Friday, June 14, 2013


On Tuesday night I wore this dress swing dancing. I came home drenched in sweat, peeled the dress off, got in the shower, and found a tick lodged in my armpit. Once I had comprehended that yes, this had actually happened, I found my old antibiotics for Lyme, which I'd stopped two months before, and took a dose.

By Wednesday night I was on megadoses doxycycline, which my doctor prescribed to prevent a new infection. I was more or less accepting the fact that after six years of partially successful treatment for Lyme, this was all happening. The Ground Hog Day of Lyme disease.

Thursday night is tango night. I'd already washed the dress, and had moments of doubt about going to tango at all. Was it too much now that I was on antibiotics again? Would all the ticks in the universe be pulled to me once I stepped into a dance hall? Would this dress bring me more bad luck?

But I knew I couldn't let myself be spooked. I love this dress. I bought it from a local designer at the Eastern Market last Saturday because it would work for both swing and tango, and I had planned to get full use out of it. Plus, last night there was a special teacher, from Buenos Aires, giving a class in exactly what I needed to learn.

I put on the dress, and I told myself that when people asked me how I was doing, I would simply reply "great!" I would say nothing about ticks or Lyme disease or antibiotics. Fake it till you make it.

I stood in class, wearing the dress and my heels, listening to the teacher was explain this special form of partner connection that is popular in Buenos Aires. I felt an insect crawling on my leg. I looked down and saw it was one of those pretty, winged, teeny delicate green bugs whose name I don't know. Definitely not a tick. Still, I was merciless about brushing it off my leg.

Tango requires concentration, enough concentration that it drives all thoughts of illness out of my mind. By the end of class I was no longer thinking about insects or bacteria or bad luck.

After class, I danced for ten minutes and then changed out of my heels to walk home, to get to bed early, because I'm on antibiotics. I was heading out the door when Francisco, who is an excellent dancer, stopped me. How could I have changed out of my dancing shoes already, when he was about to ask me to dance?

This was practically an act of charity on Francisco's part, since he's been dancing for four years and I am a beginner with three months' experience. Meaning it's heavenly for me to dance with him and probably a little annoying for him to dance with me. I rushed to put my shoes back on and we danced the next three songs. And I was happy, truly happy.

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