september smells like samba

September 20, 2016 - Daily Notes, From the Editor

I am wearing the same dress today, the gray one that hugs my body and drapes to my ankles, the one I shimmied into at 9 o'clock last night after a fast shower and a speed-race with the curling iron.

He shows up with two ice cream sandwiches at 9:09 p.m., carrying an ever-so-faint scent of something nice; the kind you don't notice until you hug a person and bury your face in his neck.

"What kind of music would you like me to put on?" I ask, though my mind is racing through the questions I never asked during our earlier phone conversation; questions I am afraid to ask even though the answers are right here, in my living room, bringing ice cream after a very long work day.

"Samba," he smiles as if we listen to it all the time.

 "Is that like salsa," I query? Fumbling with the Pandora app, I find it.

"Sort of, but it has a different rhythm. Think Brazilian." He winks, and we put the ice cream in the freezer for later.

He starts to dance with me there in my kitchen, barefoot to the latin beat. I follow his seemingly sure steps, and let him lead me into turns. I pause for a moment to go find my black dance shoes because they have suede soles and I can spin better in them. We are laughing.

"Am I doing it right," I ask?

"I don't actually know the steps, but you sure look good," he admits and I melt.

There is a break in the songs and for a moment I feel nervous, fear returns demanding answers to exactly how the future with this man will unfold before taking one more step. Fear wants details, certainty, commitment beyond the limits of necessity and even reality. Fear wants to be safer than safe.

I place my forehead on the chest of a love I have known for ten years and whom I still barely know at all. The depths of another human being become more mysterious the further we go in the direction of intimacy. It can feel terrifying to realize you may never entirely know the one you love. Safety, after all, is only an illusion.

"Can I ask you a question," I whisper? He says yes. "For you, how many days go by before you start to think you really miss me and want to see me again?"

I expect him to say about a week, because with our busy lives--both of us working hard to build something solid (for me, Lucia; for him, a real estate business)--we rarely see each other more than once or twice in a seven day stretch.

He doesn't need to pause or reflect. He is looking me in the eyes and he simply replies, "One, really. I'd like it if I could see you every day."

The music starts again and I soften, and we laugh and say oh, that will sure be nice one day.

Today is Tuesday and I am wearing the same dress. It smells faintly of him, of samba, of ice cream sandwiches and of courage.


Laura Lowery is the founder, editor and publisher of Lucia. She does her best to lead a creative life. Whether triumphant or stumbling, Laura shares daily notes (that are often weekly) here on luciajournal, including stories, behind-the-scenes happenings, little doses of inspiration, and large quantities of curiosity and heart. She is pleased to meet you.

the drive to dance

January 12, 2016 - Daily Notes

Both of my big toes have little bruises. I wouldn't trade them for the world. They come from dancing on Monday nights.

We were born to move. My niece was even dancing in her ultrasound, my sister said. So I guess we do it before we're born, too.

I still miss someone, so last night I took myself back to salsa lessons. Life keeps expanding no matter who shows up or doesn't and we have to keep dancing. It is the only way to live.

This third round of classes (I'm in "2b" now) brings a whole new circle of people, some familiar, others new. We are all learning and what I love most is the diverse experience of dancing with different people each time the instructors say "next partner," and the inner circle shifts clockwise one notch. Everything changes except the music.

Some of the leads I danced with last night were really good. Others are still learning basics. One could barely keep time to four beats in a row, let alone eight. I absolutely loved dancing with him, though, because he smiled the entire time. I smiled back. He was being brave. He was taking "2b" after only having one salsa lesson ever in his life. The drive to dance is strong.

I stayed after class to practice with a new friend who asked me. My toes were starting to feel the pressure of having danced for an hour in barely-broken-in shoes, but I told him "I'll stay for 30 minutes" and he agreed. We practiced the moves we'd just learned. Over and over he would twirl me in close, then lead me into an outside turn, then we'd do a move our instructors call "Macarena Muffintop." You sort of do the Macarena, then the follow (that's me) stands behind the lead and puts her hands on his waist for a few steps, holding on tight before the lead pulls her back out in front of him for a turn. "Muffintop is the shape our waists make after the holidays," the instructor explained. Everyone laughed. 

It is Tuesday now and my toes are tender. Rubbing them gently with arnica and sesame oil, I closed my eyes and felt my heart beat. A small sigh escaped my chest, content that for this moment, I am living fully. I am learning to dance.