Her First Dance

 Content in Adolescence

Clarity in Adolescence

She is sitting quietly with her lanky legs tucked pretzel-like under her thighs.  She feels strangely alive, under a shade tree, waiting.  She knows not what she is waiting for but understands this pivotal moment is no respecter of time.

She is by herself but far from lonely.  She has made a necklace of buttercups and has un-ashamedly rocked and cuddled her doll.   She used to like to play Barbie, but this past Christmas had inexplicably asked for a doll that looked like a real baby.  She couldn’t share this with her best friend, for friends readily mock such childish playthings and have rapidly moved on to make-up, boys and push-up bras.

She sometimes wishes for a return to the days when she would spend the night with her friend and stay up late playing the ukulele and singing at the top of her lungs. It’s an unspoken, un-cool thing to do now, the ukulele succumbing to the stereo’s vinyl voices crying passionately for freedom and change.  Keeping up with this new world of rock music is confusing and causes anxiety, for she fears being laughed at should she like the wrong musician.

Instinctively, she stands up and stretches, reaching towards the heavens. She gazes upwards and whispers,” sky”, an image that she has never managed to reproduce with any or all of the colors in her deluxe box of Crayolas.  And there are clouds. Clouds that beckon her to play with ducks and rabbits or wander on sailing ships, airplanes and smoke from genie bottles.

She is aware of her body and the slight sour smell of her skin, fragrant from being outside most of the day.  She comes out from the shade and into the heat and she basks.  She loves how the sun feels.  It touches her all over and changes her.  “Sensual”, she thinks.

Suddenly, she laughs.  With her arms fully extended, and palms lifted upward she twirls, spinning slowly around in the wide open field. Her dance takes form, a dance peculiarly hers, and she owns it.   Her khaki shorts and sleeveless top turn into a red strap-less dress with  flowing skirt that opens  as she spins.  She is on tip toe and her hair is long and dark and splayed out, gently whipping the sides of her face.

Not unlike Goldilocks, trying out a stranger’s bed, she finds comfort.  Not too hard and not too soft.  This fits her and she would like to lie down and sleep.  She sees the blurry green leaves of the trees in the distance and the yellow dots of the flowers on the ground.  The music is coming up from the earth, beating exquisitely within her.  She considers that she is the only person who can hear this music.   She feels remarkably wild, free and  connected.  She wants to take it all within her and hold on.

But eventually,  she  tires.  Eventually, her dance slows and stops.  Breathless, she moves back into the shelter of the tree and wonders if life will ever be this clear again.  She is neither happy nor sad.  She is at peace.  She knows that she is exactly where she should be and that the person she is now is the perfect prelude to her future self.  She is aware that this moment is hers alone and a gift to and from her God.  She sits upon the ground breathing deeply with her arms hugging her calves and her cheek resting on her knees, and she waits.


25 thoughts on “Her First Dance

  1. Kim

    This is my first comment on a blog. I’m so impressed with you as a writer. What is your perspective when you write? Do you have to think about your subject, or does it just come to you?

    1. Thank you for your very kind words. To answer your question – I get an idea that doesn’t come to life until I start to put it down. Then it seems to take on a life of it’s own. That being said, sometimes it just flows and sometimes I have to work at it. I am so happy that you like “Her First Dance”. I went back and forth on whether or not it should be called “Her Last Dance”.

  2. Sherry Holmes

    Thanks Gwen for taking me back to my childhood and all the thoughts that go through a mind of a young girl. I love this. You are great! Miss you.

  3. Absolutely beautiful… this captures a very precious time in a young woman’s life, on the verge… it reminds me of an old Taoist saying…”The ancient sages were…. like ice on the verge of melting.” You let the reader feel everything the girl felt; excellent writing and insight…. thanks for this… I’ll be back, as I’ll be following your blog now….more, please?….

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