Their bodies glided across a stage ankle deep in white mist and glittered with streams of tiny lights draped from above.
“Newton, isn’t her dress lovely?” his mother said.
“Yes, it is,” he answered.
However, Newton wasn’t looking at the ballerina or her dress. He was looking at the guy in the tights, which left little to the imagination. They outlined every contour of man-ass the dancer had to offer, and Newton couldn’t stop staring, even with his mother, father, and siblings in the room. Thought-crime sirens clanged in his head, but then it got worse. He felt himself stirring, and then rising to attention.
No, no, no! Hell no! Newton wanted turned his attention to others on stage, but it was too late. The ladies danced off, leaving two men. Their feet glided through the mist, well turned ankles connected to rock-hard calves, joined to tree-truck thighs, and finally rounding out into the biggest man-asses Newton had ever seen.
He tried sitting in positions that made himself appear less obvious. Nothing seemed to work, though, at least not to his satisfaction. Tis the nature of thought-crimes: they dwell in the head; no one else needed to instill the dread. Finally, he decided to lay on the floor, stomach down, to squash his flagpole into submission.
He settled into position. Then settled again. And again. Uh-oh. No, he quickly realized, this was not the position to assume. He sat up quickly into a cross-legged position. His flagpole continued to demand attention, but he strove to ignore it. By this time, the men had left the stage and the ballerinas returned, much to Newton’s salvation.
His family watched ‘The Nutcracker’ on PBS every Christmas Eve, yet this was the first year it became an ‘issue’ for Newton. So many things had become an issue of late. And the issues for him had no resolution. The drive he felt had no equal in the world he inhabited. Indeed, he could only connect his urges to things he tried to forget.
He went to bed soon after the show ended. Sleep stayed at bay for a long spell. Newton could see late night visits to the fridge as its light glowed through the cracks around his closed bedroom door. He waited for stillness and silence. Then he thought about the ballet dancers in the tights which left little to the imagination. He thought about them, came to terms with them alone in his room, smothered his guilt, and then turned over to fall asleep.
Asleep? No awake, awake, my friend, and join us!
Newton turned over. In the dark mist of his bedroom he saw the outline of a man. He reached for the lamp next to his bed, but it did not turn on. He fretted.
Have no fear! Come! We’re waiting for you!
Newton felt his mouth moving, but heard no words come out.
No words need be spoken. Come! Stand next to me!
Newton got out of bed and stood next to the man. A source-less glow appeared on his face. It was one of the dancers from the Nutcracker! Newton looked down and saw the man dressed in the same tights. Fear turned into curiosity.
Newton looked at his empty bed, then followed the man as he took him through his own closet door. But instead of the cramped four by five closet, he found a staircase that led down and around. Far below, at the end of the staircase he never new existed, he found a large room full of floor to ceiling mirrors on all the walls.
We like to look at ourselves as we move. Move with us!
Newton watched as the man began twirling around, arms in and arms out. He tried to mimic him, but felt he was doing a poor job. But the man kept smiling at him and that encouraged him to keep trying. The room enlarged as they kept up their movements. Eventually, the staircase leading up into what had been his bedroom closet vanished. And soon others joined them, other guys in tights, turning around and around in the ever expanding space. Everyone smiled. They all seemed to glide on air.
Now you have it! Keep moving with us! Stretch and stretch!
Newton found that the more he stretched his arms, the higher he seemed to go, until he began bumping against the ceiling. Two of the other dancers took him gently by the ankles and brought him back down. All of them began to clap.
I think he’s ready, the original ballet dancer said to the others. Together, they turned to the walls, while Newton stood where they left him. The dancers pushed against the mirrors, and they turned aside. The room opened into a large yard full of green grass and trees. Night had turned into sunny daylight. The colors looked vibrant. No sky appeared as blue as that one had, by Newton’s reckoning.
The dancers all went outside and continued twirling. Newton did as well. As they twirled, they lifted higher and higher into the air. Newton lifted up as well. No one brought him back down this time. He floated higher and higher into the sky, until he passed above the fluffy white clouds that lined the edges of the horizon. He zoomed through the clouds, his body stretched long and thin like a rocket. It seemed as if he could fly forever. But then, he saw an island. It looked green and tropical, with small hills. He flew down towards it.
It could not be a dream, he thought, because normally when he fell from the sky, even at a controlled speed, the anxiety of falling would wake him up. But he did not wake. He kept descending until his toes ticked the tops of the palm trees. He finally came to rest next to a lagoon with a waterfall at the far end.
Newton looked around. He heard birds singing and felt warmth from the sun. He cupped his hands and tasted the water of the lagoon. Sweetness.
It was only then, as he walked around the lagoon, that he realized he wore only his pajama top, but no pants. He stood naked from the waist down. As he began looking around for his pajama bottom, wondering if it had fallen off during his flight, he saw a boy that looked only a few years older than him leaning against one of the palm trees, arms folded.
Are you lost?
Newton pointed towards his bare legs.
You have nice legs. Do you dance?
At first Newton shook his head no, but then realized that he had been doing nothing but dancing for a while, so he nodded his head.
You look like a dancer. Will you dance with me?
He walked towards the boy and took his hand. They began moving away and towards each other. Each close approach brought their bodies nearer. Until at last they touched. Once they touched, they stayed that way. The boy’s tights seemed to melt away and he held Newton up close to him.
Are you scared of me, Newton?
“Should I be?” Newton asked, realizing that he found his voice.
“No,” the boy said. And he kissed Newton on the lips. Sweetness.
It could not have been a dream, because he heard the boy say “No” so clearly. Newton swore that he would recognize the boy’s voice again if he ever heard it.
But he did awake in his bed the next morning, the sun shining between the blinds of his windows. He saw that he had produced another emission in the night, but felt no shame or guilt for it. In fact, he felt warmth and wondered whether he would see the boy again if he closed his eyes and waited.
“Merry Christmas,” he said to himself.
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