a dance

There was a dance. When what was left of the snow was reduced to a few hard edged patches in the tundra finally melted, the commissary dining hall was draped in white organza and strung with thick multicolored lights left over from the Christmas dinner. Indigo lupine was brought in by the children, who gathered it during their recess from lessons in woven baskets. Several of the men in caves could play instruments, and so a small band was set up, consisting mainly of fiddles, guitars, along with a trumpet and saxophone.

Adam wasn’t sure he was going. He wasn’t sure how he’d feel in a room with all of the men and all of their wives and children running joyously on the polished wood floors in the patent leather shoes that finally could be worn instead of mukluks or black galoshes. He knew that Justine would be there in a star-colored dress, a dress that was tight around her chest and flowed down to the floor. He knew this because she wore it for him the day it arrived in the valley, hidden in a white box with a black ribbon. Blake had ordered it from Seattle, having called Frederick and Nelson’s, he had whispered  Justine’s measurements into the phone to the manager of the evening wear department.  Blake wanted something for Justine that resembled like dancing stars, full of white and silver, and what they had sent indeed looked celestial. He imagined her walking around the dance, sipping drinks, laughing with her whole body…Blake hadn’t seen his wife like that for a long time.

Adam didn’t want to see Justine and Blake dancing. He didn’t want to wear his nice suit and have to compare how he looked in it to how Blake looked in his finest, which he knew was a black tuxedo because Justine had told him so. He didn’t want to think about how Blake would hold the small of Justine’s back and steer her strongly across the floor. Adam didn’t know how to dance at all, having spent his youth on front porches, forests, libraries…not at school or college dances.

Blake had acquired Justine’s measurements by seduction. He was very good at that,  and she still fell backwards on their bed with complete submission and abandon almost every time he practiced the art.  Every time. Her affair with Adam didn’t throw cold water on the fire of her relationship with Blake, if anything, it was like gasoline. She felt full of love and heat.  On the night that Blake acquired Justine’s measurements, he rooted around in her sewing kit for the measuring tape, and then pinned her down on the bed while he wrapped the smooth tape around her chest, her waist, her hips…he didn’t know anything about measurements – what was too big or too small by society’s standards, so Justine gave herself up without a drop of reserve and smiled coyly , staring up at the ceiling as Blake worked. He wrote down the measurements (40, 30, 40) on a scrap of paper and then returned to Justine, burying himself in her.  Justine doesn’t tell Adam how Blake still makes her feel, how strong he is, how much he can move and control her. Lots of things are still sacred about their marriage, and Justine likes shutting the door to the world firmly when it comes to her and Blake. Adam and their affair is another Universe all together to her, a Universe that only exists for the hour between twelve and one p.m. Blake has the rest of her.


"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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