“I got a job!” Winnie burst in the door of their apartment to find Joel leaning over the dining room table which was spread with colorful anatomical drawings.
He’d been pouring over study materials for weeks memorizing things he knew he’d need once med school officially started in the fall. His dedication and preparation were inspiring, but Winnie needed to interject herself into his evening. This was too exciting.
“Remember the Ajkun Ballet Theatre that I auditioned for three weeks ago?” Winnie asked.
“Uh…” He lifted his shoulders and creased it brow. “The one you really liked?”
“Never mind, you don’t have to remember all of them.” Winnie waved her hand dismissively. She hurried across the room and threw herself into his arms. “I’ve been training with them for weeks and they invited me to join their company!”
“That’s amazing, Edwina. I’m so proud of you.” He wrapped her in a bear hug. “What part will you have? Will you have a lead?”
“No, no, it’s not like that. The company does lots of performances throughout the years. We’ll be constantly preparing dozens of shows. I have to be ready at a moment’s notice to be a lead or a supporting part. The more ballets I know how to dance, the more useful I’ll be to the company.”
“I’m sure you’ll do a great job.” He seemed at a loss for what else to say.
“What’chu working on?” Winnie had to understand basic anatomy and physiology in order to be a dancer and a strong athlete. But most of what she had studied was macro level. Muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments. She had no interest in veins and arteries or the inner workings of the brain, stomach, liver, and heart.
“The first exam for my kinesiology class is tomorrow and I’m studying the neurobiological effects of physical exercise on adaptive plasticity and how it relates to enhanced cognitive function in older adults. I think this could really help me apply the techniques to healing sports injuries.”
“Umm… when did you start taking a class in kinesiology?” Winnie picked up one of the colorful anatomic drawings.
“Couple weeks ago.” Joel took a step back and tucked his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “Probably about the same time you auditioned for the Ajkun Ballet Theatre.”
“I’ve been pretty absent the past month, haven’t I?” Winnie felt bad that she’d been neglecting her husband.
“That’s why we came here, right?” He leaned against the kitchen table. “I’ve been trying to stay out of your way so that you can do whatever it is you would have done this summer if you’d never met me.”
“Honey, you didn’t have to do that. You could have come with me.”
“To a dance studio?” He scoffed. “Thanks, but I’m happy with my study of neuroplasticity. Like you mentioned a few months ago, med school’s gonna be intense and you’d be bored staying at college with me.”
“I don’t want to be apart from you though.” Winnie’s heart plummeted into her stomach, realizing what today meant. She was now a professional dancer. And Joel was starting into medical school. He would be leaving for Ann Arbor in a few weeks.
“I’ll fly over here every time I have a long weekend or something. And Thanksgiving. And all of Christmas break. We’re both going to be so busy.”
Winnie couldn’t tell if Joel was trying to convince her, or himself. Maybe both. He opened his arms and she tucked herself up close to him, the excitement of the day muted by reality.
“I am so proud of you, Winnie,” Joel whispered into her hair. “You are achieving your dreams. Nothing is holding you back. No one is holding you back.”
She pulled away and looked up at him. “I’ve never thought of you as holding me back.”
“I hope you never do. I hope we’re able to support one another.” He reached up and smoothed the hairs that had come loose from her bun. “In sickness and in health, right?”
“You’ve already proven that.” She leaned forward into another hug.
“Shall we do something fun tonight to celebrate?” Joel asked.
“Don’t you have a test to study for?”
“I can be done for the night.”
“How about we go over to Juice Press, get some smoothies and take a walk in Central Park?” Since Winnie was the one celebrating, she figured he wouldn’t mind going to her favorite vegan restaurant.
“That sounds like the perfect date.” He leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. “And while we’re walking you can tell me all about your new job.”
“And you can tell me everything you learned this afternoon in preparation for your quiz tomorrow,” she said with a teasing lilt to her voice.
“I’m liking this date more and more,” Joel said, grabbing his wallet. “Let’s have a great summer and let the fall wait until autumn.”
“And let autumn give way to winter,” Winnie said, sashaying toward the door to leave their apartment.
“When I will watch you dance in Swan Lake.”
“And I will wear the black swan costume,” Winnie said in a seductive voice.
“Okay, let’s take a quick walk in the park and come back here for the rest of the night so we can talk more about that black swan costume.”
“I’ll be the black swan if you’ll be the prince.” They held hands as they walked down the hall to the elevator.
“Let’s just bring the smoothies back to our apartment and skip the park…”