I’ve always envied those brave souls
who find the courage to dance
with anybody, to any song, or any beat. 

But I am not like them.

There are certain songs I only dance to 
and not well enough, really.
I look like a marionette 
flailing my arms in the air
And sidestepping and hopping 
To the tune of Eraserheads.

I look ridiculous.

You told me you felt the same way. 
You meant yourself being awkward.
Although I suspected you 
also meant my being a klutz.

So, we both sat by the bar, 
Boracay Rhum on hand, 
and watched as everybody paired up and waltzed
on the dancefloor
to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

We witnessed some of them 
gyrated like nobody’s 
watching, got stepped on their 
toes, sprained their ankles,
pranced out of sync,
popped and locked their chests, 
fainted due to exhaustion, 
tripped on someone else’s dress.
It was chaos.

We sipped on our own glasses.
I caught you tapping your feet
as you saw me bobbing my head.

We stared at each other.
I found the dread in your eyes.
We’ve both been left on the dancefloor 
Far too many times; we’ve lost count. 
You have your scars on your back
As well as I have on my ankles.

I was about to leave
when a familiar synth flourish
and the bass drop stopped me on my tracks.
And I knew I just had to ask you. 

Shall we dance?

This literary piece is part of Katitikan Issue 4: Queer Writing.

By Mai Santillan

Mai Santillan (she/they) is a multilingual poet born and raised in Cagayan de Oro City. She is currently based in Davao City and is working as a copywriter for a sales and marketing firm. Twice, she has outed herself as a bisexual to her family. But they just brushed it off as 'just a phase.'

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