“Are you having fun?” Karen smiled, drink in hand. I nodded noncommittal.
“You don’t look like you are.” She said, a slight slur in her words.
“No, I am,” I forced a smile, “truly, I am.”
The atmosphere at Lizzie’s party was one of joy and congeniality. The music was perfect, not too loud, not too repetitive. One moment Frank Sinatra bellowed New York, New York and the whole room sang along, arms interlocked and doing the can-can. The next, the Fleetwoods crooned Mr. Blue and couples held each other while swaying to the soft beat. Rihanna sang, The Rolling Stones rocked.
I watched the guests. Karen followed my gaze.
“Oh no, Maddie, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know he was here.”
“That’s okay,” I forced another smile, “I’m fine.”
“Don’t tell me he brought her?”
“Gosh, what an ass!” She finished her drink and grabbed my hand, “C’mon, let’s dance! Don’t let him see it gets to you. There’s always at least one sad drunk at a party, and you’re not it.”
She flung me onto the dance floor, took both my hands and spun us around. Round and round we went. When we let go I let myself twirl and twirl and twirl. Years of ballet welled inside me and I let the music guide my body. Doesn’t matter what was playing, I danced and twirled and spun.
Oh, what sublime bliss!
Lizzie showed us a video of the party the next day. I’m dancing in it.
“Damn, girl,” she said, “Margot Fonteyn would eat her heart out. If you hadn’t met him, you’d be a prima ballerina now.”
“It’s not too late,” Karen squeezed my shoulders, “right, Lizzie? It’s never too late.”
They both beamed at me, radiating encouragement.
“You’re right,” I smiled back, “it’s not too late to pick up where I left off.”