“Nick stands up and offers his hand to me. I have no idea what he wants, but what the hell, I take his hand anyway, and he pulls me up on my feet then presses against me for a slow dance and it’s like we’re in a dream where he’s Christopher Plummer and I’m Julie Andrews and we’re dancing on the marble floor of an Austrian terrace garden. Somehow my head presses Nick’s t-shirt and in this moment I am forgetting about time and Tal because maybe my life isn’t over. Maybe it’s only beginning.” ~ Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
On my fifteenth birthday, my parents let me host my first real teen party. I invited a few friends over to my parent’s basement, and in lieu of gifts, I had them bring an unknown guest to the party. My decorating options were limited as I was a poor teenager with restricted funds and who had parents who, well into Spring, still had not taken down the Christmas lights. As such, I made the best of it and used the colorful Christmas lights and disco ball strobe lights to decorate my birthday party. As the party got underway and the guests were starting to arrive, I locked my target onto an unknown guest whom my friend Ruth had brought to my party. The dark basement, illuminated only by the tacky colorful lights, seemed to somehow frame the stranger’s tall and lean silhouette in such a way that I felt the first stirrings of teenage lust. Ruth introduced me to the stranger. Nick. He had a nice smile that made his eyelids crinkle upwards. He wished me a happy birthday and we started to dance. Other guests started to arrive, but I was not interested. I just wanted to be around Nick. Pet Shop Boys was in the background.
“You’ve got a heart of glass or a heart of stone
Just you wait ’til I get you home
We’ve got no future, we’ve got no past…“
Then, the mother of all slow songs started playing. Almost as if on cue, he and I move slowly towards each other. He takes my hand, and we are standing close to each other, his breath warm on my cheek.
“Swaying room as the music starts
Strangers making the most of the dark
Two by two their bodies become one
I see you through the smokey air
Can’t you feel the weight of my stare
You’re so close but still a world away
What I’m dying to say, is that I’m crazy for you
Touch me once and you’ll know it’s true
I never wanted anyone like this
It’s all brand new, you’ll feel it in my kiss
I’m crazy for you, crazy for you…”
His hand is on my back, and I feel him pulling me towards him. Our mouths are so close that our lips softly touch. I feel the room spinning. Or is it I who is spinning? I feel the warmth of his body against mine and I feel so comfortable, almost as if I could sleep. I close my eyes and I feel as though I am floating. I don’t want the song to end. I don’t want the dance to end. I want to be in this moment forever, just me and Nick slow dancing for all eternity.
That dance, that moment, is all I can remember about that night.
Yesterday, I turned forty-five — thirty long years after that first slow dance.
All I wanted for my birthday this year: to slow dance with a man and feel the way that I felt that night, so long ago.