“What in God’s name are you doing, Willie?” Karen asked as she watched her husband practice dance moves in front of the mirror. She put her hands on her hips and pretended not to look as much amused as she was worried for his sanity.
“The Mullins are having their annual party, and you and I are going to cut the rug something fierce,” Willie said. He looked up at her and smiled, and then did his best moon walk.
Karen squinted at him as she continued her worried observation. “What has gotten into you? You don’t dance, Willie. For crying out loud, it took every fiber in your rhythm-less body to dance to our wedding song.”
She watched him as he was now failing miserably at a lame attempt to imitate an Egyptian-like dance move.
“Oh, my God! Please tell me you don’t plan on doing this tonight! I’m afraid you’ll be on your own if you do.” She put the dishtowel she was holding in her left hand to her mouth to cover the smile she could no longer conceal on her own.
“What do you mean? This is who I am, darlin’. Take it or leave it. We’ll more than make up for the lack of dance-floor gyrations at our nuptials. Tonight, dear maiden, we’re going to get it up.”
She grimaced before making the correction for him. “I think you mean ‘kick it up,’ my love,” Karen said.
Her husband, an incredibly sensible and thoughtful man, was forever mixing his metaphors. She rolled her eyes as she turned to walk back into the kitchen. “I’m afraid you’re giving ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ entirely new meaning.”
Later, Karen entered the bedroom and saw Willie in front of the mirror again, only this time he seemed to be practicing some kind of stand-up routine.
“Oh, my Lord, Willie. What now?”
“Just brushing up on some old jokes to get ready for tonight. You don’t think Jay Leno goes out cold, do you? He rehearses, my dear. He rehearses.”
Karen tiled her head. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”
He turned to look at her. “I’m perfectly fine,” Willie said. “Why would you think there’s anything wrong with me?”
Karen didn’t have the heart to insult him, but his jokes were never funny. It wasn’t so much the content as much as the delivery. He could never quite get the punch line right, and the delivery was just, well, it was just off. Such a well-meaning man. Just not a funny one. His smart quips were usually intended for her ears only.
“No reason,” she said. “No reason at all.” She shook her head and went downstairs.
Later that evening as they were getting dressed for the party, Karen turned and saw Willie with a lampshade in his hands that he’d apparently just removed from the bedside night lamp.
“What do you think?” Willie said as he actually placed the shade on his head.
Karen put her hand to her mouth before walking toward him. “Willie, can I ask you something?” she said.
“Sure, darlin’,” his muffled voice said from beneath the shade.
“Were you listening to the conversation that Diane and I were having earlier this morning?”
He didn’t answer right away. “Maybe I overheard something. Maybe not,” he finally volunteered.
Karen walked over to her floor-lamp husband and lifted the shade upward to reveal his blue eyes. His face still made her stomach do somersaults, even after eight years of marriage. In the twinkle of his blue eyes she saw the depths of a man she knew to be considerate and compassionate. Warm and supportive. Loving and humble. Moral and fair. He wasn’t her funny man, just her every man.
“Diane said you have character, sweetheart, not that you are a character.”