Dinner with Peggy
She's always been a dancer. I still remember when she was 7, when she donned my pointe shoes for the first time. Dainty slender fingers pressed again the wall in my family's foyer and another hand outstretched but not touching mine. I was ready to grab her in case she'd topple over, but she never did. In fact she balanced quite well executing some painful bourrees clobbering in time against the tile floor. She'd dance continuously through college, easily surpassing my skill level when she turned 10 or so, eventually becoming a company level dancer.
We kept in touch when I went off to college. I kept all of her letters, mesmerized by how her penmanship would become more refined each year. School pictures with glasses, then with braces, then with a handsome boy at her side during senior prom. I still remember her mother confronting me once: "She's been checking the mailbox every day for several weeks and finally she broke down and cried." I vowed to always respond within a week.
Email replaced the letters when I was in graduate school. Advice on college vs. ballet company. What major? Where to live?
And so soon before I could even realize it, she turned 21 and we shared drinks for the first time at my place. I had not seen her in person for nearly 10 years and she towered over me, long boned and elegant. She had to stoop over to hug me and we chuckled at the height difference. When I left home, she came up to my shoulder. Me, newly single. She, a supportive friend, not a child, but a full fledged opinionated woman whose sympathetic ear I could use. Aside from a slight valley twang, which I find endearing, she's quite eloquent and hilarious to boot. We cuss like sailors around each other.
She's a strong gal emotionally. Much stronger than I ever was. I suppose watching your parents get a divorce at a young age and toggling between two households toughens your skin a bit. She danced in the Houston ballet throughout high school. She taught English abroad at the age of 19. Finished college in 4 years. Worked as a bar tender and then as a hostess at a high end restaurant. Now is a teacher in elementary school. She's partied. She's loved and lost. Broken hearts. Had her heart broken. In a lot of ways she's experienced a whole lot more than I have. What will she be like in 10 years when she's my age?
Every time I speak to her new stories unfold and I'm constantly amused by what she has to share with me. I suppose I'm getting old, and yet at the same time I'm connecting with her in a different way. She came out well, I want to tell her parents...