The foyer is small. Manageable. The décor — lovely. I linger a bit, as I assemble courage. Hesitantly, I enter the Great Hall. I find it grand and immense, accommodating a multitude. I am wholly overwhelmed. Surrounded by the beautiful, the finely adorned.
My modest cotton sheath is clearly inappropriate. Heart pounding, I want to flee. Yet spellbound, I linger. I watch. I eavesdrop. I cannot tear myself away.
Then, one notices my glances. Again, my heart pounds, as he offers a warm smile and nod. Is it genuine? A tender seed is planted.
Another catches my eye. She is altogether lovely, as she waltzes with ease and grace. I cannot take my eyes off her. She notices my stares, and responds with … a grateful smile? Can this be? The tender seed is watered.
Another whom I’d admired from afar takes my hand, and leads me to a moonlit window, clearly spotlighting me momentarily. The unexpected attention it brings makes me simultaneously ill at ease, and awkwardly grateful. The blush in my cheeks lingers, yet the tender seed takes root.
Others offer approving glances, gracious smiles. A young woman compliments my faux pearls; herself, adorned with genuine pearls of the highest quality, which she has been gleaning and stringing herself for many years. Yet her compliment is sincere, and the tender seed begins to sprout.
All at once, I feel myself being guided onto the dance floor. It’s him. He takes my left hand, and rests it in on his shoulder. He clasps my right, and places his hand gently on the small of my back. He guides effortlessly, teaching steps along the way. The tender seed begins to bud.