Let me preface this story with short introduction as to its purpose. This is first and foremost and apology to the lovely Imogen Watson, a former classmate of mine. I still feel guilty about what I did and to this day, I am eternally sorry. I hope you can forgive me.
In Scotland we have dances from a young age. Well at my school we did anyway. And not your run of the mill Katy Perry, S-Club 7, Cha-cha Slide type dances — oh no! They are Ceilidh’s, and if you’ve never been to one you’re missing out. Scottish people a long long time ago made up a whole host of dances designed – I can only assume – to bruise the crook of your elbow and get you really sweaty. It’s a lot of fun.
In primary 7 we had our first one, I was 10. In the months leading up to it we had country dancing practice most PE lessons to get to grips with all the whizzing around and jumping from spot to spot, all while trying to take the lead and take a young lady around the circumference of the dance floor. At the time I had girlfriend, but when the night of the dance rolled around and the band picked up to play the first dance I was asked to dance by the very lovely Imogen Watson. I very graciously accepted and turned round to apologise to the current squeeze and saw she was fuming. I still don’t get why she was angry we were taught to say yes when asked, it’s polite, it’s gentlemanly they said.
So I took Ms Watson for a turn around the dance floor, it was a Gay Gordon’s and we both had a lovely wee time. But my guilt at ditching my girlfriend was eating at me so when the band stopped I thanked Imogen quickly and went off to find her. When, to my dismay, the band picked right back up again. I had stopped halfway through and I was standing in the centre of the room while the entire year stared at me. Everyone thought I had stopped dancing half way through because I hated Imogen, which wasn’t true at all she was really nice to me. We were on the same side of our maths class meaning we were on the same team in the current spit ball/rubber war that was currently raging in Miss Colvin’s classroom, we were fighters, brothers in arms against the evil right hand side of the classroom!
I had no idea what to do so I froze. I stood stock still in the centre of the hall while the rest of the year danced around and around me. I’m sure the sight of a 10 year old staring off into space like a deer in the headlights wearing a bright red kilt and tartan bow tie must have been quite funny to behold but for me it was not funny. Not funny at all.
I eventually realised that I could in fact move my feet, somehow I had forgotten that that was an option for a few short seconds. Once I realised this I turned tail and ran straight towards my girlfriend. She was dancing with another boy in my year, still looking angry with me. I half ran half speed walked with them around the outside of the room trying to keep up and trying to apologise for not dancing with her but she was having none of it. I felt terrible, but not as terrible as I was about to feel.
After I eventually gave up trying to convince her to come dance with me and that I was sorry I turned around. There standing behind me was Imogen. She had been running with me the whole time trying to get me to come back and dance. She was flustered, red in the face but resolute. I was dancing with her – her blue eyes said. And so I did. I then spent the entire time trying to apologise while she twirled beside me. I kept apologising all night, every time I walked past her. She didn’t seem that bothered but I for some reason couldn’t get it out of my head, and I haven’t been able to since.
For some reason every time I think about leaving her there in the middle of the dance floor by herself my stomach turns inside out and pangs of guilt so strong that they make my fingernails twitch race through me. I don’t understand why but for some irrational reason it happens every time. So I guess I’m writing this in the hope that if I publish it that guilt will float away.
So Imogen, please take this as my last, and most sincere apology. I hope I didn’t embarrass you! And I hope you still had an amazing first dance, despite my stupidity.