Wednesday, 22 August 2012

114: Shall We Dance

She reminded me of Deborah Kerr when she said 'Shall we dance?' She was a better dancer than Miss Kerr, though and an even better looker. I was always so proud when she took my arm and we whirled round the dance floor. I had the proverbial two left feet but she was the kind of girl who made you want to be a better man, and that extended to dancing somehow.

We'd been stepping out a while before she let me kiss her. I'm glad really, although try telling the twenty year old me that waiting showed she was more of a lady than he ever deserved. I think she liked it deep down. If a boy didn't try to steal a kiss then a girl didn't feel pretty as her friends. I didn't dare tell her she was prettier than all of her friends put together, for fear she'd find someone more suited to her.

I still look at her now and marvel that she chose me. I had no money, few prospects and all I could offer was a promise I'd do my best by her for always. I worked hard to provide for our family and she carried the most perfect babies I've ever seen. Our boy died as an infant and she was the one who held me as I cried, the one who whispered it would all be OK. I never knew how and when she grieved but she bore the pain for us both.

Kitty, our daughter, was a miniature version of her mother. She toddled into my heart and never left. Her mother never resented our closeness but encouraged our bond, knowing I'd lost my son so my daughter was even more special. But then, she must have been just as precious to her mother for the same reason.

Now neither of us can dance any more and some days I can barely walk. Those days she blows on her hands then rubs my knees to soothe the aches. She fetches me hot water bottles and tucks me up under a tartan blanket in the best spot for watching tv. She brings me tea and chicken soup and exchanges my library books for me.

Tomorrow, knees willing, I will bring her breakfast in bed, watch her wake up and hold her hand as she sips her tea.