A rose with very sharp thorns

Music is extremely important to me. When it came time to choose our wedding dance song, I always knew it would come down to two: Of Crows and Crowns by Dustin Kensrue and the cover version of Where Is My Mind by pianist Maxence Cryin.

I love the original song by The Pixies, but I increasingly prefer the piano version by Maxence Cryin – it is hauntingly beautiful and elegant.

Of Crows and Crowns won in the end. It is a beautiful, joyous, empowering song. I could tell she was more comfortable with it and I was too. Mainly because the lyrical message and spirit of the song is more uplifting and positive.

It was an excellent choice, at the time and it always will be.

Regardless of that, Where Is My Mind would have been appropriate symbolism and poetry for us as a couple as well. Especially in hindsight.

Cheek to cheek, palm on back

She is both a trained and very naturally gifted dancer; she is a woman who can glide around a dance floor with grace, precision and ease.

In my opinion, it is a talent she possibly should have pursued more seriously over a longer period of time. Instead her fascination with horses and her sport took over as her all-consuming obsession. It is a shame she didn’t pursue both with equal intensity.

We practiced our wedding dance regularly. At times I wanted to stop, she insisted we practice more. At times she wanted us to stop practicing, I insisted we practice more.

We had four lessons from a very accomplished dance instructor. They were challenging, for me. Maybe for her too. At times they were fun, I think, and we laughed as well.

I steadily improved but it was an intricate and complicated routine that the two of them chose to inflict on me. I knew in my mind’s eye that she would glide around the dance area and I would be the one at risk of messing it up in front of our guests.

The day before our wedding we practiced the dance for an hour in a small room beside the reception area. It had the same polished wood floor and it was private.

We were tense with each other. She became snippy with me after 30 mins – we were getting most of it right and some of it wrong. I’d nail 80% and mess up the last 20%.

It was hot and I was dripping with sweat after 20 mins from the effort of completing the three lifts and spins included in the routine – those were my favourite moments in the dance. I hated the intricate little delicate, mincing steps but the lifts allowed me to have some fun and feel like I was empowering – they got some adrenaline going and they were the moments with the most potential for hilarity or embarrassment (+ injury) – depending on your perspective.

Where Is My Mind

“With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?”

She was my first wife.
I planned for her to be my first and only.
She is a damaging person. She is a passionate person.
She is striking and flawed, she is obsessive, she is arrogant, she can be generous and also strong willed, she was damaged and she can be damaging.

She brought out some of those traits in myself, some of those were already there.

We loved each other intensely and when we argued, we argued intensely. We made love until the sweat dripped from the tip of my nose onto the small of her back. She was unpredictable, for better and for worse. She had an accident with a knife and she punched me where no woman should ever punch her lover.

One year today we separated. I made it very public. She was hateful.

How did we get so far lost down that rabbit hole? I don’t know. At least on reflection, there is beauty amongst passion, intensity, irrationality, impulsiveness, selfishness, resentment and anger.

One year today we parted. The Maxence Cryin version – it’s perfect today.

One day we should pour two wines and re-do our wedding dance. In a large, empty, echoing room with high ceilings, polished wood floors and a capable pianist.

I’ll be on time and dressed in my best*. You’ll wear a ball gown and I’ll glide with you. Cheek to cheek and palm on back. Maybe afterwards we will sit in a restaurant and reflect on the good times. The reasons we married and celebrate the best aspects of our brief union. The better angels of our nature.

Then we’ll pick up our jackets, kiss on the cheek and depart silently. The way we should have done it – with sanity, respect, and maybe even some grace.

JT

* … dressed in my best (Kevlar vest).