Thursday, September 13, 2007

Conclusion: The Curse of the Hall of Nations

I crossed the lush red carpet and followed the sound, faint but growing, of a crooner cradling the microphone in his fat brown palms. None of my friends had arrived. I stuffed my purse under some ivy in a planter and wove my way through the spectators, limping every so slightly.

I milled on the edge, near the band, where the good dancers find their partners. I tapped my toes, trying at once to look nonchalant and eager to dance, tossing my gaze and reeling it back in like a fly fisherman, waiting for the first WWII veteran or gawky college freshman to ask me to the floor. After three dances, my foot was hurting considerably, but I paid it little heed; it was an annoyance.

Meg arrived, and we danced together for a bit. She continues to be the best male lead east of the Mississippi, and, when she returns to England soon, the best one east of the Atlantic. She obligingly spun me around a bit, but my shoe fell off in the middle of the song. I bent down to put it back on, and realized that something was very wrong.

My toe was the color of a Japanese eggplant. It was so entirely unexpected that I stared at it for a while, like a botanist considering a startling purple orchid. Then I connected the pain in my foot with this arresting visual, and I decided I had better sit down.

I hobbled over to a planter and sat down on the edge to enjoy the music. A female security guard made me move, so I hobbled a bit further, fished my purse from the sea of ivy, and pondered what to do next. Brandi and Aaron were there, too. Brandi, seven months pregnant, was not about to dance, so she fetched me a cup of ice from the bar. I balanced a cube on my toe and hoped, rather than believed, that it would help matters.

Meg returned to the floor, and I listened piningly to the next few songs. Bethany arrived with Brian, and after admiring the new pigmentation of my broken digit, they went off to dance as well. That did it.

I put my shoes back on, headed gingerly back to the edge of the crowd, and danced until the band went home.

I paid for it later. The rest of the weekend I spent glued to the couch with my foot elevated and wrapped in white gauze, though I avoided the doctor's office. (It's hard to get me into the emergency room unless loss of life is imminent.)It was worth it. And besides, I got rested.

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