Back to the story in progress, where Raubine brings a friend to the dance club…
“Magdalena, this is Dranmoy.”
Dranmoy dropped his headphones down to his shoulders and nodded. “Hey.”
Magdalena extended her arms. “Sorry, hon’, but you don’t get away from me that easily. Give me a hug.”
Dranmoy reluctantly stood up as he set his Android tablet down, mentally saving a tab for an article he was reading about converting a Raspberry Pi Zero into a wearable gaming console.
He let Magdalena hug him tightly while he lightly and briefly wrapped his arms around her, patting her on the back and letting go.
“Darling, you gotta learn to be more open and loving if you’re going to be a good dance partner.” Magdalena winked at Dranmoy after she released her hug.
“Okay.” Dranmoy snugly fit the headphones back on and went back to reading as he sat down.
Raubine led Magdalena to the bar. “He’s a really nice guy and you’ll be surprised how good he is on the dance floor. He’s just shy. Guin thought he had the chops to dance in a showcase one day and actually got him to dance in two routines!”
Magdalena turned back to look at Dranmoy. She had learned you can’t tell a book by its covers but then again not every book is easy to read after you open it, and even less understood after you finish reading it.
Dranmoy looked up to see Magdalena eying him. He gave her a weak smile and a turn of his head, wondering why an elegant, graceful person like her would have any interest in him.
Raubine ordered a plum martini with a rim of chocolate sugar. While she waited for the order, she shouted across the room. “Hey, Dealin!”
A man of medium height, with long white hair and a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard waved back. “Raubine! What’s up?”
“Come here a minute!”
Raubine leaned toward Magdalena. “Dealin is a smokin’ hot dancer. As soon as the beginner’s lesson is over, you two gotta dance.”
Magdalena smiled. Her husband had died of throat cancer two years ago, a slow, agonising six months of radiation therapy and chemotherapy that did nothing but prolong the inevitable. However, it had given her time to grieve properly, and she had spent the mourning period getting to know her grandchildren better.
“I don’t know, Raubine. I’m not interested in jumping into a hot relationship just yet.”
Raubine nudged Magdalena. “Oh, come on. It’s just a dance. I know you love ballroom dancing. West Coast Swing is a way to let your hair down, so to speak, and have some relaxed fun.”
Magdalena loved Raubine for caring about her. She had last danced a waltz with her husband on a Caribbean cruise and savoured that memory in moments when she missed his touch. His hands were usually rough, being a general manager for a construction company, but his way of taking charge on the dance floor, spinning her around, she thought him the most gentle man in the room.
Dealin stood between the two barstools and put his hands on the shoulders of the two women at the bar. “A prettier sight I haven’t seen. What brings you two here tonight?”
Raubine giggled. Although she was a big woman, she still felt like a little girl in front of handsome guys sometimes. “You know, it’s West Coast Swing night.”
Dealin laughed. Because he hung out at the Courthouse Saloon most evenings, people assumed he had something to do with running the bar. His big Harley bike and tattooed biceps added to the image. If people inquired about what he did for a living, he brushed them off with the comment that he owned a small farm. That usually stopped the questions so that he didn’t have to tell them he was a CPA for a large accounting firm, spending most of his day tracking data for a few military defense contractors.
“Let’s show this young lady what West Coast Swing is then, shall we?” Dealin reached for Raubine’s hand and helped her slide off the barstool.
“Real simple, ummm…” Dealin looked at Raubine and Magdalena.
“Right, Magdalena. Well, Mags, it’s real simple. Step, step, triple step, triple step. Like this.”
Dranmoy saw movement at the bar and thought the dance lesson had started early. He walked over to join the trio.
“Dranmoy! Didn’t see you here. Take those headphones off and dance with Magdalena here, willya?”
Dranmoy stood with his arms at his side, waiting for Magdalena to stand in front of him.
“Don’t be afraid to take her hand, young man. I don’t think she bites. You don’t bite, do you, Magdalena?”
Magdalena laughed. “No. Of course not.”
“Okay, guys, just watch us. Mags, let Drannie hold your right hand in his left hand. Good. Same with your other hands. That’s right. Now Drannie will take two steps back so Mags, you take two steps forward. See how easy that is? Now watch our feet as we take three small steps. Drannie, you know how to do this. Why don’t you show her the rest.”
Dranmoy, although a nerd at heart more motivated by discovering a way to boost a computer operating system’s core processing speed than improving social skills, felt a small twang of a boost of confidence when Dealin talked him into teaching Magdalena on his own.
Magdalena felt a stronger grip on her hands and could immediately tell Dranmoy was leading her through the steps of West Coast Swing without having to say a word.
First, basic sugar pushes. Then a leftside pass followed by a rightside turn.
Dranmoy was going to show her more when Xonvart Niis stepped up behind him.
“Guys, that looks great! It’s the perfect segue to our beginner’s lesson, which is about to start in a couple of minutes. Why don’t you guys move on out to the dance floor while I plug my phone into the sound system and get us ready to rock out to some tunes?
Dranmoy let go of Magdalena and quickly checked a response to a forum post he had made minutes before.
His artificial intelligence digital assistant was missing something. He had programmed it to change topics of conversation with brilliant quips but sometimes the assistant missed the punny things said in response. An entry on the blog 3 Quarks Daily about ways of knowing — the interconnectedness of philosophy and logic, qualitative science, quantitative science, model and simulation, instinct and intuition, naming and description, narrative and discourse — automatically sparked him to think about an analog QAM diagram. Could his assistant ever make a similar connection? And what was the connection, anyway?