The last dance,
a short story about lasts,
by Marlize Venter
“Love, we’ve been invited to a black-tie event,” he says as he puts on his tie.
He can see that her thoughts are not with him, “Love, did you hear?”
“But, I’ve got nothing to wear. My hair, my nails…” she touches her hair.
“You, my girl, are a natural. I’ll come straight from work, I’ll be here just after six.” He pulls her closer and kisses her goodbye.
She’s already waiting for him as he stops the car. He can see she is nervous.
“You look like a princess,” he whispers as she puts her head under his chin. He remembers a time when they were the life of a party.
“You always say that, even when I look like a hag,” she says as he opens the door.
She is thankful that they are early. She’s never been one for crowds, and this means that they will be able to watch the people as they arrive. The evening gowns of the women take her breath away. At a stage she tries to hide her shaking hands, she does not want to upset this evening for him. He takes her hand, and softly presses it against his lips.
‘Please don’t ask me to dance,’ she silently prays.
He can sense her discomfort. She keeps fidgeting with her dress. The lights are dimmed and he can feel her relax. In the soft light she appears angelic. After all this time, she is still the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
Thankfully the speeches have been kept short and sweet and the party starts in full swing. Michael Bolton’s ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ brings a romantic interlude and he pulls her to her feet. She is so aware of how she looks, but when she looks at him, she sees the adoration in his eyes. He really does love her.
“Have I told you today that I love you?” He keeps her safe in the circle of his arms. Her only reply is to move closer. She knows he does, and she wishes he didn’t. He promised that he would be true, till death do them part. She can only hope that it will be sooner, rather than later.
She wishes that she made more effort and wore an evening gown instead of an old dress. Maybe she should have worn her hair loose or heels instead of the sandals she had on, maybe she would believe that there was still hope.
It’s just past nine when he looks at her, “You look absolutely exhausted, love. Let’s go home.” She leans against him as they walk out.
The drive takes longer than usual. He enjoys having her as a passenger, even when she sleeps. He takes comfort in her breathing.
At home he carries her from the car. She is so frail. Like many times before, he carries his bride over the threshold. He places her on their bed and greets the nurse as she takes over. And he wishes, like he did a thousand times before, that the nurse was a fairy godmother that could wave her wand and change his dying cinderella back to his wife.