Waltz With Me
Femi’s eyes fumed as she spoke, the world blurred by the tears she fought to keep from streaming down her cheeks. “You let me down,” she continued. “I can’t keep being let down.” She had turned the phrase over in her head before speaking it.
For weeks Femi had saved up for the materials to sew her own gown. She had pricked her tender fingers with each passionate stitch of lace she added to embellish the waist. With her last few monies, Femi had even bought him a new pocket square, made of silk and suited for those of more means and status. She would never let means hold her back from the things she wanted. If he was to be on her arm, he couldn’t either.
“I don’t have an excuse not to go. All I can say is that I don’t want to.” Charlie spoke away from her, filling the void between them with these words.
Femi turned the ring on her finger furiously. She could not articulate how upset she felt. Perhaps if Marge, Zachary, or Susanne had asked him to go to the 15th Annual Gala, he would want to attend. He never seemed to lack interest in the events planned by his friends.
Femi was slowly by surely creating a short list of ideas that he had excitedly rejected: The Mary Art Exhibit at the Fine Arts Institute, Dinner Theater in the Park, and now the Gala that Femi had been thrilled to attend.
“I don’t want an excuse” she begged, “I want the truth. Why don’t you want to go with me?” The tears finally came. Femi wanted to hide them. Even though they were created by fire, they made her feel vulnerable and weak.
Charlie sighed and answered but Femi did not hear. She didn’t need to; she already knew the truth. No matter how much he loved her, Charlie would never love Femi more than he loved his friends.
Femi smiled behind her streaked face. He did not know the choice he was making. Charlie did not know what he was slowly but surely giving up.