Phewww… this makes 3 posts in one day. I definitely need to go back to a more sedate posting schedule! Thank you to all the lovely people who’ve stayed with me during this marathon. I’ve opened up comments again and I’d love to hear your reactions to the story of Miira. This last excerpt isn’t the end of her story but it is a good point at which to end my marathon… and yours! Enjoy.
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Despite Emily’s assertion that male residents were only interested in outsiders, Miira found she had no lack of dance partners – perhaps because she was the new girl and hence interesting. A few did proposition her, but most seemed happy just to dance.
It was well after mid-night when the frenetic pace of the dancing finally began to slow down a bit. The music probably had something to do with it. The orchestra was playing more slow numbers now and many of the couples were just shuffling around dreamily.
The sight of so many people snuggling as they danced stirred something painful in Miira. She and Gem had danced like that, back when the world was young…
Mumbling an excuse about needing to powder her nose, she left the table and threaded her way to the outer edge of the festivities where the air was cooler and the guests more sparse. And that was where she literally bumped into Kenneth Wu. He was just coming back towards the light when they collided in the dark.
“Ouch,” she said as he trod on her foot.
“Miira? I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you.”
“That’s okay,” she said ruefully. “I didn’t see you either.”
“What are you doing out here?” he asked, a note of concern in his voice.
“Just getting some air,” she said. “It was all getting a bit much back there.”
“I know the feeling,” he said. “But you really shouldn’t wander too far without one of us around.”
“Why not?” Miira laughed. “Are you scared I’ll be mugged?”
“No, of course not!”
The strains of a three-four melody sounded from the dance floor, and Miira made a small ‘oh’ sound as she recognized the music.
“Oh nothing,” she said, a hint of embarrassment in her voice. “It’s just that this is a waltz…”
“And you like waltzes?”
“Yes,” she admitted. “Especially this one. It’s the Blue Danube waltz.”
“Well, if you don’t mind your foot getting mangled some more, I sort of know how to do this one…”
“Are you asking me to dance Dr. Wu?”
“Then let’s go,” Miira said as she turned towards him, arms raised.
“Because I can hardly see your feet?”
“You don’t have to see my feet, silly, just listen to the music!”
As Kenneth moved to put his arm around her waist their knees bumped painfully.
“Not a great start…” he muttered.
“Shhh…. don’t think, just dance!”
Their first few turns were awkward and stiff, and he did step on her toes again, but as the music swelled, something magical began to happen. Bit by bit their feet found the right rhythm and stopped trying to go in different directions, and where their feet went, their bodies seemed to follow, melting into the music until they were both one with the dance.
To Miira the waltz felt like an extension of the dream she had had about Gem, and for a short while she forgot that Gem was gone. She forgot was dancing with her doctor. She forgot he was half her age, and she forgot that her real body was lying in a box somewhere. Held close by strong arms, she forgot everything but the joy of moving to the music…
And then, in the middle of a phrase, the music stopped.
As Miira and Kenneth came to a halt they could hear Jason making some sort of announcement in the distance. It was greeted with cheers and laughter from the crowd but the two of them did not move, did not speak. It was as if they were fozen in a moment outside of time, waiting for the music to bring them to life again. But when the music did begin it was a foxtrot, not a waltz. The moment was over.
“Thank you,” Miira said with regret as the magic blew away on the evening breeze.
Kenneth’s teeth flashed white in the dim light, but instead of releasing her, he began to hum in a surprisingly good baritone. The melody was the Blue Danube and Miira found herself humming along as he drew her back into the dance.
Round and round they went, sweeping through the great circles of the waltz, while everyone else danced the foxtrot. It was as if the two of them inhabited a parallel dimension in which they danced alone. And when the music finally released them, the kiss was as natural as breathing.
I spent hours trying to find a video clip that featured both the music and ballroom dancers dancing this waltz, but it was all one or the other, never both. I finally settled for this one because Von Karajan was one of my favourite conductors… and the ballet sequence does have that dreamy feel to it.