One sunny Saturday morning, after teaching his daughter’s ballet class, I asked Marcus, whose gig on the Big Island had fallen through after all, “Hey, do you happen to know any guys on the island who can dance?”
All of the other children and their parents had left, and Maya was across the room entertaining herself with colorful rubber dots, a prop for an earlier class of toddlers.
Stepping in closer, and towering over me at an impressive six foot three, Marcus now stood barely an inch away, his bright green eyes sparkling even more than usual. Sunlight from the large, open windows cast golden beams over his muscular arms and torso. The chemistry between us escalated, and although we were only having a conversation, much more seemed at play.
“Yes, me!” he answered.
I figured he was joking—he wasn’t a professional dancer. So, I joked back, “Great! When can you start rehearsing?”
“Wait, you’re serious?”
“Of course, I’m serious. I can dance!”
He proceeded to leap and waltz around the studio. As I watched him make an utter fool of himself, I considered his offer. He had just completed a yoga teacher training, and he was uncannily strong. I figured if he had basic body awareness from doing yoga, and he would be able to lift me, I could probably make it work. Plus, I had no other options and needed to find someone immediately. It was a huge risk to accept his offer, but he was so confident in himself and his ability to learn.
Training someone to perform who had no dance training whatsoever was a huge undertaking, one I never would have accepted if I hadn’t already had such a massive crush on him. Working with a professional dancer would have required only a few rehearsals to learn basic partnering choreography, whereas working with Marcus required countless hours trying to catch him up on ten-plus years of training so that he’d remember basic things like to point his toes and not grunt when he picked me up. Basic dance concepts had to be broken down and taught before I could even get to the choreography. And then, making his dancing appear smooth and graceful was a whole new, almost impossible, project.
I had a limited number of hours to use the dance studio I rented in Kailua, and we needed somewhere that would allow us to rehearse as much as our schedule permitted. I had access to the high-end health club where I taught, which had four large mirrored rooms that were mostly free during the day, as classes were held either in the morning or evening. If I could get Marcus a membership, we could rehearse as much as we needed. As a yoga and Pilates teacher at the club, I was entitled to a spouse membership, yet Marcus and I weren’t married or anything even close. But we were lovers—didn’t that count? I went into my boss’s office to inquire.
“As long as you and your boyfriend live together, you can sign him up,” she said.
Boyfriend? Marcus had never claimed to be my boyfriend. But in this instance, maybe he would play along. I approached him with my genius idea, to which he immediately and happily agreed.
“I’ll play being your boyfriend anytime.”
The next day, as we rode up in the elevator to the health club, I whispered, “Remember, you’re my boyfriend.”
“I got this,” he said with a smile.
The second the elevator doors opened, he grabbed my hand, intertwined his fingers into mine, and led me out of the elevator with the biggest love-struck smile I’d ever seen, which made me start laughing hysterically.
Oh, my God, he is so good at this.
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