Last Dance

My youngest son is considering trading in his brother for a Chihuahua. When it comes to his sister, he’s torn, but really, he’d prefer a Golden Retriever. Onyx, the Black Lab, gets to stay.

I have assured him countless times that one dog is enough for me. Three kids I can handle. Multiple dogs? No way. Still, he dreams of life as an only child.

My middle son – the one who’s at risk of being traded for a yappy lap dog –  wants to know if my sister and I got along as children. “Yes,” I tell him. That is, when we weren’t smacking each other or slamming doors or ignoring one another.  We invented secret handshakes and silly songs. I loved her more than anyone; I just didn’t know it till I was older.

Last weekend, she and I danced together at a wedding. Her boyfriend had recently gone AWOL; my husband was home with three kids and the dog. In 40 years I can’t recall dancing like that with her. The groom is close to our age, so the playlist was full of music from our high school and college years: early Madonna … Billy Joel … Barry Manilow. “Mandy”? We sang every word. Talking Heads. Fleetwood Mac. Yaz.

Yes, Yaz. Who plays Upstairs at Eric’s at a wedding? “Don’t Go” blaring from the speakers near midnight. It was our last dance, and it was perfect. We laughed and hugged each other. We spun and swayed and clapped our hands.

Don’t tell the kids. They wouldn’t understand. But between you and me, I wouldn’t trade her for a dog. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

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