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Lady in Yellow by Vallie Lynn Watson

The lady in yellow didn’t dance at the show. Sad.

Back in grad school, there was this happy-to-tagalong girlfriend of another student. This was just post-divorce; I was still stunned and stoned. Each Wednesday we met at a chain restaurant after our night class. One time, as we departed the restaurant, the girlfriend stopped to do a little solo jig in the vestibule. It wasn’t performative; we were all present, but this movement was just for her.

The lady in yellow didn’t dance at the show. Wow.

Later, I went back to this town, the grad school town. I went back more than five years after I graduated, but I was too restless to make it work.

The lady in yellow didn’t dance at the show. Yeah.

The restlessness lingered, narrowed into a void that shuffled around for too long.

The lady in yellow didn’t dance at the show. Bad.

At the show, I thought back to the dancing girl in the vestibule. I’d thought of her often over the decades, though at some point I’d forgotten her name. I danced with her, here, at the show. I danced harder than the crowd around me. I took her hands in mine and held them above our heads, and we danced at the show.

Vallie Lynn Watson is the author of the novel A River So Long (Luminis Books); her Pushcart-nominated short stories appear widely in literary journals such as Bending Genres, PANK, and Pure Slush. Watson teaches fiction in the MFA program at McNeese State University, where she edits the magazine Boudin. She hunts for seaglass in her spare time.

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