“Enough! It will do you good and I can’t do it on my own” said Mrs. D with a resolute look on her face. “You are coming.”
“Ooh la la” I said in a vague attempt at lightening what had been a somewhat tense discussion. It failed and I knew that I was losing the argument. I couldn’t see what good ballroom dancing would do and wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
“Darling, you could do it on your own. I don’t mind, really. All you have to do is find yourself a partner with long enough arms to go round your waist.”
As I ducked to avoid the left hook, I knew I was doomed. It was all because we had bought a new bloody wardrobe. One of those that has a fixed central mirror and mirrored doors either side so that by opening both of them and standing in the middle, you can see a profile view of yourself.
Not fifteen minutes after it had been delivered, there was a blood-curdling scream from the bedroom. I ran up the stairs, expecting to see a snake or a rat or something…but no. I was confronted with Mrs. D contorting her body in front of the ‘mirrors-of-truth’ and rapidly looking left or right. It looked like a scene from The Exorcist.
“Look!” she wailed. “My stomach sticks out twice as far as my boobs!”
“You’re not 21 anymore,” I said helpfully and to try and make her feel better, pushed her out of the way and stood in front of the ‘wardrobe of doom’.
“Bloody hell! I’m pregnant!”
I thought that I had been controlling my weight and my daily trip to the scales confirmed that. However, what it didn’t tell me was how what was there had been moving around and in my case, pooling at my middle. I had noticed that I could no longer see my special friend when I looked down in the shower, but had thought that was just the way I was standing.
Half an hour later, we were sitting round the kitchen table. Mrs. D had made us each a list of things that we could and could not do. Mine seemed longer.
Amongst other things, no more four-cheese pizza to be delivered when she was out. No more chocolate snacks although that one did not worry me too much because I could never open the damn wrappers anyway. No drinking during the week. My protests were ignored and we just ended up waving the lists and pointing at each other’s stomach whilst making sounds like two year olds. She was right of course. We needed to do something.
We bought some bikes and started cycling. On a serious note for a moment, Chiang Mai really does have to do something about the trucks that spew out clouds of smoke. It is really quite appalling and even more noticeable when you are on a bike. There are supposed to be annual checks for older cars and trucks…but this is Thailand.
Pollution, some serious chafing in the nether regions and a picture of Mrs. D on her bike from the back that I took with my phone camera, meant that cycling was off the agenda. We needed to find something else, and in this case, my beloved selected ballroom dancing.
Under protest, we went for our first lesson. Much to my surprise, I was not the oldest. There were nine other couples there. A mixture of Thai and farang, they all looked perfectly normal with not a sequin in sight.
We were given some basic instructions and as Viennese music filled the room, started waltzing across the dance floor. Mrs. D floated and moved with a grace that I had not seen in years. She was happy. With her leading, all I had to do was avoid her feet and look vaguely rhythmic. Despite my misgivings, I actually enjoyed it. So much so that we went back the next day and would you believe, the day after that?
The teacher even paid me a compliment. Well – I think she did as she said that she “couldn’t wait to see what I did next” and had told some of her friends about the way I moved. I was becoming a legend in my own lunchtime, at least in my mind if no one else’s.
After the third lesson, the teacher took Mrs. D and I over the road to a cafe, just as she did with all her pupils so that she could get to know them better. As she and Mrs. D sat down, I asked them what they would like to drink.
When the waitress came over, I pointed to each of us in turn and said, “Cha, Cha, Cha.”
The teacher looked up, shook her head. With a solemn look on her face, she said “Khun Daling, not until you can waltz first.”