Blind-Sided … Part 2

Ellen Barkin

Would you dance with me?

She asked, an almost pleading look in her eye as they meet mine waiting on a response. I studied her face as I took a moment to consider …

Would you dance with me .. not will you dance with me .. not hello, how are you?

This tall good looking red-headed woman stands before me, she’s elegantly dressed, trendy but tasteful and 15 years younger than I am.

Internally I’m asking, why is she asking me to dance and I’m looking around for her pals in case they are having a laugh at my expense.

But I shake that off, why would they?

Are my internal self-esteem inadequacies really visible to the outside world?

Not really, I’ve never been a shrinking violet and more likely to be in the centre of things than a wall-flower .. but it doesn’t mean that I’m not self-conscious and my own worst critic.

I think most intelligent people are the same .. we know our own faults and failings, there’s nothing anyone can tell us , no insult they can give that we haven’t heard from our inner critic already.

But excuse me … I’ve got a girl waiting on me.

Of course I’d love to dance with you .. and I smile at her, hoping that there’s no punch-line.

I let her start leading the way raising an eyebrow at Alex as I walk away.

Why is it always you .. he says, like he has said on many occasions.

Well okay on at least half a dozen previous occasions when we’ve been standing around a bar ogling the women and it’s me that they come and ask to dance.

The irony being that in my head and probably in his, he’s better looking me.

I’m serious .. he’s better looking than me .. maybe it’s because he has all the right bits just not in all the right places?

Tall, dark and handsome?

He wins on the dark and handsome .. I’m slightly taller not that either of us will make the basketball team.

But its my smile that’s a winner,  I have a smiley face,  my bosses often think I’m taking the piss because I’m smiling, but I’m just a really just happy with life and don’t take it too serious.

I think that’s what used to piss my old bosses off was that even when the pressure is on and work is shit,  I don’t care enough to let it affect me,  it’s a job,  it’s not life.

I love a bit of pressure,  it gives me a buzz and I work better to a deadline ,  I’m professional but I don’t get stressed.

As we walk to the dance-floor, I check out her figure,  she’s shapely, not small,  proportionate for a tall girl realising that she’s an inch or so taller than I am in those heels.

Not that I’m in heels ..

She’s the one in the heels .. But you know what I mean.

After a few steps, I notice that she has a slight problem moving,   I guess that’s the source of that “things not fitting right” comment.

But she’s obviously up for a dance.

We get to the floor and I put my hands on her shoulder directing her to a gap in the crowd and  realising that she’s actually taller than I thought. Probably taller than me without her heels too.

But what difference does that make?

None for me.  I like tall girls, small girls,  slim girls, shapely girls ..

What matters is her personality and the overall package.

Besides its just a dance,  you’re being a bit presumptions there don’t you think?

She turns and starts moving,  that stupid sideways shuffle from foot to foot that people call dancing which isn’t really dancing at all.

I join in .. Because that’s what you do and it would be rude not to!

What happened to your leg? … I ask.   The most obvious opening gambit in the world ..  I’ve never been good at subtlety of chat up lines.

Don’t ask .. she replies adding that .. It should be back to normal in a few weeks.

But I am asking .. I held her eye for a moment intent on getting the reason she’s limping so badly.

It was my ex-husband a few weeks ago that’s why he’s an ex .. and she blushes, probably embarrassed about the situation although there’s a determined look in her face,  a righteousness that is giving her strength.

Oh! …  And in my head I’m asking myself should I persue this,  it’s hardly a fun subject, not likely to raise a smile. … If you want to talk about it then I’m happy to listen?

Maybe later .. and she puts her arms on my shoulders our eyes locked.

And yes I’m looking up into her eyes which feels slightly weird in a role reversal kinda way

Do you remember those old movies,  were the girls would be standing around waiting on the men to ask them to dance?

It wasn’t like that at all!

The song finishes and we stand for a moment as the next one rolls on,   It’s that moment of truth were if there’s an interest then you continue and if there’s not you walk.

Neither of us are walking.

I glance over towards Alex who’s looking at his watch.

I mean really?   For fucks sake!

Who needs a wing-man like that,  one dance and he’s counting,  it was different when he wasn’t married.
Although I get his point,  who wants to go out and sit on their lonesome in a bar?

But that’s a two-sided sword and he can’t really complain when half the night he’s outside in smokers corner leaving me standing on my jack jones.

I put a hand up, 5 minutes and indicate for him to get the drinks in.

What’s you’re name? I ask.  Aware that time is limited ..

She’s obviously aware that time is limited too as she kisses me full on the mouth.

5am and wide awake .. Knowing I should be sleeping but sometimes you just wake up during the night and can’t switch off.

Guess what’s on my mind,  that’s keeping me awake at this time of night?

What stresses are taking their toll and stealing from my sleep time?

Absolutely none.

Life is good, could be better,  but I’m a happy boy.

Last night, my younger daughter and I went for dinner to the local pub.

The thing about going to the pub rather than me or her making dinner is that it forces us to be in each other’s company longer than the usual 5 minutes then she disappears back to her room.

So she’s telling me about David, the boy she’s started seeing.

Last week she tried slipping it in under the radar when she was out for a date in Valentine’s as if her old dad wouldn’t notice.

So David is 21 and studying art,  they met in a club.

She’s 18 and a bright, intelligent girl who has blossomed into a beautiful young woman.   She’s studying hard st Strathclyde business school.

I’m very proud of her as I am of my other two kids who have flown the nest.

Here’s the dilemma,  as a dad you want to know your baby is safe and careful and no guy is messing her about.

But you’ve got to let her fly,  if you don’t then she’ll resent it and fly anyway.

My job is to make sure she has the strength of character and the tools not to let anyone mess her around.

I think she’ll be fine.

Should I add .. Woe betide this guy David if he messes her around?

No,  because in reality it doesn’t work like that and any dad who thinks that he’ll be messing in his daughters business is kidding himself on.

Time to get the kettle on!

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