Our old square piano sits in the cold spare room, along with my desk, H’s desk, the file cabinets, my grandmother’s armchair, a sofa we have yet to put on Craig’s list, the laundry and moving boxes on top of said sofa, and many many stacks of paper.
The floor is made with Spanish tile, shiny, oxblood, with bumps and ripples, set between wide swaths of mortar. So wide that Ben likes to imagine the tiles as lily pads, and hops each to each, careful not to touch the grey “water.”
The previous owner told me she and her husband chose Spanish tiles when they renovated the house in the early 80’s, because they loved ballroom dancing and wanted to be able to move through the floorplan in music, lightly tapping their way through waltzes and foxtrots. In our renovation last year, we removed nearly all of the tile, except for this one room.
Now, when H sits down to play at the old square, which because of its structure will never be more accurate than 1/2 note flat, Ben stops dead in his tracks – even if they are dinosaur tracks – and finds me, asking to dance. We do all sorts of dances, badly, but with smiles. We do leaps and bends, hops and jumps, we raise our arms to the sky and sweep them down again.
When a political discussion at the Scanditalian Christmas table turned a bit sad and hopeless – as in, is there anything to look forward to? – notes began to spill from the spare room, on other side of the dining room wall. My little boy stopped reading a dinosaur book and came up to the dour table. “Mommy, it’s time to dance!”
I smiled at the change of subject, and told our guests to join us. They stood in the doorway, smiling at a happy boy in a red reindeer sleeper. We spun and hopped, stretched and galloped, and he lept, over and over into waiting arms.
So many things might be better if we only had a moment to dance.