Everybody was dressed exquisitely. Long dresses that swirled around dainty, glittering shoes. Circlets about heads, gleaming bracelets, pendants nestling in the creamy crooks of necks. Their faces were painted up a picture, their eyes glittered and smiles adorned their lips like a kiss of sunshine.
It was like a dream. A child slid a bouquet of red and white roses into my fingers, another slipped her chubby arms about my waist and looked up at me through huge hazel eyes and told me she loved me.
And when the dancing started; all the dainty feet tapping on the shiny dancefloor, pretty shoulders shaking, hair swinging, flashes of colour, glitter, smiles, laughter. Little hands gripped both my index fingers and my arms swung out, little girls twirling beneath them, their dresses swishing out in a rainbow of satin and gauze.
I think they had a good time. They kissed me and hugged me and told me I was beautiful, and that they hoped I would have a blessed marriage, and to enjoy myself.
I told them it was lovely to see them.
And some of them cried, and their hands went right down to the floor in demonstration of how little I used to be. I didn’t know how to react to that so I just hugged them again. I didn’t know how to shape my face.
And all I could think of was the dreadful, dreadful itchiness on my arms, and how a pool of sweat was gathering in the small of my back, under the heavy embroidery on my bodice, and how a rash was forming under my lower lip, where I’d lathered dark red lipstick.
A part of me was thinking, well if I was invisible, how nice would that be? To watch the merrymaking from my safe cool haven. And another part of me was just waking up. A little nymph in my toes tormenting me to move, another pixie in my hips, shoving at me to shimmy along with the others. A pair of bronze arms reached through the finery and took my hands, the bouquet falling to the floor, getting lost amongst the petals and the glitter and the shoes. Her eyes danced mischievously at me. She pulled me in and twirled me around and suddenly I was not me anymore.
I was somebody else. Somebody who wanted to MOVE. Somebody who wanted to prance around like there was no tomorrow!
Sometimes you have to embrace frightening things like old friends, to get on in life. There is no ‘I can’t do it’.
You can. You must. You should.
I am glad I did. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to look back on that day and smile about it. I wouldn’t have been able to gush about my new experiences, my feelings of joy when
I realised I was no longer The Turtle Hiding In Her Shell. I emerged from my safe haven, and found that the outside wasn’t so prickly and uncomfortable after all.