The Dining Room Waltz

She’s leading, I’m talking first but she leads. I can barely remember the steps.

I can do this. I can just look at Amber and smile. I can just say the words.

“How was your day honey?”

She looks back and she gives me a toothy grin with twice the sincerity I’m capable of. It makes me wonder how many times shes lied before. I know the our time has past but it still unnerves me.

“Well, Columbus Day is a bank holiday, so I did a little shopping.”

“Buy any lingerie?”

I rib with a flirtatious facade. I’m thinking of baseball right now. I’m the one who wanted this, can’t back out now.

“Ew, gross.”

Katrina’s voice is unmistakable, even if she is obscured by the roast beef. She’s five and doesn’t quite know we’re separated yet. Calvin is sixteen, and I think he knew before we did. He’s being very calm, with the type of patience usually attributed to a bomb disposal technician. I can see the little bit of tension in his eyes. If I screw Kat up, he probably won’t talk to me for months. He’s strategically keeping his mouth occupied.

“No sweety, I bought this purse.”

It’s black leather and could easily be used as a hat.

“Oh it’s nice.”

I’ve never had any clue what a nice purse is. Amber doesn’t hold that against me. I could lie and say I never noticed the small things but that’s not true. It wasn’t some erosive force that did us in, it just sort of died in us. We tried, we really did but sometimes that kind of love just goes out.

“Pass the peas.”

Amber touches my hand and I remember how kind she can be. In a few weeks, I’ll introduce Kat to Sherry and we’ll slowly ease her into her second home. Right now, I’m remembering just how divine a dancer Amber is.

Tom and Amber are just fine and they have two lovely children.

That’s what I’ll say when people ask me how I am.


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