Eyes like mine stared back at me as the sharp words cut through the air between us.
We knew this dance by heart and over 31 years had perfected the steps and turns; glides and twirls that it took to sway lightly or kick dangerously to the beat.
Our music was familiar: loud, banging voices; harsh tones; interruptions. No room for explanations or empathy, just accusations and blame. Shoulda, coulda, why didn’t you’s!
And it was soft and sweet, loving and kind, comfort and honesty, I love you’s and are you okay’s.
In perfect symmetry our movements matched and the crowd parted, giving us the room we needed, as they’d done for so many years.
Ending our dance before it was over I wrapped my hands around his neck and told him it would be okay.
He didn’t need to be nervous or anxious. He didn’t have to be sad.
I was still here.
He said he was fine.
But I could tell by looking in his eyes, the ones that are the same as mine; that he wasn’t.
I held his hand and squeezed, because what else do you say to a father as he prepares to give his daughter away?
As he prepares to give up a piece of his heart?
You just sway to the song you’ve always known and hope he knows you’ll always be there to dance.