A Love Story

Some people say love is supposed to bring out the best in people. If love is the purest good then maybe lust is somewhere on the opposite side of the spectrum. Love is long-term, lust is short-term; love will bring you up, lust will drag you down; love grows, lust fizzles. One thing that they both have in common is that no one can tell you the difference while you’re living it. You have to be able to figure out when you’re knee deep in one or the other.
Swallow this cliche. I fell in love with dance. But I didn’t know it was love at first. The world wanted me to think otherwise. Dance is great to hang out with and maybe date for a little while but in my life Engineering was the polite, nice church girl that I could introduce to my parents and create a life with. Everyone was happy when dancing was my hobby, but people were ready to throw parties and raise their glasses when I said I was ready to take on a real career for normal people.
I met dance in highschool. She was exotic, lively, and unattainable. The stereotypical highschool crush. I treated her as such. We flirted but never came closer than arms length. My senior year I created a dance with two of my best friends. It was an ode to the King of Pop: Michael Jackson. We stole a bunch of choreography from his most recent DVD, switched out the harder parts, and improvised a lot. It was probably terrible (I’ve never seen the performance) but we had the most amazing time. We were on stage making movement together. I guess you would call that night my first kiss.
In college I wanted to try new things. I joined the school dance team as a special guest performer but stayed on for all the wrong reasons. I was a single guy trying to make conversation with pretty girls and I was using dance as my icebreaker. Something happened though. Even after the performances finished and the audiences left, I still wanted to keep moving. I started taking on jazz, a completely alien language to me, and despite how bad I was at it, I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to get better and learn new things. At this point I could no longer ignore dance’s allure. She was more than just a pretty face. The more I got to know her, the more beautiful she became inside and out. I was totally infatuated. I tried to introduce her to my parents. I remember being so proud to finally bring her home (I made a compilation DVD), only to be told that it was so great that I had a nice hobby but that I shouldn’t let her get in the way of my studies. Dance was a great girl but I needed to be mindful of college lust. She was never meant for me, is what I was told. So we kept on seeing each other in secret, never knowing that love was sneaking up on us all along.
I specifically remember the day I made an epiphany about dancing during one of my last semesters in tech college. It was the fall and early enough in the school year that I was doing well in my classes because I hadn’t lost too much interest. I had some sort of advanced thermodynamics course to attend in the afternoon. I walked to class with my headphones on, listening to an eclectic mix of mp3 genres on my player’s random setting. Each song was more inspiring than the one before and I was being haunted by visions of unfinished choreography. Dancers leaping across the stage or spinning madly on their hands, sometimes at the same time. It must have been the shortest walk to my classroom that I had ever had because I didn’t want to stop daydreaming about it. I walked into class and left one headphone in my ear. I tried to pay attention, I really did. My head was swimming with timeless currents of fluid movement ranging from the classical to the radically daredevil. Finally, I put my pencil down and made a choice. I chose dance.
I still didn’t know it at the time but I had fallen in love with dance. She was everything I didn’t even know that I wanted and she would be everything I would ever need. After leaving tech college, that love would bring out the best in me. I would continue to break my back (and other appendages over the course of the years) just to get a little better. There was no need to impress anyone or try to achieve something that everyone else wanted from dance. I knew I wasn’t a ballerino or a classical jazz dancer or even a true bboy. I was just me coming out of dance. Every achievement that I made and continue to make in dance stays with me because I need it. I’m the only person I need to impress.
Dance and I have been together for almost a decade now and yet we have never been closer. We grow together everyday and continue to find out new things about each other. Some people will tell you they think they love dance too. I hope they do. Some people just use her to break the ice or get attention. Or maybe dance was the person that someone else said would be the love of your life. I hope that is not the case. Dance is a wonderful girl and she deserves the best. You might get caught up in the lust; I admit that she can be such a temptress. But if you truly love her, you’ll find a way to get to her on your own terms.

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