We put our four Van Morrison CDs on random this afternoon, cranked up the volume, and gave ourselves two hours to clean the house. When “Tupelo Honey” came on, just as Michael was picking up the rugs in the kitchen, I grabbed him for a Valentine dance.
We glided and twirled around the kitchen, stumbling now and then over the rolled up rugs. “Am I doing all right at following?” I asked.
Which question led to the following exchange.
M: I think we’re good now.
S: You’ve finally learned how to lead. I kept saying, “You have to lead! You have to lead!”
M: But you wouldn’t let me.
Which was true. It was like our arguments over kitchen work. I didn’t want him in my kitchen, but I also didn’t want to do all the work. I wanted him to lead on the dance floor, but resisted when he did.
S: You didn’t know how to dance with a woman.
M: I never learned, no. And I wasn’t used to leading you anywhere. You were older, the authority figure. I followed.
Until one day when he didn’t. Now, we dance close, then spin away. One of the dogs nuzzles us as if afraid we’ll crash into the fridge or garbage can. But we don’t. Michael leads, with a firm but gentle hand on my back. And I — most of the time — follow.