I caught his eye as the music blared and the people around us headed to the dance floor. He smiled. It wasn’t his wide, happy smile. It was his I understand and it’s okay smile. I walked over, giving him my shy look, holding tight to my wine glass. He knows this look.
“You don’t want to dance,” he said.
“Yeah, I do. I need to put my glass down first.”
His smile expanded and he made no attempt to hide his surprise.
I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was the purple flowers on every table. It could’ve been the considerate efforts of our hosts, who began the evening with the shortest (but lovely) wedding ceremony ever and followed it with fresh mozzarella salad at the cocktail hour. Perhaps it was the company of friends.
It could’ve been the wine.
I felt at ease.
You know me by now. I’m rarely at ease in large groups. For years, I’ve questioned Dave regarding my wallflower tendencies. Does it bother you? Are we completely incompatible? Do you wish you married an extroverted party girl?
We joined our friends on the dance floor. Have you ever seen middle-aged white New Englander’s dance like no one’s watching? No? You should put that on your bucket list.
I fit right in.
Soon, I heard the beat of Stuck in the Middle with You. Do remember how I feel about that scene in Reservoir Dogs and Michael Madsen’s dance moves (you can read about it here)?
Dave did a perfect imitation of the dance for me.
As he showed off his moves, I stopped dancing. I was laughing so hard it was difficult to breath. I may have even clapped for him. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that back at home the grass was so high that the Princess runs through looking like Laura in the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie. It didn’t matter that he cut his hair right after I said I loved it long. It didn’t matter that he leaves his socks on the family room floor every damn night.
My man is so cool.
He even knew that when the DJ played Brown Eyed Girl , it was time to get me another glass off wine. He was listening (odd as it seems), 16 years-ago when I explained that I hated it when every drunken brown-eyed girl in every bar in college sang this song passionately, like it was all about them.
That song makes me feel excluded (like poor Rudolf), because my eyes are green.
So, when that glass of wine was nearly done and I had found my way to the table with the cupcake tower (yeah, baby!), I begged him to request Abba. Apparently this is far worse than asking him to pick up tampons or monistat on his way home from work.
“The DJ may not understand me! You know, like when I try to call to order Chinese food.” The true problem is that I don’t understand the person who answers the phone. I place my order and hope for the best. If he asks questions, I repeat everything. So I was worried that I wouldn’t understand the DJ. He could have a severe Boston accent. I once went to Maine and I had to use hand gestures to communicate. It wasn’t pretty.
He said no at first, so I asked Allen (the best man at the wedding and the guy who told Dave to cut his hair). It wasn’t clear if he made the request. Maybe he wore out his voice giving his speech (which may have been longer than the ceremony), so I begged Dave until he gave in.
Then the dance floor filled with women who were not 17 but wanted to feel like they were 17. And dancing queens. He came along with me, to twirl me around 70’s style, to catch me when I stumbled in my too-high heels and to ham it up for the photographer who seemed to think he was pretty cool too – or ridiculous -I’m not sure.
This all made me so happy that I stayed when Abba ceased, to dance to Tone Loc and Bobby Brown.
At some point I had a major realization. I typically think I need quiet, peaceful spa like conditions to relax and restore my health, to feel better. Maybe I need to eat the cupcakes, drink the wine and dance.
And more than that – yes, there’s more – we all need someone to hold the space for us to be who we are along the way, without pushing, rushing or forcing us to be different, because pushing isn’t love. It sends the message that you aren’t good enough right now, as you are.
That’s what Dave has given me, right from the start. He’s given me the freedom to be a wallflower (or not), the freedom to do things differently and to be a tad eccentric now and then.
And when I’m ready to dance, he’s right there waiting to twirl me, catch me and laugh with me.
Happy 14th Anniversary Dave. <3