Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Dance

            “Let’s go home, “ he said.
            “I’m not ready,” she said.
            “I see that.” He sighed—physically, not audibly. His shoulders slumped, mouth tightened, eyes glazed, muscles in his face clenched just enough to hollow the skin below those high cheekbones. She almost touched his face in apology, put her hand on the high, hard bone of his left cheek, to say not too much longer. Let me stay just a few more minutes.
            Which would have been a lie, so she didn’t do it. She wanted an hour or hours, not minutes. She wasn’t ready to go, not even close. Which he probably knew. She met his eyes briefly—blue as the sky is blue and so clear. Open. Vulnerable. He was a big man, Stopped measuring at six feet five, he said. Felt like a freak, so I didn’t want to know. Big, broad frame, no fat, nothing extra. What you see is what you get, he’d said that first day over coffee in the shop with the chairs and tables too small for him. He looked out of place, uncomfortable but there to meet her. She was exactly in place. She knew how well her body suited the chair and table, knew what happened to her blouse when she leaned towards him, how bright her smile, how lovely her voice. She knew, and he saw and stayed in that awkward chair with his back to the door where the wind rushed in every time it opened. It lifted his hair, and she knew he was cold. She didn’t feel it. His big body shielded her from the cold.
            She remembered all that in the flash of his tightened cheek and was sorry, but she couldn’t go. The music had started again. Somebody would ask her to dance—it always happened—her glass of wine, her third glass, was half full. He only drank one—one of my rules, he said, which were numerous.
            “Let’s go home,” he said just as she rose to dance. Jerome Somebody.  Not much to look at, but he could dance. And that’s what she wanted just now, dancing, dancing, dancing.
            "Why so sad, Sweetheart?” Jerome’s wide hand on her waist held her to him.
            She blinked and smiled, the smile that always worked. “I’m not sad when I’m dancing,” she said and wished it were still true.

© 2012 Kathleen Coskran

© 2012 Kathleen Coskran

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