I turned to my left and I saw my reflection in the mirror, I looked beautiful, No Exquisite… that’s the word. My dress was the purest of whites and I felt flawless. I admired myself and turned around a few times to see my reflection on the mirrored wall. The Hall of mirrors, that’s the name of the hall in which I stood. A smile crept up the corner of my lips, what was I thinking, I must have been crazy to name the hall that. Well, my father owned the event center and country side lodge so I had the privilege to throw in a few abstract designs of my own that at that time looked good inside my head. Now though the hall of mirrors is used mainly for dance classes…
“It’s time, you’re about to be called out.”
The voice caught me by surprise. I had resided into my thoughts that I didn’t see or hear Elohor walk up to me.
“Well okay then, here we go”.
I stepped ahead of her and waited then at Elohors signal, the music started playing and I walked up the isle smiling and looking from side to side at the people who where sitting on either side of the hall and smiling at me. Earlier this morning I had gone through this same process that I’m repeating now, only it was in a church and not a property owned by my family and I was single not married. Hmm now I’m married and I was walking down a hall filled with family and friends. Walking towards my husband, my bestie… he’s my pot and I’m his kettle… oh how funny the names we call each other.
I was dancing mechanically forward towards my husband and the grooms men who where already dancing in front on the make shift stage. I got there and my husband took my hand and we danced for a while, we had planned it all out perfectly and the routine was flawless and perfect in its execution. As the song was about to end, David turned me around to do a twirl and mid twirl I saw him. Face beaming and eyes fixed on me. JESUS…!!!
“What is it?” David asked me. “Why did you just exclaim?”
“It’s nothing”, I said. And then the song ended and we bowed as the crowd applauded.
It time for the Father-Daughter dance the MC announced and my dad stood up and took my hand. We danced slowly and he whispered blessings and more blessings of a happy and peaceful home to me.
I need all the luck I can get, I thought to myself.
You see, memory is a funny thing, I have the very rare ability to walk away from people and situations and almost immediately forget about their existence. Then interaction becomes a mechanical non conscious process. All I need to do is order my brain to shut those doors and they’re shut forever, or so I thought.
It’s my wedding day and the one day where I need those doors tightly shut, my memory decides to blow them wide open like a hurricane does to a screen door. How nice… thanks brain.. you picked the perfect time to screw me over.
There was something wrong, I suddenly felt lost and hollow. My dress felt hot and heavy on my body and I lost my smile. I suddenly could smell the blood from hunt nights past and everything he taught me came back in a rush as I twirled on that dance floor.
The events just went by and by and the party was drawing to a close. I had not as much as smiled since I saw him smiling at me. He always liked to watch me dance. He said hunting was like a dance with nature. A bloody dance with nature. Hmm… I sighed and David immediately took my hand and squeezed it. David had been my best friend for as long as I can remember and he knew me pretty well even though he always said he can never entirely figure me out.
My husband leaned in, whispered in my ear, kissed my neck and stood up, he called the best man and they both walked out the hall. What are they up to now! A groom shouldn’t just walk away like that. All he said was “baby excuse me, give me a minute” and he was gone. Maybe he wanted to go pee.
Few minutes later Elohor came to whisper into my ear that David requested my presence. I looked around to see the guests having the time of their life, eating, drinking and looking at the slide show of our memories in pictures. As I stood up a picture of my mother flashed into view on the projector screen. My heart did a summersault as I saw her picture. Oh I wish she were here. Oh dear…!!! Another screen door just opened in my mind. My emotions were shooting out through my eyes like laser beams. I stole another glance at him before walking towards the exist. He was looking at the screen and frowning. He seemed somewhat sad seeing my mum’s picture on the screen. I saw him turn to look at my dad.
I followed Elohor into one of the country huts to find David standing there, wine glass in hand waiting for me, I think. Well it’s not actually a hut, it’s a room, with an African touch. Another of my handiwork.
“What are you doing here darling? We should be with the guests”, I said.
Well you seem very gloomy and I think I know why, I can’t stand to see my wife look like she’s at my funeral when it actually is our wedding reception.
“Baby I love you very much and you know I normally won’t do this but I think you deserve one more dance before the day is over.”
I blinked and thought, what is this man saying? I looked at him blankly, that was my way of saying I’m as lost as a lone sheep on a mountain top
He smiled, then the door opened and Elohor walked in and whispered something to David. He nodded then she opened the door again and there he was. Standing right at the door.
I immediately started sweating profusely, my bladder felt full and I was sure I was going to pass out.
David said, “Well Sir, please come in. We’re sorry for the inconvenience but my wife here wants nothing more than to have a father-daughter dance with you so I thought well maybe we could work something out. Sir will you please oblige us?”
“Ah… so my girl wants a dance now does she?” He said, his voice was sharp and crisp as always. “Well then, it’d be my honor.”
He smiled and stepped forward, made a funny move that made Elohor burst into laughter. The best man had brought a small Bluetooth speaker stuff with an iPod and David queued up the music. Dolly Parton’s version of “I will always love you” started to play and I stepped forward a little too eager to have that dance. The trio of groom, best man and bride’s maid stepped out of the room, closing the door behind them.
My teacher took my hand and placed it on his shoulder. Placing one hand on the arch of my back he took my other hand we danced slowly and clumsily. I was scared to even breath. Then he pulled me closer and said, “relax child, you’d be fine.” I closed my eyes and drew a breath, my entirety unraveled like a flower in bloom. I perceived his cologne.
“This is nice”, I said.
“Why did you leave, why did you not turn to say goodbye?”, he asked softly, totally disregarding the comment I just made.
“I forgot I said, that’s why.”
“Why did you forget? How could you forget?”
“I wanted to forget. I thought I wanted to forget. It seemed best at that time.”
“But was it best?” He asked.
“I remember now, everything… I remember everything… it’s clear to me now.”
“Is it?” He asked.
“Yes”, I answered, my words barely a whisper.
The song ended and another started. This time it was Leonard Cohen’s “Dance me to the end of love”. I quickly walked to the table where the iPod was and clicked the “Next” button and the song “You want it darker” started playing.
“Now that’s better”, he said. “Another dance?”
“Yes please”, I replied.
This time I just laid my head on his shoulders taking in his scent and allowing him to do most of the moving.
“You will never again forget”, he said.
“No, never again”, I replied, then suddenly I burst into tears, sobbing like a grieving mother. I cried so hard that I fell to the floor, my bones unable to support my body anymore. He lifted me from the floor and held me to himself saying “there, there child”.
The song ended and he stepped back from me as I lifted my head. He held the sides of my face in his hands as he had done five years ago. He gave a low growl and kissed my forehead. I didn’t want that but I couldn’t complain.
“Remember child, Dogs and Wolves share ninety percent of their DNA but I’ve lived long enough to know they are much more different than one can imagine.” He had lived very long. He was almost three hundred human years old.
I smiled and said, “and jackals?”
“They just laugh”, he said.
He turned to leave and once again I was plunged into this very painful darkness.
Soon after my best friend and husband walked in smiling softly at me but I could not return the smile because at that moment I realized that I will never forget.