After the music ended, Anita sat at her table and wished she could take her shoes off and rub her tired, achy feet. But, she knew the music would start again in a few minutes and there would be another man holding out his 10 cent ticket to her. Then they would dance, maybe have a few snippets of conversation if he was talkative. If the man was on the shy side the dance would be quiet.
Sometimes if Anita liked the look of the man, she would try to get him to talk. Most times not though. It was a job. Times were tough, she had to help with the family finances and this was better than nothing. She got this job because she could dance. She always loved to dance, even when she was little, Mama would catch her dancing all over their tiny apartment. Now that Mama was sick, it was up to her to pay the bills. So she came to the Taxi Dance hall and got a job.
The job was tiring and she usually went home with sore feet and achy muscles, but it never stopped her from returning the next day. The pay was fair, mostly because she was one of the most popular Taxi’s there. Men enjoyed dancing with her and she had her weekly regulars. She knew that some dancers working there did ‘side jobs’, but she wasn’t one of them. She was a good girl and she wouldn’t shame Mama that way.
Anita heard the band start another song, and just like she knew would happen, there was a man standing in front of her with his 10 cent ticket in his hand. Without even glancing up at the man’s face she took his ticket and stuck it inside the small black purse dangling from her wrist. She stood up and took his outstretched hand, finally tilting her head up and see who it was. This one she didn’t know, he was a new face in the crowd. The handsome young man smiled at her and led her to the dance floor.
They glided smoothly across the oak floor. Not speaking. Anita was okay with that, there didn’t seem to be a need to talk. She thought he was an excellent dancer, better than most of her ticket holders. She felt comfortable. As they twirled once more around, he finally spoke in a soft deep voice. “I’m glad my buddy talked me into coming here tonight.”
“Why is that?” Anita asked.
“Because I just met the most beautiful woman, who dances like an angel” he said with a small smile.
“I bet you say that to all the ladies” Anita joked.
“Only you” he said. “Only you from now on” he whispered.
**I came across some information about Taxi Dancers while I was researching something else. It fascinated me. They were women who in the 1920’s and 30’s who got paid for dancing with men. The men would buy 10 cent tickets to be able to pay for dancing with them. The women received a commission on how many tickets they collected. This is a very short story that came out of that.**