To everyone in the room, she seemed like just a normal girl wearing Vans, blue jeans, and a red hoodie. She was. Normal. Her grandmother made certain of that. But Gloria, or Glory as her Gran called her, was also extraordinarily special. The universe saw to that.
Glory laughed after she said it, knowing her Gran was much hipper than she let on. She'd heard stories. She’d seen pics.
“That’s your idea?” Gran asked while watching some TikTok videos. “You and me? That?”
“Why not?” Glory replied. “Everyone’s doing it. It’s easy. Besides, we have nothing but time on our hands.”
Glory then tossed a familiar red hoodie at her grandma. Glory wore the same style, same colour, everyday and vowed, “From my cold dead hands!" and that they’d have to bury her in one. Gran loved her granddaughter’s Heston. She’d growl every time she heard it.
“Put it on. We’ve got to match to look good.” Glory then slid a shoebox over to her Gran. “Thank you, Amazon. I ordered us the craziest ones I could find.”
Inside were a pair of Picasso-esque runners Gran thought their likes should be reserved for grungy boarder freaks or the young poser influencer wannabes of today. Not for someone who time and gravity had taken a severe disliking.
“When we post our videos, we’re going to hide our faces. Add some mystery, you know, like Daft Punk. Everyone is wearing a mask anyway. Let’s be different. I got us a couple of gas masks. The kind people use for poppers. And some funky neon shades.”
“Are you daft, punk? Gas masks? Poppers? What the hell are poppers? Who ARE you?” an exasperated Gran blurted. “I am strangely unfamiliar with this funhouse mirror image before me.”
Glory looked at her perplexed grandmother and smiled. She too was anxious, like the rest of the world, but that wasn’t going to stop them. As with others before it, it had taken its toll, and this pandemic’s time too shall pass. But Gran was at risk. High risk. Glory vowed to protect her as her Gran protected her when Glory's parents unexpectedly passed. Life was too short. Glory decided their saviour was quarantined dance.
“Gran, you know me better than you think,” Glory slyly said with a wink. “I’m my mother’s mother, remember?”
“Look!” Glory interrupted as soon as she noticed them in the mirror, hoodies and all. “Twinzies!”
So, as the world cocooned, Gran and Glory blossomed. They watched hours upon hours of shuffle videos from people all around the world. Some weren’t very good but they had fun. That was the idea. While others were simply spectacular. Their choreography, creativity, and footwork amazed. Many TikTok contributors even revived The King of Pop.
Gran learned quickly. A go-go girl never forgets. She learned. She practiced. They learned. They practiced. After a few weeks, Glory announced that they were ready. Their chosen moves rehearsed. Their impeccable timing sync’d. It was time to record and upload for the world to see.
“Are you sure?” Gran wondered aloud. “Are you absolutely frickin’ sure because I don’t feel ready?”
“That nervousness you’re feeling,” Glory said as she lovingly wrapped her arms around her adorable Gran, “Is your beautiful soul telling you that you’re still alive. And as long as you’re alive, you are ready for anything.”
To everyone in the room, she seemed like just a normal girl wearing Vans, blue jeans, and a red hoodie. She most certainly was.
“Back in the day, Coke wanted to teach the world to sing,” Gran said as she slowly scanned the teary-eyed gathering. “Last year, in the heart of darkness, our beloved Gloria wanted to illuminate the world with the power of dance. May her flame always flicker and her bright light never go out.”
Gran then stepped away from the podium and removed her funereal overcoat, revealing her granddaughter’s trademark red hoodie. Somehow no one noticed Gran had all along been wearing their kaleidoscope Van’s. Gran then put her hands in her blue jeans pockets, turned her bowed head, and whispered something to her prone dance partner behind her. Gran then faced the group.
They knew. They all, knew.
One by one, the hundreds of friends and family rose and made room. Some shuffled chairs. Others stacked them. Once the room was clear, they watched and waited in silence. Stillness once again blanketed the room. Gran then queued the funeral director to start the anthem that fuelled a quarantine shuffle craze.
As the mesmerizing beat of Friends began, the slow moving mass swayed in preparation. Just like her cancer, they knew what was coming. They’d heard the damned Letoublon song a thousand times and saw the women dance just as many because of Gran and Glory’s innumerable emails, texts, and social media posts.
In unison, the group now mimicked a stoic Gran, learning the chosen moves and preparing for the tempo change and a faster pace. All the while, they collectively repeated that one word, Gregorian chant-like chorus. Just like their Glory, it was precious.