even though he knew.
I took my work clothes off, put on an old, pilled t-shirt and sweats that had bleach stains on them (but, as I’m sure you have your own bleach sweats, were my favorites, so they’d had to disintegrate before I’d let them go), and climbed up the ladder.
As I climbed the ladder, I could hear some soft music playing coming from the attic. Was that B.B. King?
I knew I hadn’t left my speaker on, and even if I had, it would have run out of battery by now. Now, it was my turn for my brow to be furrowed.
As I peeked my head in through the opening of the attic, I saw him.
Swaying his hips to Hummingbird.
He didn’t know I was there yet. Tears filled my eyes as I saw him enjoying the attic as much as I did; totally enraptured in the experience of letting yourself listen to every note and nuance of a great song.
Just then, he heard the cracked wood creak from my shifting weight and twisted around. I panicked, thinking he would be embarrassed, which is the last thing I ever wanted anyone to feel in the attic.
Instead, he smiled softly, reached out to take my hand to help me up. He pulled me close and we began dancing slowly in tandem, his arm sitting on my low back.
I knew two things then:
1) The attic was safe. and
2) B.B. King cures everything.
Image via Pixabay.
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