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de dance!

A couple of years ago, my sweetie and I attended a Carnival fete with my best friend and her husband. I remember being blissfully happy at that fete. Happy at the prospect of being outside, at night, in the middle of February, wearing a tank top and capris; happy because I was eating and drinking to my heart's content with the knowledge that I would be able to dance off every calorie before the end of the night; happy because I was in a country where the phrase 'wind-chill' was an entirely alien concept; happy because I was among my friends, and rapidly approaching the two days of unbridled revelry that would become Trinidad Carnival 2006.

My best friend wasn't having such a good time. She was cranky, for many reasons, some still unknown to me. She was displeased that the DJ was talking too much (I didn't notice), she was upset that the headline act didn't show up (in hindsight, a reasonable grievance, but in my eyes at the time a non-issue), she was quite riled by the deployment of the smoke machine (even though she spent most of the night with a cigarette in her hand), and she was particularly pissed at her husband, who soon after our arrival disappeared into the crowd in pursuit of a drunken good time (allow me to point out that he was not the designated driver for the night).

In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a remarkable evening, but a good time was had by all, except for my best friend, of course. But on that night, one occurrence stands out in my mind. As we returned to the parking area afterwards to make our way home, the aforementioned drunken husband, not content that he had enjoyed himself enough for the evening, uttered the following statement:

"Ah want to do back inside de dance!"

Of course, my sweetie and I felt the same way he did, but common sense dictated that we keep that opinion to ourselves, given my best friend's state of mind. However, drunken hubby would not relent. "Take me back inside de dance!" he moaned. He continued in this manner at least until we were dropped off at our hotel, and most probably for quite some time afterwards. During this little diatribe, sweetie and I sat giggling in the backseat, trying to avoid my best friend's glaring gaze in the rear-view mirror.

I really don't mean to make my friend out to be a party-pooper. She is one of the most fun-loving and good-natured people I know, and I truly sympathise with her plight that night, especially since everyone around her seemed to be having the time of their lives. Nevertheless, phone calls between us in the following months were often punctuated by my wailing "take me back inside the dance!" followed by an audible grinding of teeth on her end. Over the months, the phrase has become a bit of a joke between my sweetheart and I, a half-joking lamentation uttered at the end of many a celebratory evening.

Until three weeks ago, when after the impossibly brief whirlwind that was Carnival 2008, our plane touched down at JFK. As the icy wind howled outside the cabin and a swirl of snowflakes fluttered around the bleak grey visage of a land condemned to two more months of winter, my darling turned to me and said softly "Ah want to go back inside de dance!"

I turned away, hoping he would not see the tear forming at the corner of my eye. "Me too sweetie" I whispered back "me too".

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