This was written in response to a Writer's Workshop prompt, issued by Kathy over at Mama's Losin' It...
It’s that time again! Kathy over at Mama's Losin' It has assigned her weekly writing prompts... I chose, I would walk a mile for…
A mile’s not very far, is it? I walk/wheeze a bunch of them every day… sometimes as many as 6… sometimes (like this week, when I’ve been feeling run-down) only 1 or 2. So I guess, since it seems a fairly insignificant distance, I’d walk a mile for just about anything.
As such, I’m going to change the prompt to this:
I would walk 1,000 miles for…
Now that’s more like it, don’t you think? A thousand miles… that’s a crapload. That would take effort… time… heart… commitment… really good shoes. Am I right? Yes, I am.
So… I’d walk 1,000 miles for… a dance. Yup… just one dance.
You see, when I was little, I used to stand on my dad’s feet and he’d dance me all around the living room to Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett or big band music. I can see us in my mind’s eye perfectly… arms outstretched, my little hands in his big ones, struggling to keep my balance, both of us laughing. When we danced, I felt special and loved. And I was. I was his girl. He was my hero.
I didn’t inherit my dad’s skills on the dance floor, however. It became painfully clear as I got older that I have no internal rhythm. My brother, who is completely deaf, moves better than I do. It’s sad, really. I couldn’t even take aerobics classes, as I couldn’t sort out the moves properly. When the instructor went one way, I invariably went the other, which caused me to bump into other students. Often. (They didn’t actually ask me not to come back… but they were thinking it, I know.) No rhythm, I tell you. So dancing is not something I do. Ever. And though I’m certainly not above making a fool of myself (and I do so with alarming regularity), I simply cannot bring myself to be that much of a fool.
All that being said, I did muddle through the father/daughter dance at my wedding. It’s tradition, after all. But my dad teased and laughed at me and how awkward I was. I (lovingly) told him to shut up… and then I stepped on his foot… again. So when he asked me to dance with him at another family wedding a few years later, I said no. He asked again. Again I refused. I wish I’d known that would be my last chance.
When my dad was very sick, with no chance of recovery, I saw the movie Hope Floats. There was a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character visits her father, who has Alzheimer’s, in his nursing home. He recognizes her briefly and holds his arms out, asking for a dance. She flashes back to when she’s a child, dancing on her daddy’s feet, just like I did… just like so many little girls do. At that very moment, as I sat there sobbing in the dark movie theatre, I realized I would never dance with my dad again. And my heart broke.
So, yes, I’d absolutely walk 1,000 (or 2,000… or 10,000) miles for one just dance. I’d forget that I have no rhythm… I’d ignore my lack of grace… I’d put my hands in his... I'd rest my head on his shoulder… and I’d dance with my daddy.