The Wheel Turns.
One never knows how accurate any particular phrase would be in one's life. But this phrase was sharply accurate for mine three years ago. I was 18, and so innocent, I was just getting comfortable with swearing. Not that those two things really have anything to do with each other. That's just how I was.
I went to the best Halloween dance that I have ever been to.
It was a masquerade , which automatically makes it awesome, because I freaking love to decorate things. I'm a crafty little person. As soon as I knew about this dance, I started decorating my mask.
So I decided that I was going to be a princess. Mostly because I had started dating a guy a week or two earlier and he was taking me to the dance. I was deeply in like and wanted to wear my most beautiful dress.
So my date shows up, dressed as Westly from the Princess Bride. In a different, sadder story, I might go into the part in the near future where this person cheats on me two days after my godfather died of cancer and about half a week before I find out that my aunt had also been diagnosed with cancer. That was not a good week for my emotions. But this is about the awesome dance.
I'm a bit nervous, this being the first dance that I've ever had a date to, and so do the mental checklist of my appearance as the traditional counter to nerves.
Favorite dress: Sky blue floor length perfectly-princess-like-corset-bodice-thing? Check.
New shoes: Break-my-neck-heels but easily taken off for dancing? Check.
Tiara: purchased not more than three days ago and looking awesome? Check.
Mask: painstakingly decorated with small rhinestones accenting the eyes, and a flowering vine pattern painted along the cheek in blue and silver? Check.
Hair: Actually behaving for once in mad curls past my shoulders and only minor frizz.
All in all, I'm feeling pretty darn beautiful.
We head to the college where this dance is taking place, and head in. The dance floor is lit solely by flashy colored lights and the classic strobe. Dance and techno music is pulsing through everything so loud you could hardly hear yourself scream. My date is not a dancer, and so hangs back to "talk" to friends he sees, and I make my way to the dance floor. I love to dance, and so immerse myself in lights, music and movement. If I'm honest, I prefer classic ballroom dancing, but I like modern dancing almost as much.
After a while, everyone drifts off the dance floor and the music quiets. Everyone is now "talking" as much as anyone can talk at these things, drinking some water or pop and snacking on some of the food.
I take this opportunity to check on my date, who is still talking with people I don't know. I don't exactly want to push into a conversation I really have no place in, so I opt to talk to one of the people who had been dancing near me. This goes on for about ten or twenty minutes and I find myself starting to get antsy. The music goes back to its pulsing volume, yet no one returns to the dance floor. I look around, waiting for someone or something to instigate the dancing.
The person next to me makes some comment on the music just as it changes to one of my favorite songs.
"I love this song!" I shout to my companion over the music. Getting caught up in the general excitement of the evening and my anxiousness to continue dancing I shout to him. "If one more awesome thing happens in the next ten seconds, I will cartwheel onto the dance floor!" I'm not sure why I said that. I just knew that someone had to start the ball rolling, and that there was no way I could just walk on to the floor and start to dance. I wasn't quite that confident. One might ask "And a cartwheel is easier?" Yes, it is easier. When one knows an entrance must be made, one must play to one's strengths. Modern dancing isn't exactly my expertise, but years of past gymnastics lessons gives me a decent ability to cartwheel. At this point, I'm just glad I'm not wearing a tight movement-hampering dress.
No more than five seconds later, the strobe lights turn back on, as they had been turned off while everyone was chatting and eating.
A woman of my word, I laugh and take off my tiara. My ridiculous princess shoes had been tucked away when I first started dancing. Not that anyone could tell, as I was in my floor length ball gown. Setting the tiara aside where it wouldn't be stolen, I take a few starting steps and launch myself into the cartwheel. The instant my feet touch the floor, I start to dance, using the momentum of the cartwheel to give me a little extra "oomph".
The applause almost stops me in surprise, but I continue as the dancers return to the floor.
I felt beautiful, graceful, energetic and strong. It was a perfectly wonderful evening.
The Wheel turns.
In little less than a week, my heart would be broken three times over by loss, betrayal and fear.
Even so, I am grateful I had that evening of strength and energy before the heartbreak.
If I were to relive that evening with all that I would know in the coming years. After heartbreak, betrayal, fear, loss, joy, lust, pride, humility, contentment, love and waiting.
I would not cartwheel onto the dance floor.
I would back-flip.