By Krista Bunskoek
Gillian was turning 30 this year. She had a few items left on her list before the ominous turning of her decade.
The daunting one which never went right was to find Mr. Right.
So she made a list for her list of how to find this elusive soul mate. She had systematically gone through her plan. None had given her the results she wanted to achieve.
She was now down to number 10. The last on her list. If this did not work, she knew she would be a spinster for life.
This was ok, as she was succeeding in her career path. But she yearned for the romance. Her heart, she felt, was full of passion. Why could she never seem to share this with a man?
Number 10 on the list: ballroom dance lessons.
Well, here she was - standing on the makeshift dance floor of an old school gym. This was her last hope at making her desires of the heart come true.
Other students were arriving, many in couples. Some arrived together in a foursome or more.
Her heart filled with dismay. Perhaps this was not a good idea. What was she thinking - taking a ballroom dance class in the hopes of meeting a man? What kind of Cinderella fairy tale was she trying to live out?
The dance instructors arrived. Even they were a twosome. Her heart sank a little more.
"Is everyone paired up?" clapped the male dance teacher. "We are doing the Tango tonight. American Style."
She looked squeamishly towards the floor. She had no pair. Was she searching too hard for her own Prince Charming?
Someone approached her from behind.
"Excuse me. Do you have a partner tonight?" asked a confident, rugged voice.
She turned, to find a most handsome, well chiseled face speaking to her.
"No" she managed to say.
They coupled up. Clearly having been to dance lessons before, he placed her arm confidently on his arm and shoulder, tango style. She shuddered slightly at his gentle touch; his arms were so strong and muscular.
"Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow" sung the dance teacher.
They began - his leg making a long slow forward glide, directing her leg in a backward direction.
With the touch of his limbs, she felt a sensation in her body she had not felt in a very long time. It was wonderful.
They kept practicing the steps, over and over.
The instructors started the music. "Tango De Amor" they said.
His grip tightened. He held her firm as they swung into the taut tempo of the music. She felt secure and safe.
As they swept through the gym floor, she was entranced by the faint smell of his aftershave. It reminded her of a beach somewhere. She determined it was a far away romantic beach in the south of France.
She wanted nothing more than the music - and the man - to carry her away.
Charmed by the fantasy of it all, and her resolve to make it happen, she knew this was it. He was her prince. She achieved success.
And he could ballroom dance - Tango to boot!
When the music stopped, she was awed with the beauty of this man. His dark hair, tanned complexion and brilliantly outstanding blue eyes.
They spoke for a while, the man thanking her for being his partner.
She said she hoped to see him at the next class.
"Yes," the man said, "and perhaps my wife will be feeling better by then."
Crushed. Destroyed. Mortified.
Gillian ran from the building, tearing up her list for her list, throwing the pieces like wedding confetti into the stormy night.
Weeks passed. The devastation still stung like a poisoned cherub arrow.
She would be 30 the day after tomorrow. Would she be confined to the life of a nunnery, with her to-do lists her only sanctuary?
The thought of her shredded list of list for love haunted her. She had nothing now. No plan. No agenda. No man.
Wallowing in sorrow, and facing the very real prospects of being a lost lone soul for eternity, she stood in line at her favorite coffee shop.
The man in front of her had dark hair. He ordered with a confident, rugged voice.
It couldn't be.
Their eyes caught momentarily. A glimmer of confidence and strange assuredness came over her.
This was not on her list of things to do today.
Could she do this? How could she do this? She had meetings and agenda items. She had no time for this today.
That odd calmness persisted, egging her on.
She smiled and said hello.
Then asked "I know this may sound odd, but," she took a deep breath, and somehow the vision of herself again ripping up her list for love bolted through her mind, "Do you dance?"
"No," he said, then paused and added, "But I've always wanted to learn the Tango."
- - -
New to flash fiction, but not to love, Krista has also appeared in 365 tomorrows. She is currently taking time off from the daily love for lists.