Let your life dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of the leaf.-Rabindranath Tagore
Roger Darling and I are already on the dance floor. There’s a break in the music, but we continue dancing. I can hear our feet on the hardwood floor. Shuffle, shuffle and slide, slide. Back and forth. Then side to side. He guides me around the floor with his hand in the small of my back. My left arm drapes his shoulder. He holds my right hand in his left. There is no distance between us. The song begins and we continue to dance. He wraps both of his arms around me. I place mine gently around his shoulders and lock my fingers behind his neck. Other couples look at us. They can tell this isn’t our first slow dance. It won’t be our last. It’s been 24 years of slow dancing with him, if you count the year of dating and our engagement.
It’s late in the evening, she’s wondering what clothes to wear
She puts on her make up and brushes her long blond hair
And then she asks me, Do I look alright?”
And I say,Yes, you look wonderful tonight
I know exactly where his feet are going as he guides me around the floor. He sings in my ear. I close my eyes, and lay my head on his shoulder. I listen. I want to sing along, but keep my mouth shut for once. With my eyes closed, I still know where his feet will go. Where his feet go, mine easily follow. They always have. Whether it was on a dance floor or in life. He always made it so easy for me to follow his lead. 24 years later he still does. Or does he follow my lead in life, while I follow his on the dance floor? I always say, I keep him young and he keeps me grounded.
We go to a party and everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady that’s walking around with me
And then she asks me, Do you feel alright?
And I say, Yes, I feel wonderful tonight
Shuffle, shuffle and slide, slide. Back and forth. Then side to side. We keep dancing. Keeping rhythm to a sweet classic song by Eric Clapton. It’s Sweetest Day. A Hallmark holiday. Roger Darling made it real for us though. The memory comes to me as we sway. 24 years ago he locked me in his car just before a Fireman’s Ball. He turns to look at me and says, “I’m not going to ask you to marry me on Christmas Eve.” I stare back at him, convinced he’s breaking up with me. I’ve been down this road a time or two. I knew that it would end, because all good things did for me back then. I’m shocked as he opens his coat and extracts a velvet box from the inside pocket. He hands it to me. Tears spill from my eyes. I open it to find the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen. My engagement ring. A solitaire encircled by twenty diamonds. Along with a wedding band encrusted with ten more diamonds. I’m speechless.
I feel wonderful, because I see
The love light in your eyes and the wonder of it all
Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you
Shuffle, shuffle and slide, slide. Back and forth. Then side to side. My head is still resting on his shoulder. He’s still singing in my ear. We keep dancing. And my mind wanders back again to 24 years ago. He says, “Honey, will you?” And I say, “yes.” I hand the box back to him and say, “you need to place the ring on my finger.” He removes it from the box and slides it on. It fits perfectly. I stare at it, in wide wonder. The diamonds look dazzling, even in the reflection of the overhead light in the car. We walk inside the dance hall where we meet Roger’s family and friends. I hide my hand from everyone for the first hour. We share the news with his parents first. Happiness and well wishes spread like wildfire and we dance the night away in celebration.
The song is almost over. I look up at Rog and tell him, “the night you asked me to marry you, I thought you were breaking up with me.” He smiles and says, “I know, but I didn’t.” I tell him, “no you sure didn’t.” We keep dancing. Familiar steps, made all the more familiar with all of the slow dances we’ve had over time. The song ends. He looks at me with all the love he had for me the day he asked me to marry him. He smiles and kisses me gently on the lips. We take each other’s hand and walk back to our seats.
It’s time to go home now and I’ve got an aching head
So I give her the car keys, she helps me to bed
And then I tell her as I turn out the light
I say, My darling, you were wonderful tonight
Oh, my darling, you were wonderful tonight