One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.
Deep breath. Keep the tears at bay.
She’s made the mistake again. Chirping on like a canary at breakfast about pan fried-steak dinner plans (mashed potatoes or rice?) and how she’d love to have a brand new toaster.
But judging by his eyes-fixed on a point outside her existence-it’s clear he’d rather be watching paint dry.
She stands, begins, under the lingering cloud of his silence, to carry dishes to the sink, while he fetches his raincoat from the rack in the hall, drapes it over his arm, puts on his hat, and with leather briefcase in hand-is gone without so much as a word goodbye.
In her kitchen, she switches on the radio, plugged in next to the failing toaster. Wait Till You See Her serenades rainbow-colored ballroom bubbles that erupt as she runs an enameled dishpan full of hot soapy water.
The steam coaxes her memory out into the open-like an envelope, sealed shut, but yielding under the sultry persuasion of moisture and heat. She is at the Dixon’s party, and she’s gone into the sitting room to fetch a drink for Vance, only to bump into Glen Dixon. He seems stunned at the sight of her. Her hair, unrestrained. Her filmy rose flowered gown draped softly on her body. Are you having a good time, Lou? he flirts. Beckons her to come close, pointing to a spot on his cheek for her to plant a kiss.
Untying the strings of her yellow gingham apron, she lets it drop to the floor. Kicks off her shoes. Pulls out the pins holding up her hair. She forgets the gaudy gilded wallpaper she did not choose. Forgets her seldom used ice cream soda spoons. Forgets that the rhythm of her life, like a 5/4 beat, is almost impossible to dance to. And starts to waltz.