Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

A hand resting on a shoulder. A universe in a gesture.

It was a weekend of moments, happy frozen instants in time that I can ponder all
the week. The moments themselves are pedestrian in their literal description.
If I tell you about any one of them I risk your incomprehension that I could draw
such significance from them. But I so enjoy the reminiscing that I happily accept
that risk.

Let me tell you about a moment on Sunday night.

On Sunday evenings I am a regular at Lee's Liquor Lounge, a dive bar in the
shadow of the back of the Target Center on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. This is
the current weekly home of gay/lesbian two-stepping in the Twin Cities. Lee's Liquor
Lounge has become, for me, the equivalent of a gay pub, something I have been searching
out my whole adult life. I can sit around and drink beer and chat and flirt with the
regulars, getting up to dance as the mood suits me. When I head home, it feels as if
I've been to a party, not a gay bar. If I miss even one week, several people will tell
me how nice it is to see me back again when I return.

Most of the people I see on Sunday nights I see only on Sunday nights (and at
the occasional Saturday night dance), although I'm starting to make small stabs
at other sorts of socializing. Still, in time I've come to feel very friendly with
many of the men and women there, and I could tell you an awful lot about their lives
and histories.

Among the people I spend time with every week are Scott and Jerry, who take up
their seats at a regular table on the far side of the bar. I almost always dance
with Scott at one point during the evening, during which we chat about our weeks.
Part of the weekly ritual is that Scott will point at me, on his or my arrival, and
say "Save a dance for me tonight" (this even though I rarely dance more than one out
of four songs). He always asks about trips I've taken, or about what's happening
with my Morris dance team, or about shape-note singing. When we get onto the
dance floor, Scott usually holds out his arms in the follow position, although he
himself is a fine leader while my leading tends to be foursquare, without fancy

Scott is a sweet and handsome man.

This week there was a general excitement in the air, enough that it was a subject
of conversation. The consensus was that this was because it was the first cold Sunday
of the year, the first dark night after daylight savings time ended, so people were
drawn to the light and warmth of the bar. I don't know, I think it's more random than

About an hour after my arrival a song started up with a solid swing tempo, the
sort of song I prefer to dance to. I was completely across the bar from Scott
but I looked over for him and there he was looking over for me. He gestured for me
to come over and I was at his side. I said that I'd like him to lead this time and
we were off. We started to talk for a bit, but not for long because something
seemed to descend upon us, some joyful dancing energy. We both of us fell silent and
fell into the music and the dance.

As I gave myself to the dance and to Scott's lead, I felt something electric, something
sensual, in the feel of my left hand on his upper arm. As I say, I dance with Scott
every week, sometimes for a solid waltz, but this felt different. Scott grabbed me
closer to him, body touching body, and whirled me around the corner as if we were one.
"It's like a Tilt-a-Whirl tonight" I said. "I love the Tilt-a-Whirl", he replied.
Those were the last words we exchanged for the rest of the dance. I let my hands go
light, my left hand barely landing on Scott's shoulder while my right hand floated,
cradled in his left palm. So we remained until the song ended.

That was nice, I told him. It was great, he agreed.

Right now I can close my eyes and remember the feeling in that dance. A great big
cheek-stretching smile crosses my face.
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