It Takes Two to Tango


“Goddamn that Ed–some friend–more like an enemy. I might end up killing him. It was all that I could do to not bring a gun and shot him right there at the ceremony. When the pastor asked if anyone objected, ‘to speak now or forever hold your peace’–I wished I had brought the gun.”  

“George, you need to calm down. You’ll have a stroke or something. Sit down. Oh God, they’re about to have the father-daughter dance. Sit down!”

“Look at that bastard. Smiling at Dad while he dancing with our mother. Couldn’t even come up with his own mother–orphan he claims. Orphan my foot–a bastard–son of a whore.”

“Shut up and sit down, George.”

“I’m sitting, I’m sitting. Okay?”

“Stop glaring. Here, drink this.”

“Water? I need a scotch–a double.”

“Wait until the dance is over. A waiter can bring you one.” 

“I can’t believe you didn’t talk Sophie out of this. You’re her big sister after all.”

“Look at him now. Is he about to kiss Mother? I think he’s smelling her hair. He is. He’s touching her hair. I’m going to put a stop to this, right now.” 

“George, you sit yourself down this instant or I’ll get someone to drag you out of here. You know I will–stop this immediately. And yes, I did try to speak to Sophie, but do you think she’d listen to me? I’m over 20 years her senior, remember? If she wouldn’t listen to you, her big brother,  Ed’s best friend, I didn’t have a chance. Besides, our sister’s a weird duck. Who gets married at 16 anyway?”

“Bastard. He seduces our mother and then marries our baby sister. How do we even know that Sophie’s not his daughter? Maybe he’s the father.” 

“George, shut your mouth! Don’t even think such a thing. You don’t know if he ever seduced Mother. It’s all speculation–your’s mostly.”

“Oh come on Phyllis, is more than speculation. He as much as told me so–mooning over Mother–the minute he laid eyes on her.”

“Well, he may have wanted to, George,  but you don’t know that he succeeded. And since you’re the one who brought Ed into our lives, it is now your duty to make peace with it–for all our sakes. Aw, here’s a waiter, we’ll get you a drink. God, I need one, too.”

~ ~ ~

“Your new brother-in-law has a way with words, don’t you think?” 

“Much more than my brother, yes.”

“George seems a little disconcerted today–not at all like him. It’s probably big brother syndrome–letting go of little sister–and all that.”

“Hmm,  could be.”

“Ed came to George’s rescue for the toast. He had us all laughing, well, all except George.”

“Ed’s a poet, Mrs. Larrimore. It’s easy for him. Women fall in love with him, his words actually. His looks, not so much.” 

“Oh, I think he’s charming–dark hair, a mysterious air about him. He favors your father and brother actually, don’t you think?”

“Hmm, if you say so. I think I need another drink.“

“Really Phyllis, maybe a soda-water would be best this time around.”

“Excuse me, waiter, would you bring me a scotch, please. Straight up. Thank you.” 

“And a club soda, as well.  Don’t you think, Phyllis?”

“Sure, a club soda and a scotch—a double.”

“Aw, here’s the mother of the bride. Isn’t she just lovely. Almost as pretty as the bride.”

“Ella, you look lovely. I was just telling Phyllis that you’re as pretty as the bride.”

“My goodness, your mother has so much energy. The groom too–the way he just whisked your mother away in a flash. Look, he’s quite the dancer, as is your mother. I wonder, where the bride is ?”

“Who knows. She’s only sixteen. She probably off somewhere, texting her girlfriends.”

“Well, Ed’s keeping the party going. Goodness, they’re doing a tango. They are terrific! I had lessons once but my husband’s not very good–you know–two left feet, that sort of thing. Your mother, she is so striking. Oh look. There’s George. What’s he doing? I’ve never seen anyone cut -in on a tango.” 

“Excuse me, Mrs. Larrimore. I’m needed on the dance floor.”

(c) Glenda Kotchish September 2019

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