Sunday, June 1, 2014

Aunt of the Bride

I watched the people dancing. Shimmying. I imagined a matronly in-law waving me over to the dance floor to nurse a song or two. You've seen it before. Two lonely hearts at vastly different points of their reproductive years, defying predicament together. The two of us, generations apart, dancing together in lively unison at a wedding. One unlucky in love duo showing friends and family a glint of optimism despite it all. That all we have is the moment.

There she is. She is, big hair, big jewelry, big dress. And it is happening. She is asking me to dance with her, offering the aforementioned opportunity to throw caution to the wind. Let me start by saying, I am not that easy. I will not go quietly into mass movement. I have my limits where mutual motion is involved. Which is why I'm first refusing her with a smile and side to side head shake like "no, better not". Not tonight. Like I'm charming or something. But Surprise, Surprise. She, the matronly in-law, is not easily dissuaded. She responds without hesitation and waves again. Like, get over here mister! It's only just begun. There is an engine on this woman. She is throwing everything at me but the kitchen sink. Her focus is zeroed in. She is the Washington Wizards version of Michael Jordan and I am the long retired Toni Kukoc. She is casting a dazzling spell with mustered torso gyrations and still-got-it hip thrusts, albeit limited in their range of motion these days but still potent. Potent in the way they draw authority from the eye. Watching her amplify her sexuality from the near-bottom floor of post-menopause, is almost like being involved in miracle. A resuscitation not unlike CPR in an episode of Baywatch. I can't precisely explain the phenomena. It's almost like the stacked against cards of her diminishing biology seem to imply a gigantic reason to indulge a lady, or G-d. But I have my reasons. I'm stubborn too. I've told you that. I will not go quietly into mass movement. I've told you that. I'm cooly responding to her by miming that it's very much appreciated but still a no-go. And I'm almost sorry on the inside. I'm almost sorry.

It should be over soon.

Then it turns. She decides to play dirty. She's winning over the crowd's attention. Their faces are like floating masks. Indigenous floating masks of festive island people. Like the discombobulating movements of insects. A fluid cavalcade. A wasp's nest broken open and spilled outward. Their warped expressions communicating assuredly that I'll soon be joining them. It's only a matter of time. She is the de facto queen, by virtue of her energy, and I am a flower, by virtue of my roots. What a woman. She is brash and confident. She is pushing all of her chips into the pot. It's all in. Checkmate. I am cornered. I am as good as hooked. She is sauntering towards me like, c'mon, it's just one song!

The final move is grace, and desperate, and perfection. She is Hawaiian luau side-stepping between the tables and never missing a beat to the music. It's all in harmony with the wedding universe. Two forces must meet and now she is inevitably close enough to me that she's bridging our distance with an outstretched hand, nails done, about to arrive on my arm. And me, I can hear myself. It sounds like someone else but it's coming from deep inside. I know this to be true. Rattling my lungs. Altering my foot sweat. I'm yelling, way too loud for privacy but defiantly angry, NO! I said NO! What don't you understand about that?! Before I know what's happening I'm yelling NO!

And me, I'm standing there. It's silent. You could hear a cuff link drop. As men do in movies, I'm buttoning my blazer buttons, top and bottom, and then unbuttoning the lower one. I am not Don Draper. I am looking around like, the gall of some people. And she is, she is crouched and side-stepping away, wounded. And me, me I'm withdrawing a comb out of my back pocket and brushing my used car salesman head of hair. The follicles feathering up in soft waves.

And the party, the party is still quiet, band stopped, you could hear a life of broken promises and domestic agony drop if not for the messy gigantic body-convulsive-weeping of the tender-hearted, matronly, in-law who only wanted a young man to come out of his shell, cut a lil rug, and make a memory or two. And there I am, getting escorted from the premises by a usually good-natured uncle who smells like martinis. And there is applause. You make me wanna shout. Kick my heels up and shout. Throw my hands up and shout. They owe it to the night, to themselves, to forget.

I snapped out of it and watched them dancing. Shimmying. Having imagined this premise, I could hardly contain it. And so I walked outside, where people were smoking. And I imagined one of the grandfathers asking me to dance.