“Thanks George,” Steve said, “I’m not looking for absolution, but it is a matter of conscience.”
“That’s OK then,” George assured him, “Will ten on Saturday morning suit you?”
“That will be great,” Steve said, “Thank you. I’ll see you both at the dance tomorrow I assume.”
“Yes, we’ll be there. See you then.”
Steve was relieved that the calls had gone so well. He was able to return to his papers with a happier frame of mind.
Tuesday 5th April St Philip’s Church Hall
Steve had arrived at the Church Hall for the dance early this week. There was paperwork waiting for him at home, but it would have to wait. He would sort it when he got home afterwards. Today had been just as hectic as yesterday, and it had rained all day long. George was already there: he had the keys to the Hall and had opened the doors and switched on the lights and heating. Geoff, Mary and Cathy all arrived within minutes of Steve. Mike and Helen were expected to join them that night now that they were back from their holiday.
Other than Steve’s group, all the other regulars had been arriving steadily. Tony hadn’t arrived yet, but he had phoned to say he would be coming. Steve had helped to erect the folding tables and to set out the chairs while Geoff was getting his CDs sorted with the evening’s music. With a full complement of members, the group had taken over two tables – as they often did.
Mike and Helen were being quizzed about their timeshare break and were showing photos around when Geoff announced the first dance – a Sweet Bay Salsa, chosen again to warm up the dancers for the programme ahead. Steve’s usual partner, Olwyn, had turned up tonight, so he was dancing with her while Cathy danced with Tony. Olwyn was asking Steve about the previous week’s dance. Her friends had told her that Steve had danced with Cathy a couple of times and how nicely they had danced together. The old ladies in Olwyn’s group had been friends a long time, but their tongues could be poisonous. She was more upset by the way she had been told than about Steve and Cathy. She knew that Steve didn’t see their dancing relationship as anything except just that. Olwyn was at least ten years older than him anyway. She was also sure that he and Cathy had only danced together when neither had anyone else to dance with. She had never seen any sign of a romance between them.
As he returned to the group, Steve saw George give him a thumbs-up. He saw this as a sign of encouragement following the previous night’s phone call. Beryl also gave him a big smile. Other than that, most of the conversation was a continuation of Helen’s recounting the various excursions they had been on. Mike was describing some golf stories from the holiday.
Just before the next dance was announced, Cathy, who was sitting between Tony and Steve, had touched Steve’s sleeve to attract his attention. She’d turned to him and smiled.
“Listen,” she began, “I just want to say sorry for what I said on Sunday. I hope that you weren’t offended too badly. The more I think about it the worse I feel. It was a nasty thing for me to say, and it was unforgivable to behave like that to a friend – especially among a group of our friends.”
“Cathy,” he assured her, “don’t worry about it. We’ve always been able to tease each other about our differences of opinion. And you were right: there are too many Christians who say such things – even ordained vicars and bishops who ought to know better. You and I are probably closer in our thinking than you realise.”
“Really?” she said, surprised, “I would never have imagined that.”
Well, we have a couple more photographs of dancing with this post.
As usual, I used my Fuji X-T4 with its 16-55 mm lens to take the shots.
The EXIF data for the featured photo were: the shutter speed was 1/1000secs @ f/2.8 and 36.5 mm. The ISO was 6400.