We started with the cha cha. Back and forth, a bit stiff at first, stepping on each others toes and awkwardly sliding our hands up and down our sides. So uncomfortable. But I was determined and Janus admired that, so we tried to sync our steps, roll our hips in unison, and wear a slight path between my There and Here, Here and There.
We met in Oshkosh, in the parking lot of Capital Credit Union. He was trying to turn in and I was trying to get out. This two-faced, tall, built, handsome man stepped out in front of me and could see my mixed emotions playing out like a light show on my face. He asked.
“Where are you trying to get to? You seem caught between joy and despair. Angst and jubilation. Perhaps I can be of assistance.”
Why I trusted him so quickly still boggles my mind, but he showed up at the precise moment I needed him to. He called it. My stomach tickled and panged. My heart flipped and jumped, pounded and swelled. My cheeks glowed and burned.
“It’s just, you know, typical transition sickness.”
The supernatural seeming man nodded with the strongest elegant neck I may have ever seen. Both faces smiled and a two-tone voice laughed. “Transition is my specialty. Would you care to dance?” He extended a welcoming hand and I took it as if in a trance. “By the way, my name is Janus.” His hands naturally cupped around the muscles in my lower back as he tried to guide me into some sort of slow dance. I resisted.
“Janus, I’m Laura, and I would prefer something a bit more…”
He snapped his fingers high in the air, a rainbow arced over our heads, and David Bowie’s “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…” sounded from the strangely balmy temps this god conjured up around us. “Let’s cha cha to Changes,” he said. How could I resist that?
And there we danced, in this other world, somewhere between the home I used to know, the home I wanted to return to, and a home I haven’t experienced yet. He grinned as he recognized my observation of that, and dug into the cha cha, effectively stomping on my right toes. I tried to recover and only managed to trip and stumble on top both of his feet. He simply laughed. Both faces laughing. His breath smelled like rain on a spring day. I caught myself laughing too, and it felt great. Laughing hurt so good, so much better than crying, and the laughter escalated into hard, full body laughter, drumming up from the arches of my feet and through to the top of my head.
The cha cha, back and forth, as awkward as it started, smoothed out with time. We found a phenomenal rhythm together, accentuated here and there with a successful dip or twirl. I never dip or twirl!
“Maybe we can try a salsa,” I said when the song ended, and Janus shook his heads.
“You’re not there yet. Some day, Laura. Soon. For now, we’ll be dancing the cha cha. I’ll see you again. You’ll see.”
As easily as he stepped into my morning, he stepped out, leaving me back in the cold salty parking lot with a warm Subaru still running with the parking break on and the stick stuck in neutral. My head felt like it could float off my sweaty body. Out of habit I glanced at my phone and saw three messages. One regarding the past which was so easy to laugh off after the dance. One regarding the present, which merely invoked a shrug and a sigh. The last regarded an opportunity that looked like a shiny stepping stone towards my intended future. I caught myself smiling silly, putting the car in gear, and looking the way I needed to turn, singing to myself, “Turn to face the strange…”
Those of you (so many of you!) commenting that I am glowing, thank you. I really didn’t know I glowed, and I could find reasons as to why, but really, maybe it’s because I get another dance with Janus.