I found myself wandering along the edge of the sea, listening to the crashing waves. The peaceful setting prompted my thoughts to turn inward, and I reflected on the past events of my life. All of the happy memories, back when I still knew how to laugh. And how to dance. I half-heartedly tried a couple steps. Forgetting what had at one time come so effortlessly, my feet had trouble executing only a few simple leaps. I felt clumsy stumbling around in the sand. Determined to remember, I focused on my memories of dancing with Edward, and tried again. Slowly, slowly, I twirled by the water, losing my balance and finding it again, until I lost myself completely to the sweet memories of love. My mind took over my body and I pictured Edward right there by my side, just like it had always been. The foamy waves lapped gently at my feet as I first leaped in the sand, then into the water, then back to the sand. I remembered how he taught me to dance, how to feel the rhythm of the music and follow his lead. He would laugh with me at my first mistakes and gently corrected me until we moved as one. All the time, he would tell me to throw my heart into the movements and my body would follow. I remembered his words as I twisted and turned elegantly down the beach, imagining the feeling of being held against his warm body. It felt safe and secure being in his strong arms. We would dance anywhere we felt like it. At the park during a late afternoon picnic, in the silence of falling snow, or in our tiny living room with the ancient phonograph playing out-of-tune in the corner. Leaping into the air, I thought of how he would pick me up and whirl me around. The exhilaration of it made me never want to be set down again. We had danced as one, so wrapped up in our love for each other.
Suddenly, I slipped in the wet sand and fell crashing back to earth. Edward was gone. The horrible war had taken him away, along with so many others. The sadness that had overcome me since his death flooded back into my head. I sat in a heap surrounded by the folds of my dress, knowing I would never dance with my beloved again.
I glanced up and saw my young son watching me from the dunes. He walked to where I had fallen and stooped down. “Momma, I want to dance like that.”
With tears in my eyes, I smiled at him and whispered, “Alright.” I gathered him in my arms and led him in a short, awkward waltz through the sand. He stepped on my toes and couldn’t find the rhythm, but I patiently guided him along down the shore. Gazing at my son, it dawned on me just how much he looked like Edward.