Kat has really turned her life around. She’s blissfully remarried to a supportive and considerate man, retired from a grinding legal assistant job, and started to build her confidence bit by bit. Now she’s taking her newfound happiness by the horns and signing up for a belly dancing class. She’s never been a dancer before, though it’s been a desire of hers since she was a little girl, so she knows the classes are going to be trying; but she’s determined to get in there and give them a try.
Despite the difficulties of dance, Kat takes to the class and some of her classmates immediately. She only has one hang-up: performances. Her stage fright and struggle to let her inner dancer out are holding her back from being the best performer she can. Despite her concerns, she exceeds her expectations.
And then things get real: her teacher asks her to move to the next level with some of her classmates. Still eager to get her dance on, Kat has to wonder whether she’ll be able to truly let Ameera, her inner dancer, twirl.
Take a quick look at Kat’s inner turmoil:
The anticipation of resuming private sessions with Sybil lightened my everyday duties. My heart was excited, but my head kept arguing that I wanted to dance too late in life. There’d been so many forbidden zones in my life. Sometimes it felt like a civil war raged inside my brain. My head wanted to keep Ameera indentured to responsibility. My heart wanted Ameera to kick up her heels and fulfill my girly dream of whirling and twirling. Why couldn’t we have both? As I debated internally, a fresh war waged between North and South.
“Ameera’s suffered oppression all her life. She wasn’t born to a life of duty,” the North said.
“Nah, Ameera’s a natural at shouldering responsibility,” answered the South, puffing on a cigar. “Look at her. Her hands are tough. She can lift at least fifty pounds without assistance!”
In fact, Ameera drooped between the two. She was tired of too much responsibility. The South was right. She could tote, sweep, repair, mother, support family matters, handle finances, and all other duties dealt to her. She’d borne children, quilted, and canned and did beautiful French hand sewing. She wore modest attire that often was handed down from friends and family.
The North was right too. Ameera had always wanted to dance—to twirl, skip, and bend gracefully with pretty hands like she’d seen in movies, plays,and dance performances. The joy of dancing with her sisters was branded in her memory—the unfettered joy and laughter of little girls unaware of adult responsibilities and duties.
As I pulled into Sybil’s driveway, I muted the internal dance debate. The sun was filtering through the live oak shading Sybil’s yard, and little oranges used for marmalade were peeking out from a large bush. Semiprivate lessons were attended at night, in the shadows. This was a new and brighter view. I felt exposed.
Sybil wasn’t in the studio yet, but she yelled from another room that she knew I was there. I dropped my bag in its usual spot. It looked lonely. The mirrors still had notes from our last class. Our dance names were at the top, and the little stick figures and instructions were staring at me. As I tied my hip scarf, I turned to the hallway door and there was Pappy, trying to sneak in and force a petting.
Pappy . . . he was so oblivious to daily stresses and just lived life vicariously through Sybil. His long bangs hung over his eyes, just like Sybil’s. He was all about the energy of Sybil’s world. The tinkling Arabic music in the room behind the house was accepted as normal. No barks from him, just a wagging tail and stolen attention.
“Pappy-whappy . . . you know better. Back to the living room,” Sybil said as she joined me. “Hey, Kat, let’s chat as we warm up.” With her blonde hair hiding her face, she asked, “So are you enjoying belly dancing? I’m glad you agreed to continue.”
“I’m trying,” I answered honestly. “I’ve wanted to dance all my life . . . but something or someone always told me I couldn’t. I guess I just can’t give up on the idea.”
If you’re dying for more, take a look at the sneak peek. Ameera Unveiled is available through BQB’s online store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your favorite bookseller. You can learn more about the author, Kathleen Varn, here. Happy reading!