Tea for two

It was the biggest moment in Emmalina’s life so far. Even bigger than her last Christmas, when she received her first book. Her very own book! She was going to learn how to read. And about time, too. Every respectable young woman of five should know how to read.

She already knew how to tie her own shoes, and she had the most magnificent tap dance shoes she had ever seen. Shiny and black, with black satin ribbons for laces. Emmalina loved the way the lights bounced off the smooth toes, and the way they clickety-clacked as she pranced across the wooden floor of the stage.

Tonight would be extra special. That cute boy in her kindergarten class would do a tap dance duet with her in front of all the kids from school, all the teachers, and the parents of each and every child all the way up to sixth grade!

She and Kevin would dazzle everyone as they tapped their way to the song Tea for Two. Emmalina would wear her fanciest dress and hat, and Kevin a suit, vest, and bow tie. She could almost hear the thundering applause as she and Kevin took their bows and curtsies after their stellar performance. She shut her eyes and pictured the curtain rising on the two of them.

“Emma, dear, they want an encore,” Kevin whispered in her ear. He knelt down in front of her wheelchair and slipped her shiny tap-dancing shoes on her feet.

As he bent over to tie the threadbare laces, she stroked his full head of white hair. “You know I can’t dance any more,” she whispered.

“It’s okay. I’ll push your chair and we can improvise, just like we used to.”

Before she could object, the telltale scratch of a needle on the ancient 78 rpm record began the song. Kevin stood in front of her, bowed, and asked, “My lady, may I have this dance?”

19 comments

  1. Wow, Sue! This was wonderful! You hit me with so many emotions in so few words. Masterfully done — your use of words is delicate yet punchy. Truly brilliant. The twist when we learn that the girl is wheelchair-bound was huge. Although you didn’t explicitly state it, I got the distinct impression at the end that Emmalina and Kevin are an elderly married couple, still very much in love as the golden rays of sunlight trickle in through the window… This really tugged at my heartstrings, Sue.

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  2. Wow. Such an ordinary, everyday thought process that we all indulge in and then the big boom at the end, really making our brains work their way out of the false sense of what is happening and see the reality. I really loved how you used a pure, simple way of describing the “child’s” thought processes to lull us down the wrong path.

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  3. This is such a wonderful story! At first I thought, young kids; then, oh, she is young and in a wheelchair, disabled; then I realized the truth. Excellent job! 🙂

    On Thu, Aug 6, 2020 at 6:37 PM Emily Trace Mysteries wrote:

    > Sue Eller posted: ” It was the biggest moment in Emmalina’s life so far. > Even bigger than her last Christmas, when she received her first book. Her > very own book! She was going to learn how to read. And about time, too. > Every respectable young woman of five should know how ” >

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  4. Love stories of children! Yours is delightful. I almost wanted to hear more about their performance – if it went well etc. before fast forwarding to their senior years so quickly.

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  5. Wow, I had to sit and think about that one for a minute! When the wheelchair was first mentioned, I thought this was a story about a little girl’s fantasies, but when you mentioned Kevin’s white hair I finally started to figure it out. Nice way to take us on a trip down a character’s memory lane. And such a sweet story, too!

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  6. Ouch, that was a twist of great merit. Total mask early on of a disability that made it feel like the early part was a idyl dream abd then boom, hit by reality of being in a wheelchair. Sad and yet brilliant Kevin treats her relatively normally.

    Then I realise this is the memoir of aging people where the wheelchair is probably and age related condition and Kevin is lifelong friend or husband and they are both reminiscing.

    Very thought provoking. Live while you can, time will not care either way whether you do or do not.

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    1. Thank you, Gary. “Live while you can” summarizes the story as well. The minute I saw the blog battle word “tea,” that song started playing in my head and I couldn’t do anything else until I finished writing Emmalina’s story. It was a joy to write.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I find that too. Sometimes a prompt just resonates straight away, alas often it just stares at me grinning! Now if I could just remember what next months is I could stare back long and hard for weeks 🤔

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  7. I love this Sue. What a surprise ending! I was picturing a five-year-old, and then you introduced a lovely old couple. It is a lovely, beautifully written short story.

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