Tuesday, November 17, 2009
“Come on, please. This is a good one.”
Couples fox-trot in a kaleidoscope of bright colours, of bare shoulders, of black or white dinner jackets, and sparkling jewellery.
“I don’t dance.”
His words fall like pieces of wet felt, a tiny, insignificant smack on the terracotta floor.
The music swirls in the supple waves of her hair, tickles her shoulders, goes down to her ankles, lionesses in the tall grasses, quivering with the anticipation of the rush. In her mind, she is away already. Only her soul struggles with the chill threatening to close again the fragile breach that the music opened in her prison’s walls.
“What’s the point?” he says.
How exasperating the act of pounding against opaque walls of inertia, of indolence, of plain ill will. A hopeless sea, crashing against an immutable shore, never destined to erode it.
“What’s the point of breathing?”
“Life, that’s the point of breathing.” Annoyed.
Oxygen taken to the cells by the blood. Carbon dioxide coming out. An exchange. Nothing poetic about it.
“Music is oxygen for your soul. Dance carries it.”
“Cut it out.” His voice is like a brick. “Not for me. I don’t have any use for such nonsense. Besides, we’ve discussed this before. I do not dance.”
Anger bubbles inside her.
“I can’t believe it. We didn’t even dance at our wedding.”
She notices him then, the way a mariner glimpses a lighthouse in the darkest of storms. Her heart stops, then flutters. A handsome young stranger, watching her. Surely willing to dance. She can see it in his serious eyes, in his rueful hint of a smile. How easy it could be. How impossible. Take his hand, lean into it, feel its warmth, its tender guidance. She dares another glance. He is right there, watching her quietly, the tiniest frown darkening his brow, the tiniest smile narrowing his eyes. What would she do if he came to her? Asked her to dance? Took her in his arms? She looks down at the sparkling silver, at the immaculate tablecloth.
“You’re crazy. Would you stop mentioning that stupid thing?”
The knot of regret and frustration is swelling up in her throat, menacing to reach the lakes of her eyes, to overflow them.
“But it’s true,” she says. “It ruined everything. I should’ve realised then…”
The stranger is still watching her, his gaze almost soothing. She desperately longs to be cradled in his arms.
“You’re overreacting, as always.”
“Why the hell are we even here?” Too pale a comfort found in a coarse word, when she would really like to scream.
“You wanted to come. Finish your food now. We should go. This noise gives me a headache.”
No, she cannot leave now. She needs to prolong the illusion if only for another moment. She can’t possibly discard there, like a dirty napkin, this dream of absolute happiness. She needs to float for a while longer in the cocoon of that stranger’s regard, to feel… She wants to…
“Hurry up! We paid the nanny till eleven.”
She stands up mechanically, her legs suddenly leaden, the swirl inside her nauseating. She knows it’ll swallow her soul. Again.
As they walk out, she doesn’t look at him, the handsome stranger, for she knows that if she does, and if he's still watching her, she might, she will do something desperate, and she’s afraid to shatter this perfect dream.
Not yet. One day. Next time. Next time.