It has been nearly fifty years since I have last been in his arms, since I have glimpsed his deep brown eyes, run my fingers through his dark hair. I am not going to dance small with my lover tonight. I slip my favourite red dancing frock over my head, fitted at the waist and flaring out just below my knees. As he twirls me around the Embassy Ballroom my skirt will twirl like a bright spinning umbrella. I sit at my maple bureau and try to recognise myself. I come back into myself. I am fifty years younger.
I carefully powder my face, then place back the powder puff; rub creamy pink rouge into my cheeks. The red lipstick glides effortlessly across my lips. I have not forgotten how to do this, how to be a young woman. Finally, I pin on the pearl earrings he gave me when I turned twenty-five and buckle my dancing shoes. I stand and look at my reflection. I am me again.
As I enter the living room, he is reclining in his favourite armchair, waiting for me. A stuffed pipe in one hand, the air heavy with his smoke like the calmness of a hearth at mid-winter. As he sees me, he drops his pipe. Time does not stand still. Time has stood still for far too long, for half a century. Now time is alive again. He rises and takes me into his gentle arms; I see the eyes of my husband, eyes I have never forgotten, and I stroke my fingers through his dark hair. He places a soft, small kiss on the corner of my mouth and we rest close together once again. He whispers into my hair, asks me if I am ready to go out dancing with him.
I am ready. I am more than ready. I have been ready to dance with my husband since March 1970; yesterday it was March 2019. We will not dance small tonight. After nearly fifty years apart, nothing will ever make me dance small with my husband again. We will dance loud, big, wide, flamboyant. We will sing, laugh, talk, trip over each other’s feet and he will catch me when I stumble.
No, I will never dance small again.