My Favorite Dance Partner

"Finally, our chance had come."

Sometimes the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you can't see.

~Vanessa Williams

"How you doing?" I heard as I passed a pack of four guys. They all burst into laughter, then quickly followed my friend Julie and I across the bar.

"Hey, what's your name?" one shouted over the music.

We spent the next hour laughing and talking with this very entertaining group. Little did I know my life would never be the same.

Julie looked at the cute, dark haired guy directly across from me and whispered in my ear "dibs."

Dibs, AKA Joe, didn't talk much. He spent his time dancing in place. He started out slowly swaying with the beat, until he could hardly contain himself. Finally he grabbed my arm and said, "Come on!" Laughing at his lack of containment, I followed him to the dance floor. We talked, joked around, and danced for what seemed like hours.

I already knew that my newfound dance partner was not to be. Julie had dibs. But I couldn't kick the feeling that maybe I shouldn't have let him go so easily. Did I just miss my chance with this great guy?

Ultimately, Julie never dated him. But Joe and I had a connection. We quickly became friends. Really, he became my best friend. We talked on the phone daily. We went dancing every weekend. But mostly we spent our evenings talking about some crazy guy I liked or some silly girl he liked.

I thought many times about dating my favorite dance partner. The timing was just never right. It seemed like one of us was always dating someone else. As the years passed we both found serious relationships. Our friendship faded. Joe moved out of state. Eventually I heard he was married. I was devastated. I had always envisioned that Joe and I would end up together.

My own relationships didn't last long. By the age of thirty-two, I struggled with dating and the men in my life. I knew Joe was married and living out of state. I thought of him often. I thought about all the "what ifs." What if we had a chance? What if the timing was right just once throughout the years? What if Julie never called dibs? But now, our chance had passed.

One night I came home after a long day at work. I threw my grocery bags on the counter and checked my messages. I had three missed calls. Two were from friends and then, a voice I had not heard in a very long time.

"Hey, I'm home. I was just wondering if... maybe... you'd like to hang out sometime?"

I don't think my feet touched the floor as I flew over to listen to his message again.

Joe?

I could have played it cool and waited to call him. But I instantly picked up the phone and dialed his number.

"Joe."

"Yeah."

"When you say home, where is home?"

"Home, home. Washington."

I felt my stomach tighten. Goosebumps covered my entire body.

He was here.

The next day he came over with a pepperoni pizza and a bottle of wine. We spent the next eight hours talking about where we went wrong in our past relationships. We laughed about the good old days. We talked about the great friendship we had all those years ago. And how we seemed to have picked up right where we left off.

Both of us fell silent. Just then I noticed how dark the room had become. The only light was from the stereo playing our favorite songs. The wine bottle was just about empty and the pizza box was hanging halfway off the coffee table.

I looked back to Joe. Almost as if he were in slow motion he leaned in and kissed me. The whole room faded away. I don't remember the song playing or what he said right before he kissed me. But I will never forget the way that kiss felt.

After all those years. After all the missed opportunities. Finally, our chance had come.

Cover image via Javier Garcia I Shutterstock


This story is from 
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game: 101 Stories about Looking for Love and Finding Fairytale Romance! © 2011 Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC. All rights reserved.

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