They clapped against the floorboard, stepping in time with the singer’s voice and guiding him through the crowd. Everyone turned and dipped their partners, moving on to the next pair. He swung his foot and arm to catch the next person, and everything was repeated. The music wailed out of the instruments, and a bucket was beat to match a drum. Outside, the ring of fireflies garnished the melodies and the night air provided bass tones. It took another round before Dooley was able to take a break.
He waved off another partner and said a sorry before retreating to the barn wall. A couple of other guys were crowded around as well. Some, like him, were just taking a break. Others had kicked out their flasks and whiskey and crowded around white lacy chairs. The orange bulb lights hung around in garlands with lilies above them. A little girl had grabbed some stray flowers and tied it around one of the old men, who was currently fixated on their card game.
He looked out into the crowd to see everyone still dancing along to the music. The bride and groom moved in the center, off in their own little world. His breath was taken away by the long white gown, and the smiles on their faces. He smiled, but it was bittersweet.
“Isn’t this just a fine wedding, Dooley?”
Dooley looked over to find one of the elderly grandma’s from the bakery standing beside him, smiling out into the crowd with pie in her hands. He nodded.
“Sure is, ma’am.”
“I always knew that Mary’s wedding would just be gosh darn gorgeous! Though, I have to admit,” she ushered Dooley to lean down and whispered so that only they could hear.
“I was for sure convinced you two would be the ones getting together.” Dooley sheepishly grinned and rubbed the back of his neck.
“Well, it didn’t really work out like that. We were always just brother and sister after all.”
She shook her head but still smiled.
“Oh well, sorry me from the past, but I’m so happy that Mary got her happy ending, and with such a fine husband at that. Did you know he’s a lawyer? And in such a fancy firm up north?”
“Yep, I sure do.” The answer came out half-heartedly, and he became aware of the fact that straw was still stuck on his pants. The same pants he had to hunt down and find in his closet after wearing farm clothes all the time.
“Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your night. I gotta’ put out this pie or else they’ll raise a racket. See ya’ Dooley!”
Dooley waved off after the old lady as she headed over to the banquet table, where dishes upon dishes of food were piled high.
After being left, Dooley felt his heart sink. The event was foul on his mouth, and he didn’t like it one bit. But what was he going to do, especially since his childhood friend was so happy?
Inside, Dooley wondered if he had gone up north with Mary instead of staying near the farm and going to the local college. Perhaps, it would have turned out different.
He shook his head.
He couldn’t think like that. It was just fact if Mary liked a guy like that and not him. Nothing he could do about it.