My father was a terrible dancer,
but that didn’t stop him from trying.
It didn’t matter if it was the big bands
of his youth that made him want to jitterbug
or odd rock song that took his fancy,
he’d bounce in his seat until someone
(usually me) took pity on him and asked him to dance.
It always seemed unfair that someone
who enjoyed music as much as he did
couldn’t sing or dance,
but then life is rarely fair.
The father-daughter dance on my wedding day
wasn’t upbeat or bouncy,
but a slow dance by tradition,
which only served to enhance
my father’s shortcomings as a dancer.
There was no video to capture the moment,
but I don’t need one to remember
how my father held me in his arms
as we shuffled in a circle.
I was his baby, perpetually his little girl,
and when I looked into his eyes
and said, “I love you, Daddy,”
his voice choked with tears
said, “I love you, too.”
We finished the dance cheek-to-cheek,
too moved to say anything more.
It was more than forty years ago
and my father’s been gone for too long,
but I can still hear his choked words in my ear
as if it was yesterday.
~Elise Skidmore ©2017