The atmosphere was splendid. White table clothes, the clink and clang of silver and glassware, conversation and laughter. Most everyone seemed happy at the family event. My wife was putting on a good face and trying not too be overly perturbed by my sister’s impertinent comments. The band was good, I recognized a few of them from the open-mic jazz night at the small hole-in-the-wall hipster cafe downtown, and they had been running through old swing standards as folks danced across the floor in the middle of the room. I was certainly enjoying myself. It was moments like these that I thought that marriage and family life wasn’t half bad. My wife and I had our problems, but each day was another day to start again. We’d had our arguments and issues the last few days, but tonight perhaps we could put it behind us, right?
As the band finished another number, I got up, and straightening my dinner jacket, excused myself to the restroom. Walking by the stage I gestured to the vocalist who’d been crooning away all night and whispered to him, he nodded and I strode back around to our table. The rhythm section took off, I caught my wife’s eye. She gave me a knowing look when she recognized the song (we only had two songs she and I, and this was one of them), I just smiled back and held out my hand, after a moment she got up and took it as I led her to the dance floor.
“A country dance was being held in a garden, I felt a bump and heard an ‘oh beg your pardon’, suddenly I saw, polka dots and moonbeams all around a pug nosed dream…”
My wife put her hand on my shoulder as I put my arm around her waist and we twirled off across the floor. I’ll admit, I’m a terrible dancer, so was my wife to be fair. But it hardly mattered what anyone else thought, my wife and I just spun and floated across the room, off into moonlit clouds above the restaurant.
I sat and let the memory wash over me as the song played on the car radio. I smiled at the poignancy, though a grimace formed at the line,
“Now in a cottage built of lilacs and laughter, I know the meaning of the words ‘ever after’…”
But, it had all had meaning, at least to me, it hadn’t been a waste, despite the horrible things I did in the end. It didn’t matter if everyone from the outside saw two average-bordering-on-terrible dancers, that hardly mattered those moments when it was just the two of us dancing on the clouds. I hope at least one day, those moments will mean something to her as they do to me.