Linda Turner, in a flowy, sleeveless aqua top and a short black skirt, glides over the dance floor in high heels. Riding Evern Thrower Jr.'s leg.
Thrower -- everyone knows him as E.T. -- guides her effortlessly.
The tall, silent man had spent most of the night sitting by himself at Pete's Place, a Grandview nightclub where a doorman in a gray suit hands each lady a rose as she enters.
Wearing a blue-and-white shirt and a straw hat, Thrower had watched as DJ Cool played midtempo R&B classics. He'd clapped politely when, out on the black-and-white tiled dance floor, a silk-shirted guy known as Twinkletoes spun his partner -- she wore a strapless black dress and spiky heels -- in a slow catch-and-release so sexy that Twinkletoes shook his head in appreciation.
Thrower had sipped a wine cooler as the legendary Lawrence Johnson Jr. took over the floor with the cinematically named Jackie Brown. The two of them moved together like a shadow, stepping back and holding out their arms dramatically, then wrapping their legs together and slow-dancing, her hand on his moneymaker, before Johnson stepped away and grabbed at his crotch.
Thrower's applause showed respect to the talented dancers, but there was little chance he was intimidated by what he saw. He continued waiting. DJ Cool played "Sex Machine," and rows of single women filled the floor in a line dance, their lips pursed, their eyebrows funky serious as they rocked to the left, wiggled to the right and stepped back, James Brown goading them to get up ... get up ... get up. Up front was a smiling and jiggling De Barker, the most well-known woman on the club set.
When Linda Turner finally arrives after getting off work, it's Thrower's turn. The two begin circling the otherwise-empty floor, Turner tiny and lithe. He ducks under her outstretched arm as they move in sync, smooth, in the same flowing rhythm even when they're a few feet apart, he holding her outstretched hand or pulling her close with her head on his shoulder, still swirling over the black-and-white tiles.
She's on his leg. Filmmaker Rodney Thompson sees it, and records it. We see it, even though some of us don't quite know what we're noticing.
Turner knows exactly what she's doing.
"His legs tell me, and his hands," she'll say later, quietly.
They met a year ago August. Turner hadn't danced in sixteen years, but her two daughters were grown, and she'd just gone through a breakup. She needed something to do. She started going to the Old School Lounge at 88th Street and Troost, which, by virtue of its name, drew a mature crowd. One night, Thrower was there by himself, so she sat down with him. They discovered they'd both gone to Central High School, though he was older, class of '66. He went home and looked her up in the yearbook.
One night on the dance floor, he told her he'd seen her picture. It took her by surprise.
Back when they were in their twenties, they'd gone dancing at some of the same clubs -- they remember the 50 Yard Line on Fifth Street in Kansas City, Kansas, a place called Papa Doc's at 27th Street and Indiana and, after hours, A.G.'s in Bonner Springs. But they'd never seen each other.
Thirty years later, they began having long conversations on the phone. He invited her online to look at his brightly colored landscape paintings. She'd always wanted to go on a cruise, so he took her to the Bahamas.