FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24th
Paul was there to greet us at the airport. My heart fluttered when I saw him. Like a gentleman, he helped carry some of the things in my arms. He introduced himself to Guy. While we were waiting to pick up our luggage, Guy and Paul walked over to look at the roosters and chickens and the dog that had come off another plane.
I was feeling at ease finally, but I still had a dredded phone call to make to my parents to tell them that Guy and I wouldn't be coming home tonight.
We stopped in at the hotel via shuttel and met Liia. We all had a long ride ahead of us. We had to go down to San Jose to change out the rental car, then head up to Sacramento to drop off Guy.
When we got near Sacramento I called my friend to confirm that she could watch Guy for me. She wasn't home from work yet and wouldn't be until 8. I panicked a little, but worked it out that her parents were willing to watch him for me. We met up with them at a restaurant where they were having dinner. The father took Guy out to his truck to meet their dog. Guy made an instant friend. He hardly noticed that I was leaving. That was a relief to see that he was having a good time.
We stopped at I Love Teriyaki before we got back on the freeway for SF. I tried to get in touch with my parents, but I couldn't get through to the house line and my mother wasn't answering her cell phone, so I had no choice but to leave a message. They got the message late that night and left a message for me Saturday morning, as my cell phone batterie had died. They had a few questions for me, but they seemed to take it surprisingly well. They even wished me a good time.
We went straight to the dance at Broadway Studios from there. They were just finishing up the last lesson when we got there. Paul and I danced a couple times together then we started asking other people to dance. I did my usuall thing and asked some random people to dance. After a couple bad guesses I started paying attention to the better dancers on the floor to ask later. There were a few tango dancers there and I tried to fake it, but I know it wasn't impressive to step on their toes. Too bad we weren't all wearing name tags that said "Blues Dancer", "Tango Dancer", Tango and Blues Dancer".
I ran into a few people from Sacramento. Sid, who is responsible for peaking my interest and introducing me to Blues dancing, was there. I asked him to dance. It had been a long time and not much blues dancing in between the last time I danced with him, but I could tell I was already catching on more than before.
I also saw Darrek at the dance. He was teaching one or more of the workshops that weekend. I busted out with some tap dancing durring our dance together. He seemed to appreciate it.
I love the improvisations.
I would dance as many songs as I could find a decent or even an indecent partner to dance with. Actually, I reserved the indecency for when I was dancing with Paul.
That dance ended at around 1 am then followed with an after hours blues party in a dance studio near Market street. What an awakening that was to me. I was loving dancing with so many smooth dancers and learning each of their styles and leads.
One kid I asked to dance and he would improv. the whole thing. He pulled a move on me where my feet were off the ground and they made a circle in the air, I must have come down before he led me into the back dip to the floor in front of the croud behind me that oooed and aaaahed. I told him, "I didn't know I could dance like that." (which, it was more him than me.) He said he had never done that before. I was blown away. Later I saw him practicing some classic jazz type moves alone in front of the mirror. It was all making sense now.
At one point I found Paul sitting in a chair in the corner. I came over to see if he was ok. He shared with me that he came to the realization in the middle of the last dance that the two of us could never be together. It brought him to tears, so he decided to sit that dance out. I expressed my sympathy and that I share his sadness. He just needed a moment to work it through.
Later, I was about to dance with the jazz dancer again when Paul asked to cut in. He made some comment about paying him a dollar for me. I pretended to be insulted that I was only worth a dollar to him and started to walk off with the jazz dancer instead. Then Paul stepped in and they had a competition over me. We danced in a threesome for a bit, then the two of them went off together, only to race back to me. Paul and I finished the dance together. The dancing went on until after 4 am before they had to end.
At one point, we thought that Liia might stay some where else that night because she was felling a bit like a third wheel after the days events and having been drug around all afternoon running our errands. I guess she got over it because she came back to the room with us, which I am thankful for because that would have left Paul and I alone in the room together. That would have been bad, very, very bad.
I woke up at around noon on Saturday and found that I had four new voice mail messages. One from each of my parents, one from the Primary leader and one from X. X decided to tell me taht he had been pondering a few things and made the decision to go back to church and also that he would like to get back together with me! I could not deal with it at the time. I left him a message saying that I would call him when I get back in town. What next?
The three of us got ready and had breakfast at a little diner we came across.
We knew we wanted to go to China town next. Liia called up one of the local blues dancers to get some direction on where a good place to park would be. He met up with us near High street and gave us a walking tour of his neighborhood. We stopped at the Art Institute, and he pointed out some homes and views of interest for us. On our way to China Town, through Little Italy, we discovered that there was a Blues band setting up to play shortly at The Saloon. We decided to stop in again on our way back from China Town.
Liia and Brent stood in line at a pastery shop for 20 minutes to get a hot, fresh custard and Paul and I browsed a few of the shops where he got some pajamas for his daughter and I found a new blouse for myself and a set of action figures for Guy.
I figured I may need a bribe to get my son to come home with me after hearing that my friend's parents didn't want to give him up to my other friend who agreed to watch him on Saturday. They were all just having too good of a time together. It was a relief to know that he was doing so well.
We went into The Saloon to get a taste of some local Musical talent. Ron Hacker, I think was the name of the singer. When we came in he was reminiscing of the days when he played with the greats, like BB King and several others he named. They played some real dancable tunes that I danced with Paul to first. Then we switched partners and I danced with Brent. Paul and I danced to one last, extreemely long and some what fast song. That was some great music and dancing! What a random treat it was to stumble upon that while we were there for a blues workshop and with four blues dancers.
Our stomaches were telling us it was time to eat again so we went for some pizza by the slice near where we parked. It was some of the best pizza I have had in a long time, though I could barely eat half of the slice. Brent, the Lawyer/ballet dancer/rollerblader/blues&Lindy Dancer had plans to see a ballet with a professional dancer friend of his, so he had to cut out.
The three of us took a detour by the beach so Liia could stick her toes in the water.
We went back to the hotel before we started over to Berkeley for the after-workshop dance. After a short while they began a blues competition. They started with about 15 couples, then narrowed it down to about 8, with open dancing in between.
I made my rounds on the dance floor, especially to dance with any one that was not at either of the other two venues, plus some of the people I enjoyed dancing with that I recognized from Friday. I was wanting to dance with one of the other instructors who Liia mentioned that she liked dancing with. When I asked him to dance, he said,"What, are they letting 17 year olds in here now?" Ha, I said. "You are off by about ten years. I am only 7."
"Wait, how old are you?" he asked.
"No, I'm kidding, I'm 28."
He was a good dancer, but he let me do all the work. Mostly he would just hold me out away from him with both hands while I got all funky to the music. He was smiling, so I guess he was enjoying it. When it was over he said,"Very nice, and even old enough to dance."
"Pcha!" I don't look that young. Who does he think he is? I thought I was past that.
They had the finalists for the competition come back and dance a few more songs. There was some amazing dancing going on. They were all so very animated and they infused so many different styles and moves. They really played with the music, too.
I was wishing that I had a regular partner that I could feel comfortable with to try new stunts and dance with so expressively with. I feel like Paul and I have a good connection and I defenantly feel comfortable with him, but I also feel like I am still learning about Blues dancing, that he might feel limited in what we could do together. Not that I couldn't improve or have that with some one in time, but I was just dreaming.
I ran out of people I wanted to dance with, so I took a break on the bench. I got comfortable there enough that I fell asleep for the last half hour of the dance. I think I danced one last dance with Paul before they kicked us out at 4 am.
Paul and I had to leave by 10 am to drive over to Sacramento to pick up Guy. We had some good chats about raising kids, life after death, his visits with his granparents before they died, and why the two of us met.
When we got to my friend's parents' house, I found Guy lounging in the recliner in Richard's arms. He didn't even move when he saw me come in. They looked like old buddies lying there together. I had to convince him that we needed to go. He claimed that he didn't want to go on the plane ride, either. So, I told him I had a surprise for him in the car. He was pretty much extatic about the super heros. I think it broke Richard's heart to see him go, though.
My friend drove over to see us, but we couldn't stay long because we had to get back to catch our flight.
I was pretty quiet on the way back, just trying to put the pieces together from the last few months of conflicting answers and the wave of emotions.
Paul walked us through the airport and escorted us up to the Crown Room away from the hustle and bustle of the terminals. He has a way of making me feel so special. It might seem like a small guesture, but he is always so respectfull and considerate. He made it a wonderful weekend for me. I didn't know how to thank him for all that he had done for me. What he wanted, I couldn't give him, and he was even a good sport about that. I knew my time with him was short, so I just wanted to take him in for our time left. He had to leave to catch his flight from San Jose. We were allowed to continue waiting in the Crown room until boarding time drew closer.
Guy slept on the plane the whole way back. I even got a few winks, myself.