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Dancing with Moose
by Betty Mermelstein

Marty had the glass door to the frozen foods open, picking out her lunches when she cautiously did a double take through the door. Oh great, she thought. There’s Nate. If I look way in the back of this freezer maybe he’ll go away. She bent over shoving her hand into the boxes, causing an avalanche of chicken enchiladas and teriyaki rice bowls.

“Marty! I thought that was you!” Nate said cheerfully as he skated over to the open door.

Marty didn’t even look up. “Hi, Nate,” she said wearily, stooping to pick up an herbed chicken with potatoes.

“Hey, I know,” Nate suggested. “Why don’t you let me take you away from all those boxes and we’ll go out to dinner.” He gave her a big grin of hope. So many teeth, Marty thought. But they are his, she admitted. There were some their ages who were getting tooth implants, bridges, even braces. Veritable little factories in their mouths.

“Nate,” Marty practically moaned. “You know I only have time for dancing now in my free time.”

“You’re over there a lot, aren’t you, at the Moose Lodge?” Nate asked.

“Well, that’s where the lessons are,” Marty replied matter-of-factly, triple stepping over to the bakery island.

Marty picked up a container of muffins, one of brownies, and a pie. Having never been married, as was also the case with Nate, no one was there to remind her that sugar eventually rises like yeast on the body. Hence the dancing of late.

“So, if you’re so wrapped up in it, what do you like about it?”

“The dancing?” Marty asked. “Oh, you know, the exercise, the flow of two partners together, the …” She really wanted to check out and really wanted to end the conversation.

“Why don’t you see for yourself? The group dancing lessons are Friday, seven to eight. Only costs five bucks!” She waved as she maneuvered her cart up to the check out line.

No surprise that Marty watched Nate walk through the Moose Lodge door that Friday evening. She took in his attire and decided he didn’t look half bad in his polo shirt and Dockers. The sneakers would never work. He’ll be stuck to the floor like a lizard skimming over fly paper, she thought. People were pairing up to form a circle: those who came as a couple, smilers standing in anticipation of being chosen, twosomes who usually partnered up. Marty joined her other half of a twosome and observed Nate craning his neck for her. She gaily waved in relief, momentarily forgetting that the instructor rotated partners like socks on a circular clothesline in the wind. Nate acknowledged her and strode up to the only woman left: seventy-five year old Millie.

The Dancemeister asked everyone to take positions for the tango. This was the last night for tango, which meant it was the fourth night, which meant it was not the beginning night. Nate wouldn’t have a clue.