Take this Waltz... Take that Waltz... Take which Waltz?

Published on 07/16/13 at 10:51:00 am using 1090 words.

Margot was Mood Du Jour some years ago and at the time, I thought she might make it to Cryptic Smiles that fade to black (alongside Julie Vignon, Catherine Sloper, Cecilia, Gwen and Claudia Wilson Gator.) I just ultimately had more to say about Margot which made it impossible for me to focus exclusively on the tiny smile that caps her journey.

I, for one, am not afraid of being afraid, per se. In fact, I think I’m pretty comfortable with fear. And that makes fear the designated thing to cripple me, precisely because we get along so well.

Margot, on the other hand, is admittedly “afraid of being afraid,” but before she settles on putting it in those words, she comes up with an assessment of her bit of human condition I find infinitely more interesting, even though it serves to impel people towards action, just as often as it hinders it. “I don’t like being in between things,” she owns up.

Margot: I’m afraid of connections. In airports. Getting from one plane to another. The running, the rushing, the not knowing, trying to figure it out. Wondering if I’m gonna make it.

Daniel: What do you think will happen if you don’t make it?

Margot: I think I may get lost. And that I may rot and die in some forgotten empty terminal that nobody even knows exists.

Daniel: And you’ll miss your plane.

Margot: No, that’s not really the fear.

Daniel: So what are you afraid of?

Margot: I’m afraid of wondering if I’ll miss it.

She might as well have stopped at “I’m afraid of connections.” She might as well have stopped short of volunteering the context of airports, since it’s clear that statement applies to more than just airports.

Margot is afraid and on top of being afraid, Margot seems to have no real sense of what she wants. I’m not entirely sure whether her fear comes from the uncertainty that stands in for her lost footing or whether her proclivity to being overwhelmed by fear triggers that uncertainty. But they’re both undeniably there.

Right at the beginning of Take this Waltz, she is nudged into voicing… more than that, spelling out her fear by a stranger she meets on a plane. And by the simple act of coming clean with a secret that has been hers and no one else’s for so long, she unwittingly attaches to him and begins to see in him, a promise of disentanglement from that which thwarts her attempts at fulfillment in such a veiled way. Whatever sparks that kind of courage, earns the right to embody a life changing promise, be it capable of any actual life changing or not.

Margot’s marriage suffers from her fear. We are led to sense an unbridgeable distance between husband and wife, just below the surface of a seemingly easy, shared routine. There is a shorthand between them but it feels shallow, not born of a true connection at all but more designed to serve as filler. Anything to drown the silences, anything to make the distance seem shorter. It takes the form of a would-be penchant for the cute and the disturbingly playful, in detriment of comfortable honesty and palpable, expressible desire.

Daniel, the stranger, offers an alternative to the usually overlooked difficulties of her marriage. Their conversation flows easily and never stales. There is a direct line between them that makes for promise on top of promise on top of promise.

Daniel, the stranger who grows closer all too fast, is seductive as he is incisive:

Daniel: What’s the matter with you? Generally? You seem restless. I mean, not just now. In a kind of… in a kind of permanent way.

Margot: I remember when my niece, Toni, was a newborn, I’d babysit her and sometimes she’d cry like babies do. And I’d do everything I could to identify the source of the problem. Was she hungry? Was she tired? Did she have a rash?
And 9 times out of 10 I could solve the problem and I could figure it out but… sometimes, I don’t know… Sometimes I’m… walking along the street and a shaft of sunlight falls in a certain way across the pavement and I just wanna cry. And then a second later, it’s over. And I decide because I’m an adult, to not succumb to the momentary melancholy; And I thought that sometimes with Tony, she just had a moment like that. A moment of not knowing how or why, and she just let herself go into it and there was nothing anyone could do to make it any better. It was just her and the fact of being alive, colliding.

Daniel: Yeah. Or maybe you just didn’t figure out what it was.

Margot: Yeah. I suppose that’s possible.

Daniel, the promise, very quickly becomes Daniel, the temptation, by infusing her days and both their casual and forced encounters with just the longing, thrill and excitement she doesn’t get from Lou, the husband.

The problem with temptations, however, is that they may not feel distant but they are. They may seem drawn in detail, but they’re actually blurred.

Temptations are based on still images, limited conversations and only snippets of a real shared life.

They amount to nothing in the end. Neither the safe yet not-quite-enough comfort of a shared life nor the tempting promise of newness. They amount to nothing, the nice guy and the bad boy. They’re actually neither of those options. They’re actually one and the same. And they amount to nothing. Not in the end.

Whatever fear plaguing Margot or any woman for that matter, whatever sense of loss or threat of potentially permanent isolation might be steering her, it is the meantime of solitude, the hiatus, the “being in between things,” the freed up focus newly reassigned to no one but herself, that really amounts to something. That really gets to the bottom of who she is and what she wants.

It’s in alone time that that woman, whoever she is, will sway like Margot in subconscious celebration of letting go. Not with someone by her side. Not under the gaze of a promising someone or just beyond the scope of interest mustered up by someone who’s gone from comfortable to too comfortable to uncomfortable.

She’ll only close her eyes and enjoy the ride once the intricacies of attraction, rejection and indifference are off the table and not actively reshaping the way she sees herself and others.

That, is a waltz worth taking.

No feedback yet