It is starting to get truly cold outside: that kind of bite of ice that shivers up your face and pinches your cheeks into a startling red blush. Walking through the front door into warmth and love feels like so much more of a blessing when there’s that meanness to the air.
I have just collapsed at home after an exhausting session of zumba. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I shall merely say that despite the promises of wicked dance moves and Shakira hips, in reality it is a bunch of women waving their arms and stomping their feet, blinking the sweat out of their eyes as they ‘dance’ for an hour.
…Well. I love it.
Today’s session was particularly intense – and here’s where my rather grim relay of my exercise routine peters out. Our instructor made it different. She’s a woman who constantly amazes me with her endless repertoire of skills, funky blue hair, and seemingly bottomless pit of energy. She’s kind to everyone, tells funny anecdotes whilst you wobble around in Pilates, and makes time to help you when you’re struggling, be that due to a disability, a minor injury, or just a bad day.
Today though she was wired. On edge. Jittery.
She told us at the start of the class that she’d had some bad news. That she was going to a funeral tomorrow.
She tried to make us laugh about it when she told us the disaster story of her trying to buy a dress to make her feel like a lady. Then she turned the music on louder than ever before and danced like she was possessed. She wanted to ‘dance the blues away’.
And the thing that really blew my mind was this:
Every single stomp of the foot, every twist and turn and shout and jump, was danced for our instructor today.
Every clap, every cramp, every gasping breath was pushed through for our friend; our support and guide.
Every single woman in the room danced that hour for the blues.
I have never felt such charge in a room, such united love for someone who, despite her wonderful character, remains a stranger in so many respects. Today I felt like a family with a room full of people I don’t know and wouldn’t recognise in the streets.
And it was painfully, heartbreakingly, beautiful.