Emily stood there reading the billboard, from top to bottom again. Chewing a nail she twisted the crumpled handkerchief in her jacket pocket with her other hand, her eyes darting over the already familiar words.
She stared at the drawing of the woman and the man, dancing, announcing the event, which would take place that Friday, August 5th, 1938.
“Afternoon Dance,” she whispered.
Quickly she looked left and right to make sure no one had overheard her saying the words out loud. She blushed. She hadn’t been able to stop herself; she’d wanted to taste the words on her tongue. On her lips. She was right, they were delightful.
Looking left and right then left again, she inhaled and tried again, this time adopting an affected accent as she breathed out the words slowly, elongating each vowel, “Aaaaaf-ter-nooooon daaaaa-nce.” It made her smile.
Standing on tiptoe, Emily traced the contour of the woman in the long dress, imagining what it would be like to have a gown like that one. What would it smell like? Would it be tickly against her skin? She closed her eyes and inhaled, inventing the scent as she did. Lavender, she smiled, it would smell of lavender and baby's breath; it would feel smooth and silky. Yes, she thought with a sigh, that felt right. It would have wonderful floaty bits on the bottom, and have several layers of thin material and when she twirled it would float out, and out, and out like a ballerina’s long, romantic tutu; except it wouldn’t be see-through.
With a gasp, she clapped her hand over her mouth and her eyes flew open. Lost in her daydream, she had twirled right there in front of the shop window. Luckily no one was watching. She stuffed both hands in her pockets and darted away from the poster, heart in her mouth.
Soon Emily was walking again, hands still in her pockets, still thinking about the dance. Would anyone invite her? What would he be like? Tall, and dark and handsome, of course. Like the man in the picture. With green eyes, or blue eyes? No, green eyes to match his long green car. Yes, a long green car with the top down so they could drive slowly down the main street where everyone could see them. They would gasp with amazement and a little jealousy as they watched this beautiful couple.
Then the door of the dance hall would open, the music would stop and everyone in the packed room would stop, speechless, watching them come in. She blushed a little, held out her hand and did a little twirl ... The layers of her dress floating around her, billowing and sparkling, his green eyes on hers, the warmth of the room enveloping her after the chilly outdoors.
“Emily!” a sharp voice brought her back to reality where she found herself standing in the doorway of the grimy kitchenette at her mother’s tenement flat, “Where’s that bottle of gin you were supposed to get me from the shop?” yelled her red-eyed mother from her supine position on the sofa.Emily gasped, her 12-year old eyes wide with horror as she remembered she had perched it on the windowsill outside the shop as she traced the couple in the poster ...