The Dance

"Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself." - Havelock Ellis

The dance begins with the touch of a stranger's eyes upon her face to the sound of some silent melody.

Perhaps she had never heard it before or perhaps it had sprung to life in that instant, created for a moment in which a heart thought dead came suddenly to life and entwined with another heart buried out in the graveyard.

She told herself it was impractical so many times. He was nothing like the man she'd loved, like night to day or dark to light. Surely she was nothing like his wife. He could never exist in her world of social calls and afternoon tea; she was all but lost in his beautiful but savage wilderness.

But when he put his hands on her shoulders and spread the blanket over her she felt more than warmth to keep out the chill. She felt love.

Another came along and cut into the dance. And yet somehow before the next tune began to play she was back in his arms as if he'd always been there on the dance floor, a hand reaching for her until she was ready to return to him. He called her out onto the floor for the next dance, the next step of their lives together.

Her gown changed into a wedding dress of white lace, and gold rings entered the dance, promises and soft music. They became a family, he and she, and the children entrusted to her. A circle of love unbroken by time.

With the next step there was another, a child of their blood, visible proof of their love for each other, a little girl with her father's eyes and her mother's smiles. There were first steps and first words as she joined in the dance, as she grew a little each day and brought sunlight into their home.

Then the dark moments of the dance began, a testing of love as first their home and then their freedom was threatened. Then there was the loss of a child not yet born, dashed hopes and dreams buried in the cemetery. Somehow they held together, held each other through the storm and in their hearts through weeks and months apart. Finally the words came and they were together, a family.

They had a year together, a little more. And then their child, the piece of their heart that ran and laughed was snatched away, stolen in a senseless act of violence. They drifted apart, one numb with grief, the other frozen within a memory and a coinciding present.

Like a fairytale, a dream come true, somehow the moment became a lie, the child returned to their arms. Somewhere on the floor they found each other again, hands catching in mid-air, twining with a painful grasp as they held on.

Years pass but the music plays on. The children grow and even little Katie spreads her wings and flies to her own life. They don't forget the love, the dance.

The dance is slower now, the music but a memory, a recollection that whispers through the old house and calls down through the years with a train of laughter and sorrow behind it. His hair is shorter, streaked with grey. Her's is snow white. There's lines etched into their faces, and the hands that still clasp each other's are gnarled with age. But the eyes have not changed and the look of love so long ago still lingers.

It's on a night like this with the wind howling outside their door and the fire warm within that they lie in each others' arms and remember.

And if she dreams it's of the moment that he took her hand and the dance began.