Sparkling Cucumber Mint

Scent Notes: Crisp, sparkling cucumber and mint.

Paula was in a rut, and she knew it. Since her divorce, it just kind of seemed like nothing mattered anymore. She didn’t want to be known as a “divorcee,” and she frankly felt too young to be seen that way. It hadn’t been her idea for her husband to leave her for a younger woman (a little TOO young, in Paula’s opinion). They never had children, so now it was just Paula in her new apartment, working at the same job, trying to put on a brave face as if every night wasn’t some version of a microwaveable meal for one, some kind of sparkling cocktail, and a marathon of television shows before dragging herself to bed and repeating it all the next day. Perhaps her best friend Kelsey was right; maybe she was depressed. Maybe she needed to try something different. Kelsey had started going swing dancing at a local community center once or twice a month, and she’d invited Paula along on a few occasions. Paula had always declined, but she made a mental note to accompany Kelsey the next time she asked.

A few days later, Kelsey called and invited her to next week’s class. “You know what? I think I will go with you,” Paula said. Kelsey squealed with excitement. “Don’t worry. It’s going to be really overwhelming at first, but I’ll help teach you, and the guy who runs it, Peter, always helps the new people who show up. They have a beginner’s class every time to teach you what you’ll need to know to get started. You’re going to be great!” The next few nights after work, Paula watched a ton of videos online, attempting to learn some basic steps on her own, but she felt uncoordinated, awkward, and silly. She just didn’t know what she was doing, and was now convinced this was a bad decision and wouldn’t be any fun at all. The day came, and Paula’s stomach felt like it was doing swing dance moves of its own all day. She worried she wouldn’t be able to do a single move; that people would laugh at her; that she’d try to do a triple step, twist her ankle, and fall to the ground while everyone laughed at her. Still, she kept her promise to Kelsey and showed up, planning to say her stomach hurt about fifteen minutes in, and going home to another evening of her favorite reality show.
As soon as they stepped inside, Kelsey made a beeline towards the back of the hall. Paula followed her, her eyes darting rapidly, avoiding all the people twirling, jumping, hopping, and dancing around her. Already she felt out of place; maybe it would only be five minutes, not fifteen, until she left. But then she looked up and saw who Kelsey was talking to. He was gorgeous, and Paula felt all her breath leave her body as Kelsey beckoned her closer. “This is Peter! Peter, please meet my very best friend, Paula. She’s brand new to this and I know she’s wracked with nerves and probably trying to leave in five minutes. So please sweep her off her feet and show her what a good time this is!” Paula erupted into gigantic, fake laughter. “I would NEVER! Kelsey! How dare you!” Her voice sounded so phony she winced, but Peter just smiled at her, his crystal blue eyes studying Paula’s face. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Paula. Should we learn a step or two?” Before she could respond, he took her hand and walked her over to a group with a few other nervous-looking people. Peter smiled at them all. “I know you’re all new to swing, but don’t worry. I’m going to teach you some steps as a group, and before long, you’ll be dancing out there with everyone else. Let’s begin!”

It was slow going at first. He had to explain different kinds of steps to all of them, and her brain started spinning immediately. Peter could tell she was getting in her head, and he came over to guide her one-on-one. He explained the basic steps again. Sure enough, with his encouragement, it started to make sense in her head. All the other new people around her were also grinning. This was fun! But now it was time to turn those steps into a pattern to be followed, and she felt her brain turning to mush again. 

Peter asked them all to partner up, and walked back over to Paula. “Here, let me help you get the hang of this. I can tell you’re a natural.” Her heart started pounding; how could she concentrate on following the steps when she couldn’t stop staring into his beautiful face? But, eventually, she was starting to get the hang of things. She looked around the room at all the happy, dancing people. She beamed up at Peter. He smiled back.

“You’re doing a great job,” Peter said. “Remember: triple step, triple step, rock step. And repeat.” Soon enough, they were cutting through other couples, going all around the dance floor. He even managed to twirl Paula at one point, which made her giggle like a schoolgirl. So he did it again. And then a third time. She felt like she was floating on air, gliding across the floor. “My apologies, Paula, but I think there are some other new people here I need to teach. I do hope to see you again soon.” Paula just nodded, too excited to respond. She headed to the lobby, where she found Kelsey with two glasses of sparkling cucumber water with mint. “Something tells me you’re going to come back with me in two weeks?” “Absolutely,” Paula responded as she took a glass. They did a quick cheers with the glasses, and chugged down their refreshing, sparkling drinks.

Scent Notes: Crisp, sparkling cucumber and mint.