In The Key of B: Cheek to Cheek

Cheek to Cheek

As I sat with full despondence tonight on my couch with an ugly blanket, I began aimlessly channel surfing and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the 1935 film, Top Hat. It’s always been one of my favorites, but lately memories catch up and stir a pot of emotions—and it isn’t easy on the heart. I suppose some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest memory.

As I watched the film for a bit (because let’s face fears head on!), I came across the scene that got me thinking back to a night where I let go of every vulnerability and insecurity. It was a winter’s night when I sang to my sweetheart as we kept warm under blankets with cold toes and abundant giggles. Foolishly, I sang a very out-of-tune “Cheek to Cheek” to him after learning he had sung his heart out earlier that night at a bar with friends. As I sang, he listened intently as I messed up lines, giggled and apologized shyly, but he laughed and continued listening. In that very silence I knew what it meant to him—what it meant to the two of us. And tonight it all flooded right back, pushing through every barrier of my core.

While watching Fred Astaire sing “Cheek to Cheek” to Ginger Rogers, it broke me down. It broke me down to a dark and sad place and suddenly I heard myself crying, heaving heavy breaths in the palms of my hands. When a heart breaks, it doesn’t break evenly at all. As I sat still and watched these two dance through life, flowing gracefully and with such passion, I had not realized that someone you could love so immensely and unconditionally could break your heart twice, creating greater cracks among those very fault lines. I felt like I could cave in and my center would just collapse.

While it was a moment that meant so much to the both of us, especially with baring my soul and insecurities to him, today it meant nothing and that is simply due to fear, practicalities and the dictatorship of a life he wasn’t (and isn’t) comfortable (or happy) with. I will never forget that moment but now wonder what it really meant as he made a sincere plea to me in a quiet sweet voice—a voice I trusted so deeply—that he hoped I would keep.

And I did. I always did. And oddly enough, for this old heart of mine, I always will. Maybe our wounds are the openings into the best and most important part of us.

That said, in all the misfortunes of this life, his heart beats so that he can hardly speak.

Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And the cares that hang around me through the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

Oh! I love to climb a mountain,
And to reach the highest peak,
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek.

Oh! I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek,
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek.

Dance with me
I want my arm about you;
The charm about you
Will carry me through to Heaven

I’m in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.

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