I held the Hallmark card in front of me, opening and closing it to take in the black and white photo of the young dancing girl in the short lace dress. The text inside was a loopy script meant to convey fun and lightheartedness. I had been feeling a bit down lately and my friend Jake cared enough to send the very best.
I was enthralled by the notion. I couldn’t remember the last time I twirled. Probably when I was nine or ten and playing in the backyard of my childhood home. Who had time to twirl as an adult? Between work, kids, bills, the dog and every other conceivable priority, when was there time to just go out in the backyard and twirl?
What would the neighbor’s think? Would they think I had finally lost my lid? Would they remain silent until someone arrived home, then conspiratorially pull him aside and confide I had been twirling in the back yard and maybe needed a vacation? Would a daughter die of like absolute and like total embarrassment? Would a son dare to look up for two seconds from his XBox games to even notice?
I looked down at the dog, seated patiently at my feet. In his mind everything was edible and he assumed my card was a tasty Bonz treat I would accidentally drop to the floor where he could slurp it up in one gulp. Now the dog, he often twirled. He didn’t worry who saw him. Round and round he’d chasing his tail and we’d laugh at his silliness.
Obviously twirling made people laugh, so why didn’t we do it more? When did all those things we loved as children become taboo or too unimportant to us as adults? Playing hide and go seek and experiencing the thrill of near-discovery from inside the dirty clothes hamper. Or kick-the-can and rushing to free your friends from the jail on Mrs. Higgin’s porch before the streetlights came on and you had to go home. Or lying in the grass and identifying the ice cream cone, animals or angels floating by in the clouds.
I looked outside at the bright May morning with the clear blue sky and gentle breeze pushing at the lilac bushes. I looked down at the dog. He looked up at me and then at the card, licking his chops. I told him I had to do it. His ears perked. His language consisted only of treat, walk or car. I dropped the card on the counter, kicked off my slippers and opened the sliding door.
Sometimes you just gotta twirl.