The Martian (2015)

The Martian (2015)

Going back to my space theme, I finally got around to watching The Martian recently – it has been on my to-watch list for awhile. I was interested to see it because the book that the film was based on claimed to be quite scientifically accurate and thus I wanted to see how well they translated the science into the film; I was also unsure about watching a film about a man being stranded on Mars. It seemed like it had the potential to be amazing or to be boring and cerebral, as many sci-fi films involving stranded characters can be.

Luckily, The Martian is relatively lighthearted and very realistic. The main characters, especially our stranded hero, are entirely relatable. They are quirky, funny, dedicated, and believable. While Matt Damon as the titular Martian Mark Watney (well, stranded astronaut, but I digress) is the heart of the film, his supporting cast are just as important. We see both our plucky hero struggling to survive and the concerted effort on the ground to get him home again. The emotions that the supporting characters go through – from their sadness at losing Watney to their dread at realising that he is stranded to their adrenaline-filled determination to get him back – are exactly what I would expect from people in such a situation.

That is indeed what is magical about this film – it feels almost like a documentary in how realistic it is. Nothing seems too far-fetched. The technology is slightly further ahead of ours (the film is set in the 2030s), but nothing out of the question from what we already have. Great attention to detail was put into this film, even when they are not explicitly stated.

What I especially appreciated about The Martian was its endless optimism – not just about rescuing Watney, but about human collaboration in general. Watney is a fairly typical American hero at the beginning, but he comes to represent humanity as a whole. The world comes together, at least in spirit, to bring a human back to Earth. It is not about prestige, but about advancing our common knowledge and pulling together for a common cause.

In our current climate, pulling together for a common cause can seem hopelessly out of reach. It seems that increasing political polarization is artificially dividing us more strongly than any national borders, religious divides, or natural barriers. While missions to Mars may seem more glamourous than adapting to (and helping to prevent further) climate change or combating inequalities among peoples, we need to work together on these causes. It is not about leaving the planet, but dealing with it. We can only do that if we recognise that we are all humans – Earthlings, not Martians – and we cannot let ourselves be divided. For now, this planet is our only home.

Furthermore, if we are to eventually go to Mars, we need to do it together. Sure, a bit of competition could be helpful to get things started, but for any long-term goals to be accomplished, all humans of all nationalities need to cooperate and support each other in the endeavour to turn any other planets into a new home.

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Perhaps continuing in the vein of disturbing pretexts for relationships, Beauty and the Beast is not without controversy. The original fairy tale entirely involves Belle being sold to the Beast by her father and learning to love him; the 1991 Disney film updated the heroine and made the story be rather about the Beast being tamed. The 1991 film has been one of my favourites since childhood and I have to admit that I never thought that Belle fell in love with the Beast simply because she had to. The story was always very clear that the Beast was the one who needed to earn her love.

The 2017 live-action Disney film follows the same premise as its predecessor – namely, that the Beast needs to learn to love Belle and earn back her love (and in the process, also learning to love himself, which seems to be a new addition, or at least more overtly displayed). The fact that Belle is kept as his prisoner in his castle – albeit a very large castle with lots of freedom within it – seems to be the biggest hurdle for some viewers to overcome. However, as is made plainly obvious in the films (and in the original fairy tale too, for that matter), the Beast cannot earn Belle’s love until he releases her from being his prisoner. She falls in love with him because they both have common interests and because she is lonely, but she still cannot wholeheartedly love him because she is afraid of being eaten.

Now that we’ve got that awkward bit out of the way…

The remake of Beauty and the Beast is just as enchanting as its predecessor. The effects are stunning, the characters are believable, the plot holes are mostly solved, and the music is powerful. The new songs are gripping and the old favourites have a lot more staying power when they are sung by real people onscreen. (I suppose that it does help that there is a stage version of the show already.) The story lends itself well to being a movie musical without being cartoonish. The new and expanded characters feel intrinsic to the story and it is easy to forget that they did not exist in the animated version.

The one tiny problem was Emma Watson as Belle. She did a wonderful job in the role and she embodies everything that Belle should be (in real life) – but therein lies the issue. While all of the other characters felt real, Belle came across a bit too much like “Emma Watson playing Belle”. This is likely due to the fact that all of the other actors, to varying extents, are disguised. Belle, on the other hand, doesn’t even have the brown hair that she does in the 1991 film! Would it have been too much out of the budget for Emma to dye her hair brown? Or wear a brown wig, as many of the actresses who have played Belle onstage have done? When so much attention has gone into making the other actors fit into their roles, the fact that they basically left Emma untouched is jarring. Honestly, the audience would still recognize her with brown hair! But she would have seemed a bit more like Belle.

I am not going to really complain about Emma’s singing – I thought it was fairly good and perfectly how I would expect an eighteenth-century Frenchwoman with no singing training to sound like. Unfortunately, not all of her lyrics were adapted to suit her voice. They were written for Broadway belters, who seem quite out of place in a live-action film.

Otherwise, I was simply mesmerized by the film – and not just because I was stuck staring at it through 3D glasses awkwardly propped over my existing glasses (and therefore could not look away for fear of being extremely disoriented). It was everything that it promised to be.

Was it better than its predecessor?

Yes, in the sense that it feels richer and more complete. Yes, in the sense that it feels more magical and yet more realistic. No, in the sense that both are wonderful movies films with different strengths. I enjoyed them both.

And eventually, I’m going to have to watch this one in French too.

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Passengers (2016)

Passengers (2016)

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was intrigued. Truth be told, I was intrigued by the premise itself. Here was a story about being trapped in space that did not seem to involve murderous aliens or a government conspiracy. It really was just about two people stuck on a ship that malfunctioned. Ordinary folk caught up in something bigger than themselves.

There was a lot of criticism of this story, mostly of the nature of the relationship of the two leads. As an audience, we are led to believe that the main characters have fallen in love, but our Earth-minded sensibilities keep us from appreciating the enormity of the situation and how unusual it would be.

Short synopsis: A man wakes up prematurely from cryogenic hibernation aboard a ship on autopilot toward a colony on a planet. The reasons why are unknown to him, but he has woken up 90 years too early, and he is entirely alone. He is a mechanic by trade, not an engineer or anyone with any training on how to run the ship. He doesn’t even have access to first-class meals, let alone working areas of the ship that would normally be manned by the crew. His only company is a robot bartender. After a year, after much agonizing over the decision, he wakes up a woman whom he has fallen for from reading her work and watching videos of her from the ships database. She eventually falls in love with him over the course of the following year. Meanwhile, the ship continues to decline and they have to figure out how to save themselves, but this takes a backseat to their relationship, especially when the woman discovers that she was woken up on purpose.

I found the story surprisingly plausible. When you are trapped alone with the prospect of never interacting with another living human being for the rest of your life, you would not think rationally. Humans are social creatures. It is only natural that the man would wake up someone else. It was an entirely selfish act, but he is shown both agonizing over it and then being repentant. The woman also had the choice to fall in love with him or not – even if it was heavily guided by loneliness and biology. Two people alone on a spaceship is not a normal situation, and thus normal rules are insufficient to analyse it.

More importantly, the characters are also symbolic of humanity as a whole. We do not get to choose who we are stuck with on our planet. Our rational choices are checked by our instincts and desires. We are not experts in how to fix our planet, but we have to try. We also have to trust our experts, even if they seems to treat us with disdain or confusion, or if they do not have all of the answers either.

I have heard the analogy that we are all crewmembers on our planet, but we are also all passengers. We like to think of ourselves as insignificant and ordinary – we would rather focus on our families, work, sports, celebrities, etc. We think we can do nothing and so thus we should not try. We only have one life to live, but we can do a lot with it.

Forgiveness is a central theme of the film. The man needs to forgive the ship (and the company that owns it as well as the crew) for waking him up too early; the woman needs to forgive the man for waking her up to join him. They need to forgive because they cannot continue to co-exist otherwise, no matter if one believes in forgiveness being good for the soul. Contempt and hatred won’t save the ship, nor make the stay on the ship pleasant.

There is so much more to this movie than simply a disturbing pretext for a romance!

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Schoolgirl Katy

copyright 2017

I should be glad to be so joyful,
I should just enjoy the feeling,
Let it pass eventually, as it always does.

I’m just a giddy schoolgirl,
Pretending at being grown up,
Sooner or later I will wake again to reality.

I always want what I can’t have,
I dream nonsense dreams,
I am too old to be so naive anymore.

I need to stop playing dolls,
Real dreams take work,
And I can make a difference if I get out of my head.

But yet I’m driven to tears,
I don’t want to give up yet,
Why can’t I take a flight of fancy when I know I will wake up soon?

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The Book Ends

ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 6, Episodes 21 & 22 (The Final Battle – Parts 1 & 2)

If this was how the story had ended, it would have indeed been satisfying. But true to the fact that every story has a happy ending if you stop it at the right place, the book ended on a note of hope – the adult characters were in their right minds and the young characters were safe to grow up. Everyone was a happy family – but since time marches on, the story cannot really end. It just picks a nice place to stop.

For how hyped it was, the final battle was not so much physical as it was mental and spiritual. The themes of the series have always been belief, hope, and love – in that order. The first one – belief – has often been set aside in favour of the latter two because it is essential to appreciating the story. However, without belief, this is simply a nonsense story about fairy tale characters.

The Black Fairy’s plan is thus to make Emma believe that it was indeed all nonsense. In doing so, the rest of main characters will be obliterated from existence and the Black Fairy thinks she will able to have supreme power. I am not sure if her plan would actually have worked, but she did not count on Henry’s determination or her own son’s desperation. Henry tries to take on the Black Fairy himself, even if Emma refuses to believe him; Rumplestiltskin realises that his mother double-crossed him by separating him from Belle and insists on getting her back and freeing Gideon from the Black Fairy’s stranglehold. Like grandfather, like grandson – resulting in the Black Fairy’s demise and Emma’s willingness to give credence to Henry’s story.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast gets shoved aside as they try to help both themselves and Emma, but are ultimately trapped. It led to some excellent character moments – Charming and Hook going on one last quest together; Snow not letting her husband get left behind; Regina working with her Evil Queen counterpart to try to magic their way back to Storybrooke; and gradually everyone realising that they are doomed, with the Evil Queen sacrificing herself to give the others more time to escape. Had these scenes been cut, the main plot would have been unaffected – but the audience needed these scenes. Otherwise, our favourite characters would have been trapped in a book for over an hour. For all their being heroes or villains, they were powerless to save themselves.

Not only was Emma’s belief tested, but also Rumplestiltskin’s. He was tempted first by his mother and then by his own dark conscience to give in to his lust for power, but he was able to throw off this temptation. He believed in his own inner strength and trusted that doing what was right for Gideon and the greater good would also be what was right for him. He did not know what the outcome of his actions would actually be, but he knew that he had to try.

The actual physical sword battle, such as it was, was fairly short. Emma realised that she could not kill Gideon, even in self-defense, and so she sacrificed herself. Again, she had no knowledge that she could be revived or that Gideon would be redeemed through her actions, but she did so anyway.

Thus everyone’s storylines were resolved, and they celebrated together as an oddly assorted family. But since they were not dead, their stories were not over.

The story briefly picked up twenty years later – promising new adventures and more stories. After all, twenty years is a long time! There will be lots to catch up with.

But for now, pass the rum, lasagna, and cinnamon cocoa, and put the book back on the shelf.

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Quick Thoughts On Six Episodes

ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 6, Episode 15 (A Wondrous Place)

The next six episodes feel like a run of tying up loose ends. A Wondrous Place finally concluded the Aladdin and Jasmine arc (and did a good job of it, I might add), making Jasmine into a heroic character as well as giving us a chance to see Ariel again. We find out that Ariel has been living happily with Prince Eric, and thus has had her “happy ending” so to speak; by the end of the episode, Aladdin and Jasmine are happy together in a restored Agrabah.

Also resolved is the misunderstanding between Hook and Emma, but Hook is still trapped in the Enchanted Forest as part of Gideon’s plan. Overall, this was an interesting episode that felt a bit rushed, shuffling a lot of characters offstage so that we don’t wonder about them anymore and can focus on our lead characters.

Episode 16 (Mother`s Little Helper)

Really could have been titled “The Giant Spider” – seriously, that is the most vivid portion of the episode. Finally, the Black Fairy reveals herself and manages to use Gideon to get herself to Storybrooke. Rumplestiltskin and Belle realise that their son is being used as a pawn, but can do little about it.

It was important to have some backstory about Gideon’s childhood and the hold that his grandmother has on him. Without this episode, the characters of Gideon and the Black Fairy would feel much more one-dimensional. We truly get to see how awful the Black Fairy’s realm is and how much of a diabolical villain she is. Does this excuse Gideon’s behaviour? Not entirely, but it gives it context. The fact that he is not any worse it testament to his inner strength of character. Whether or not he will be redeemed is yet to be determined, but it shows that he has the capability for it.

Episode 17 (Awake)

This episode basically concludes the story arc for Snow White and Prince Charming. We learn and/or remember how many sacrifices that they have made to help others throughout the series, including not escaping the cursed Storybrooke to be with their daughter, instead leaving her so that she would be able to help them and others in the future. In return, they are awakened from their alternating sleeping curse by having everyone whom they have helped, including their family and former enemies, drink the same potion to dilute it among so many of them.

Self-sacrifice is an important theme of this episode. Most of us do not have the luxury of knowing anything about our future. Certainly, if parents knew what trials and horrors their children might face in the future, they would do everything in their power to stop them from happening, but these same trials might be necessary for a greater purpose. The same with our own selves. Conversely, it would sometimes be good to know what the future held – that the same trials and horrors we have to face will lead to future good, giving us the courage to keep going.

Episode 18 (Where Bluebirds Fly)

Having resolved the Charmings arc, it is time to resolve Zelena’s. The Black Fairy tries to make use of Zelena’s unstable power and tries to separate Zelena from her sister. This ends up backfiring as Zelena realises that the only people that care about her are her family in Storybrooke, so she sacrifices her power to help them. Her power is like her security blanket that she finally burns, allowing herself to be vulnerable and unable to protect her daughter with magic, but trusting in her family to keep them safe.

This was a lovely resolution to Zelena’s storyline, but does make me wonder how they could really keep her character around much longer. Either she would escape to live a mortal life outside of Storybrooke, or she will be killed in the final battle.

Episode 19 (The Black Fairy)

Finally, we find out what happened to Rumplestiltskin’s mother! Unsurprisingly, considering that one of the themes of this series is that evil is made and not born, the Black Fairy did not start off as a diabolical character, or even as a fairy. Instead, in her madness to protect her son from his appointed fate, she made herself into his enemy, and then promptly cut him off from that fate – although he was instrumental in creating the saviour who would battle her, so he still had a role in fighting her.  Instead, she turned into a villain hell-bent on separating children from their mothers just like she was separated from hers. Brilliant twist of a depiction of maternal love!

Of course, not only is this in itself tragic, but the Black Fairy completely forgot her love for her son’s father. She gave no thought to abandoning him. While Malcolm isn’t exactly sympathetic, knowing the villain he too would later become, I still felt very sorry for him. He genuinely loved his wife and wanted to have a family with her, but without her, he grew to hate their son. While we don’t know if he ever found out what happened to his wife and that she did not care about abandoning him, if he ever did, it would only make his villainy worse. Retroactively thinking of all his appearances in previous episodes, I understand what the writers were going for: even with all of his hatred toward his son, a part of Malcolm (later Peter Pan) did want that family that he lost. Being such a self-serving villain, however, he constantly had the wrong idea about how to get it.

As does Rumplestiltskin…

Episode 20 (The Song in Your Heart)

Finally, we come to the musical episode! In terms of music, it was better than I expected. The songs were worked into the plot well and the story felt like a joyful retrospective on the series: the Charmings as the saccharinely sweet couple with the power of True Love; Regina in her Evil Queen glory; Captain Hook as a pirate hell-bent on revenge; Zelena as a whiny but powerful witch; and the background characters being their usual fun selves. Emma realises that she can defeat the Black Fairy and decides to stop running.

The episode concludes with a wonderful wedding that would have served as an excellent finale for the series…except that the Black Fairy still has one more dark curse up her sleeve. Without that added little plot, this could have served as a series finale. Apart from Rumplestiltskin, Belle, and Gideon, (and the Black Fairy), everyone’s storyline has been resolved. Emma and Hook are together; Regina and Zelena have reconciled; Snow and Charming can finally raise their son knowing their daughter is at peace; and Henry is perhaps finally able to have a normal life. The other characters are in good places, wherever they are.

Leaving me wondering how they are going to undo it all in the finale…

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Loyalties – The Grand Ballroom

copyright 2017

Susan had hardly ever gone inside the Grand Ballroom, as her aunt called the large salon off of her dining room. Once in a while, she had gone in there to dust when she was helping Ramona with housework. Her aunt had insisted that Susan would do chores and learn alongside their maid and cook. She did not want her niece to become a useless lady accustomed to being waited upon, especially as the war grew worse. It would only be a matter of time before there was no more hired help, her Aunt Julietta had bemoaned, and no more permanently indentured servants. A woman ought to be able to keep her own house, she had decreed. Susan would at least know what it was that her servants did and know how hard they worked for her.

There had never been any balls since Susan had come to live with her spinster aunt after the death of her parents. Julietta had hardly ever hosted any at all – the ballroom had been built by her grandfather, who had loved hosting lavish parties to show off his newly-gained wealth, and had been redecorated by her mother, who had enjoyed entertaining and hosting annual festivities for the New Year. Julietta had simply striven to keep the room from getting too dusty. They had hosted Susan’s parents’ wedding feast in the Grand Ballroom, and she reckoned that was the last real party that had taken place there.

Since the war had begun, the windows on the one side of the ballroom had been smashed by a mob of patriot vandals and subsequently boarded up. Julietta had drawn the curtains across the wood and there had never been any sunlight in the room again. Still, they had cleaned the room twice a year. Gradually, the furniture was removed and relocated to other rooms of the house, including the harpsichord, which was now in the parlour for Susan to play. Only a few chairs remained in the ballroom – most of them had been reluctantly broken apart for firewood. The velvet covers had been used to mend Susan’s dresses as she had grown.

Today, she wore one such dress – burgundy red velvet patches on the elbows of blue wool. It was her housework clothing – not really befitting a ballroom.

It was the sunlight inside that she noticed at first. Since the windows had been covered, the ballroom had been dark and they had cleaned it by lamplight. At first, she thought that vandals might have come along and bashed in the wood, but she soon realised that only a small piece had been removed. That one piece – wet through and rotten – let in a large beam of light that illumined the beautifully-painted floor.

Susan gasped. She had not realised how intricately the floor had been painted. Flowers and vines circled her great-grandfather’s giant family crest in the middle. It was indeed grand!

“Who’s there?” she squeaked. Someone was moving the curtains.

Well, the curtains were moving – clearly, someone had decided to hide behind them when they had heard her approaching.

The movement stopped at her voice.

“I know someone’s in there – the wood might have fallen off by itself, but I can see you in the curtains! I’m not that blinded by the sunlight.”

The curtains gingerly peeled back to reveal behind them an embarrassed fifteen-year-old boy with a black eye.

“Miss Susan? I’m sorry – I was just looking around. I didn’t pull back the plank!”

Davey was the type of boy who attracted mischief no matter what he did. He had the black eye from an altercation in the market earlier that week, which was why he had now stayed behind while the rest of his family purchased supplies for their journey. Susan was thus sceptical that he had not been tinkering with the windows, but she decided to believe him. What would it matter anyhow? They were going to leave.

“I never said you did. Besides, the ballroom needs sunlight. I’ve never seen the floor sparkle like that! And it hasn’t even been swept or polished!”

“Ballroom?” Davey’s one good eye grew wide. “This here is a ballroom?”

“Yes, this here’s a ballroom. Hasn’t had any grand balls in it for a long time, though. Never been to one myself.”

“Me neither,” he replied quickly, although his never having been to a ball did not surprise Susan. Davey was a farm lad – a well-to-do one, or at least he had been – but still a farmer’s son, and a young one at that.

She herself might have been just barely old enough to attend such a fancy affair had one been organized, but she had the suspicion that her aunt would forbid it. There were too many soldiers in the city looking for a quick night.

“The harpsichord used to be in here – and there were music stands, so there must have been musicians. They’d have been hired for the night, I suppose. And the chairs along the side, the food and drink served in the dining room…” She gestured toward the large doors on the wall opposite the windows, which opened into the dining room that they ate in for special occasions.

“Must have been something!” Davey agreed, following her wistful gaze. “There’s sure lots of room to dance in here, even with musicians, I’d wager.”

Susan nodded, involuntarily giggling nervously. Looking around, she could not help thinking of how empty the rest of the house was. Her aunt was in her private parlour on the second floor; Davey’s family was at the market, along with her aunt’s manservant; and the maid was in the kitchen. Susan and Davey were very much alone in the ballroom.

“Were you sent to fetch me for something?” Davey asked. “Do you need my help?”

She shook her head and tried to keep her eyes focused on the crest in the middle of the floor.

“I just saw the sunlight, ‘tis all. I was curious.”

“Me too. Well, guess you already figured that out!”

Davey was like a cat – always exploring. It was how he ended up getting into mischief no matter what he intended. He was a sweet, kind-hearted boy, Susan had observed over the weeks that his family had been staying in her aunt’s house, though he did have the strong will to fight.

“That I did.”

For a long time, it seemed that neither of them spoke.

“Did you learn to dance?” Davey asked suddenly.

“Yes, Aunt Julietta insisted that I learn to dance every kind of dance that she knew. She would sing and teach me the steps, and then she would play the harpsichord and I would dance for her. It was one of the ways that she would cheer me up when I was little, whenever I got to missing my papa.”

Without meaning to, Susan burst into tears.

“I’m sorry, Miss Susan! I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“Just thinking about being little again, how simple things seemed. A silly girl sort of thing to get teary about.” She wiped her eyes with her apron.

“I learned to dance a bit,” Davey continued, trying to cheer her up. “Mother taught us children – sometimes she would dance with me, sometimes my brother, and the other one of us would be stuck with Becca, who never liked dancing much. We all had to sing at the same time too! Becca just screamed, mostly. ‘Course, she was pretty little. She got better as she got bigger and could move her toes out of the way.”

“Sure, that would have gone over well at a ball!”

“A bawl at a ball?” Davey grinned and would have been handsome were it not for the black eye.

Susan managed to stop crying in order to laugh.

“I’m sorry, you must think me hideous,” Davey noted her averted eyes.

“You must think I’m awfully forward! I just never been alone with a strange young man before so it seems hard to look you in the eyes.”

“Oh, I’m a strange young man?” Davey fully unravelled himself from the curtains and stood up straighter. Clearly, he had taken note of her calling him a man, even if she did also call him strange.

“Well, you’re not family and we’re close in age.” She looked up at him and smiled demurely. “You’re not hideous at all, either. I’d say you’re three-quarters right handsome!”

“Handsome? Well, no one’s ever called me handsome before. Not even Mother! Though she’s said that about Jamie sometimes.”

“Well, he’s older, I suppose.”

“Right.” He shifted awkwardly. “I guess I should be going.”

“Do you want to dance?” Susan had blurted out the question before she knew it, stopping Davey mid-step.

“I beg your pardon?”

“It’s just…it’s just that this is probably the last time we’re in the grand ballroom and it doesn’t seem right to leave it without any more dancing! Who knows what will become of Aunt Julietta’s house once we’re gone?”

We’re gone? I didn’t think you and your aunt would be leaving.”

The tears were welling up in her eyes again as she nodded.

“Aunt Julietta called me up to her parlour and told me. She’s going with you – at least as far as Nova Scotia, maybe not to the same town. She said I was free to stay here and she would leave the household to me, but I told her that I didn’t want to stay alone. So I’m going too.”

Davey’s face lit up, though he tried to hide it.

“And here I was thinking you would be hosting all these parties in this grand ballroom!”

He bowed to her and held out his hand.

“A dance, Miss Susan?”

She curtseyed and nervously clasped her fingers around his.

“What sort of dance? A quadrille with only two of us?”

“I don’t see why not. But can you start the singing?”

Tearfully giggling, Susan began to warble out a tune.

It was not really a fitting last dance in her great-grandfather’s Grand Ballroom, she thought as Davey spun her around. There should have been musicians, instead of her nervous singing that sounded like a songbird occasionally interrupted by a croaking frog. The ballroom should have been filled with many dancing couples. Her Aunt Julietta ought to have presided over the festivities like a queen in her palace. There should have been punch, ale, and wine; the table in the dining room should have been laden with meat, cheese, and fruit. Perhaps there still would be more parties to be hosted by whoever bought the house, but it would not be the same.

“You know, you do sound a bit like a fiddle and a harpsichord,” Davey remarked. “Are you still crying?”

“Aren’t you nervous? Or sad?”

“Very nervous indeed – I’m dancing with you! But that sure don’t make me sad.”

Susan smiled.

“Yes, dancing with you don’t make me sad either! Shall we have another song, then?”

Davey grinned in response.

“Sure as I haven’t let go of you yet.”

After they finished another dance, they stood facing each other in the middle of ballroom. The sunlight was drifting toward the door, gradually blanketing them in darkness once again.

“Do you think we have time for one last dance?” Susan wheezed, out of breath from singing.

Glancing at the window and then listening for noise elsewhere in the house, Davey nodded.

“One last dance in the ballroom…but maybe not the last dance for us?”

She just smiled.

“I wouldn’t have asked you to dance otherwise.”

***

For further posts in this collection:

Loyalties – Part 1
Loyalties – Part 2
Loyalties – Part 3
Poems: By the Water; Meditations By a Grave; Let the Snow Fall; Blizzard Born

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