Félix Vallotton, La Valse, 1893

It was the end of summer, and the adults overindulged in wine and food and the golden light of the sun setting on the lake. They danced to the quiet music of the water lapping at the shoreline and the gossipy whispering of the tree leaves.

We kids stole sweets from the tabletops and sneaked away to hunt for caterpillars in the woods from where we could hear the rhythmic clanging and beeping that came from the basement arcade where the teenagers were playing pinball and Pac-Man.

We spied on them for a while, stifling our laughter, and turned to run when they saw us. I tried to keep up with the group of older kids and skinned my knee.

Later, falling asleep on the pullout couch, I could see the laughing, dancing adults. There they were, still, swaying and glinting like the dappled late-summer sun itself. If I try really hard, I can see them now, floating like ghosts in a sea of gold.


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