Lee realised he was part of a doorframe, but where and when was he?
He was the dead wood, for some reason.
He knew he was in the wrong data structure, trapped in a blog different than the one Guin had ended up after they had been ejected from the black hole.
He recalled a conversation with his wife from centuries ago — Karen.
“It’s as if Bai wants me to be with her, exclusive of you, a test of my friendship and…”
“That’s the thing. Bai shouldn’t be testing your friendship.”
“But I want both you and her to be happy…”
“You definitely should not be the one who has to worry about her happiness.”
“She’s a friend who happens to be our dance instructor.”
“And every woman I dance with instantly becomes my friend, whom I want to be happy. Don’t you feel that way?”
“I don’t get asked to dance.”
“Sure you do. A lot of guys asked you to dance in St. Louis.”
“Not a lot…two.”
“Still, though, that’s more than before. If you just keep practicing, you’ll keep getting better and attract attention of guys who want dance partners.”
“That’s what bothers me. I have to keep defending my marriage to all your dance partners who ask me if we’re married. I tell them yes, thinking that’s enough but then they ask if I mind if they dance more often with you than I do.”
“But don’t you like to dance?”
“I used to. Because I danced with you. You were my first and you’re still the one I want to dance with. But I feel like you’re leaving me behind.”
“I want to dance with you. We just need to practice more in order for you to catch up.”
“I haven’t got my turns down yet…and I can’t spin.”
“I know. And the only way to get them is to practice. I’m willing to practice with you every day, if that’s what it takes. We started all this for you, not me.”
“And another thing that bothers me is you and Bai telling me that you can teach me at MY pace, as if I’m slow. It’s condescending.”
“It’s my fault. I told her that this is all about you and that it’s true I’ve gotten ahead of you. She’s just trying to do what’s best for you.”
“Maybe. But I really am tired of fending off your suitors.”
“You’ve got it all wrong. You know I’m a big flirt. And dancing is like the best fun of flirting there is.”
“For you, it is. Because you ask dozens of women to dance.”
“I have not. The dozens of women I’ve danced with is because of our rotating partners in workshops. I haven’t asked as many as you think.”
“Well, it sure seems like a lot are bothering me.”
“I promise it’s because a lot of us like to dance.”
“‘Dance?’ Seems like ‘dance’ is more like a substitute for dating or sex sometimes.”
“For some. But I really want you to become a better dancer. And I’ll dance with you as much as you want…”
“As long as I let you dance with other partners, is that it?”
“You’re the one who’s been encouraging me to dance with other women.”
“True. But that was before I saw all the divorced women who were interested in men like you. It feels like a meat market sometimes and I have to fight them off for a dance with MY husband.”
“I’m sorry you see it that way.”
“That’s not the way I see it. I’m stating the logical facts. You just don’t see it that way.”
“Do I not sit beside you, waiting for when you’re ready to go out on the floor for a dance?”
“Yes. But I can see how anxious you are to dance with other women. You don’t see yourself the way I do.”
Lee looked from the doorframe and at the rest of the states of energy around him.
He heard a man call out and a woman respond. He felt a low rumbling sound, as if the ground was pulsing rhythmically or a door was being rattled.
He knew where he was. It was a scene from a movie called “The Shining.” How could he be in a film?
He called out to Guin in his thoughts and surprisingly found himself in the middle of a conversation between Guin, Shadowgrass, Bai and Eoj.
What other surprises would he encounter?
Were any of them real?
Why did he suspect that he had merged into a side of the universe that no one knew existed?