Alan Shapiro is the author of Reel to Reel (University Of Chicago Press, 2014).
It may not be the ghostly ballet of our avoidances that they’ll remember, nor the long sulks of those last months, nor the voices chilly with all the anger we were careful mostly not to show in front of them, nor anything at all that made our choice to live apart seem to us both not only unavoidable but good, but just. No, what I think will haunt them is precisely what we’ve chosen to forget: those too infrequent (though even toward the end still possible) moments when, the children upstairs, the dinner cooking, one of us would all at once start humming an old tune and we’d dance, as if we did so always, in a swoon of gliding all through the house, across the kitchen, down the hall and back, we’d sway together, we’d twirl, we’d dip and cha- cha and the children would hear us and be helpless not to come running down to burrow in between us, into the center of the dance that now, I think, will haunt them for the very joy itself, for joy that was for them, for all of us together, something better than joy, and yet for you and me, ourselves, alone, apart, still not enough.
Copyright © 2005 by Alan Shapiro. From Tantalus In Love. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin.