The Jig

Crofton would watch his girlfriend dance. And dance she did, at every opportunity, and without the restraint with which she spoke and behaved—a very nimble, articulate kind of jig she said her mother had shown her, and her mother before her. At the barn dances she drew attention when, as the music stopped and people, tired of dancing, hungry and desultory, dispersed, Prue ran back to the circle leaving Crofton partnerless and danced her special dance. People laughed at first, but each time she continued on, the sound of her feet shuffling and sweeping on the wooden floor, kicking up hay and grit, but she was smiling, grinning in fact, holding back laughter and having a ball. She enjoyed the movement, and relished the opportunity to let it out. She had described it to Crofton one time as being like in her dreams, skipping and leaping without effort a dozen, two dozen feet at a time, being projected by some internal force that paid no mind to her normal inhibitions, her physical limitations. The exposure thrilled her too, that people were looking at her, the sense of risk, of her smallness in the circle of other watching eyes made her feel as though she were dancing on the cusp of some silent danger, on the verge of some storm, fearlessly and defiantly. Crofton stood back at these times and tried not to answer questions. Questions like “What is she doing?” and “Does she know the music’s stopped?” Crofton would sometimes laugh, but other times pretend not to hear, make sure he had somewhere to be. The night he proposed to her was when the whole town had joined in dancing. There were several families from over the river who had never seen such a thing, and at once two of the younger couples, laughing, taken by surprise ran gleefully back into the circle, danced the same free and uncategorised jig (called the ‘Wieland Dance’ by Prue’s grandmother, but more often than not called simply ‘the jig’), whooped and skipped and clapped, bringing by their sheer youthful energy and enjoyment the rest of the families in. The band, taking cue, eager it seemed to finally put into music what they were used to seeing time after time started up with a very spritely, very fast-paced number that set the whole barn clapping in time, hitching arms and literally running to the dance floor where the jig erupted like a spot-on Sunday sermon and rumbled the loose sidings from the walls. Crofton that night, elated, in disbelief had climbed the hayloft to sit and watch what was happening. Some of the people on the dance floor he had known for years and could never have pictured so scandalously free, nor so happy. Prue was the happiest, and in bed that night no doubt stayed awake, her eyes re-examining, replaying the jig for its power to skim across the surface, to breach dreams, to stir-up happy madness.


Thanks for checking out my short story.

Did I tell you I wrote a novel? You can read it here for free, or get it for your e-reader on iBooks, Amazon or Kobo. Or you can just say you read the book, and donate five bucks down below. Go on.

Gabriel Muoio


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