Blaming Nancy

I’m not blaming Nancy. It’s tempting, but I won’t. To blame her would be to poison the air. It would be not so much to poison the air as to blow my cover. May no one’s cover be blown tonight. May the air we breathe remain fresh and ample.

I’m not dancing with Nancy. It’s tempting, if for no other reason than to mirror someone good at letting go. I’ve always wanted to be better at letting go, but to dance with Nancy would blow my cover and lead people to think I was mocking her. This is not the night for imitating a wild nature. I must never mock Nancy for her wildness. One may or may not fall in love with Nancy, but one mustn’t be seen to mock her.

I am not playing the blame game or doing a blame dance with Nancy. I will dance near her. Everyone dances near everyone in intimate clubs. This club falls somewhere between intimate and dispersed, as  it is less a club and more a dance hall lit like a club. It is dispersed enough for me to spin self-consciously in Nancy’s general vicinity without her taking me for anyone other than a relative stranger. I will incorporate a number of generic spin-moves into a dance style some dub dull and others dub idiosyncratic, making Nancy but one of say thirty people I spot with each rotation. My gaze will sweep the dance floor like a searchlight with no incentive to shine a light on any one person. This is of course nonchalance deconstructed. I could spare myself such details if they didn’t help me piece together a sad story about where on the spectrum of knowing someone I land with Nancy.

I will not rest with Nancy after hours of vigorous dancing, but I will rest when she rests and close my eyes for a moment to thank God I am able-bodied. I will rest on my own and once rested I will rise. In the time span of a breath, I will look at Nancy one last time and take a mental snapshot of her as I turn and walk away. I will greet the temptation to look back at her with the picture in my mind. Because it is realistic and unromantic, and because it captures her looking happy, she might not mind my having it.

On my way home, I will not contemplate Nancy in any other way than one contemplates the unknowable life of a person just being. ‘I saw her,’ I will tell her brother Mel, and I will collect my fifty dollars. ‘She’s dancing the night away as we speak. In my informed opinion, she will return home tired and without blame, and she will appear, I suspect, well rested.’