No one dances anymore.
Yesterday I spent my afternoon doing a Renaissance Faire at a beautiful nursing home in Harrisburg. It was open to the public as a fund raiser, but at some point througout the day, the residents were brought out onto the sprawling grounds to participate. As we were about to start teaching the Renaissance dances, I asked the gentleman with whom I had been speaking if he wanted to join us.
"No, no. My dancing days are over. My wife passed away two years ago, and we used to dance all the time. We were married for 62 years, so I think I've had my fair share of dances."
He talked to me for awhile about his wife, and how they'd moved into the nursing home when she fell ill, selling their house and belongings to afford it.
It reminded me of an instance a few weeks ago when I went out with some friends to listen to a blues singer. During her set, a couple in their mid-eighties stood up and began to dance. They moved so rhythmically, and were so synchronized, and it was one of the most beautiful things I'd seen in a long time. My friend leaned over and whispered, "How long do you think they've been dancing like that?"
I had tears in my eyes. "Forever," I replied.
I used to be so scared of falling in love and being in a relationship, because I thought it meant that I'd have to sacrifice part of myself, and give up my freedom. And then later I thought it was about waiting for a feeling where your heart would pound in anticipation of seeing that other person again. You know...being swept away. But I honestly think it's a whole lot more simple than that.
It's about being 80 years old, and having someone to dance with.