Dancing with Billy

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Dancing with Billy

500 Words: How We Met

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/59979

Bewitching straight blonde hair. With just the hint of a curl at the nape of his neck. He tossed his longish fringe so perfectly.¬†Beguiling blue eyes with luxuriously long lashes. “Wasted on a boy,” they used to say.
A handsome face. Pale skin.
Cherub lips housing a cheeky smile. I worshipped him from afar.

I dreamt of him liking me.
Like all the other girls.
They all liked him, too.
The mention of his name made them go all giggly.
We were united in our unrequited love, of him.

We watched his every move.
Some tried to make friends with his friends, in order to get an ‘in’.
Sometimes, it worked.
Sometimes, it didn’t.
It didn’t, for me, but I never gave up.
I continued my vigil of worshipping from afar.In class, I would hang off his every word.
As he spoke, I studied his every move.
And stayed in the background, nursing my secret love.The May Fair.
A wonderful family fete, put on by the school, its students and their families. Book booths. Food tents. Cold drink stands. Devonshire teas. The White Elephant Stall.

There was to be entertainment – and we were providing it.
We were to dance around the maypole, bearing ribbons aloft.
We were to folk dance and polka, skip and twirl and have a partner.
Girls would be partnered with boys.

We sat in rows, cross-legged on bare floorboards.
Last minute instructions regarding the next day’s May Fair.My long brown hair hung to my waist.
I wore it in two bows, high on either side of my head, secured with rubber bands and navy blue ribbons.

As I listened, I felt my hair being touched.The long strands were being stroked and patted. Was that someone behind me? I jerked my head around, my forehead knitted into a frown.
He was smiling at me, my hair in his hand. Our eyes locked. We had formally met, at last.”I love long hair,” he whispered. “Is it okay if I play with yours?”When we were dismissed, I got to my feet reluctantly.
My hair was let go.
I turned to give him a smile. “Will you be my partner for the dancing tomorrow?” he asked.
Did I need to give him my answer?I was ready for the May Fair hours early. But my family was not, and we got to school with only minutes to spare before the dancing was due to start.
I ran to my group, my long hair loose and free, flying behind me.
He was already in position… with another partner.
But as he saw me running to join in, he told his partner that he was supposed to be dancing with me and with a sad face, she left his side to go to the end of the line.
I stepped in beside him, my smile as bright as the maypole ribbons.

 

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