“Step, step, slide. Step, step, slide.” The teacher’s voice drowns out the beating of my heart. It’s our first dance lesson, the first of many. We’re getting ready for our First Dance. You know, the first dance as a married couple. We’ve selected a song, we’ve picked a dance teacher, now all that’s left is for me to learn how to dance. Yeah, all that’s left.
“Sorry,” I mumble. The only dancing I’ve ever done was with my mother in the kitchen. We rock-n-rolled to all the oldies on the radio, taking turns leading. Apparently that doesn’t count as experience here.
“Step, step, slide.” I stumble through the steps.
“Stop looking at your feet. It’ll be easier.” I take a deep breath and look up at M’s face. He smiles down at me and winks. I smile back and feel myself relax. “Step, step, slide.”
For weeks we spend every Monday evening in the instructor’s private dance studio, and by the time our wedding rolled around I was ready. I still couldn’t really dance, but I knew enough to save myself from disgrace on the big day. We had a choreography that we knew backwards and forwards and I felt pretty confident that I could pull it off. I still had a little tendency to try to lead, but M had been taught how to reign me in.
The big day dawned bright and hot. By the time the guests were called to the guest floor everyone was desperate to hide from the heat in the cool ballroom, so when M lead me onto the dance floor the space that we had been told we would have was reduced by about half. Guests circled the hardwood floor, all their beaming faces watched us, waiting for the dancing to begin. Wine, heat, or maybe stage fright pushed all dance and choreography knowledge from my brain. But it didn’t matter in the least.
My new husband pulled me close to him and whispered in my ear “follow my lead.” I melted into his arms and he whirled me and twirled me around the floor over and over again. There were steps, dips, skips, and everything else we’d learned, but all I remember are his strong arms, his sure step, and his gorgeous blue eyes gazing into mine all the way around. And right there and then I knew that I had made the right choice. After all, what could be better than a sweet kind man who lets me lead whenever I want, but who knows to take charge when I need him to be strong for me?