Two Left Feet: A Short Story

Despite being told on multiple occasions to stop fussing with the fabric of her dress, Milia still fidgets with ends of her skirt. Beside her, her girlfriend, Jordan squeezes her hand.

“Hey,” Jordan says, “we can leave if you want to.”

Milia nods. “I know. But not yet. My parents may not want me here, but my brother does.”

She straightens in her seat. “This is his wedding.”

Jordan leans back in her chair and looks at the dance floor. Milia attempts to create a paper star with the small paper used to keep the napkin together. Her shaking hands prevent her from making the folds right so she tosses the failed lump of paper to the side. Jordan side eyes her but says nothing. Instead, Jordan let’s her calm down on her own. When they first started dating that was what Milia loved most about Jordan: she always knew when to hover and when to give her space.

During the ceremony, her parents avoided them. As soon as everyone had arrived at the reception—shielded by the buzz of excitement—they spoke their commandments. Jordan wanted to tell them to leave, but Milia refused to let her intervene. Milia stood silent while her parents stared her down as if she were no better than trash. Milia’s eyes were puffy from the encounter.

She could feel Jordan holding back anger and Milia is thankful that she is. Micha had been supportive of her from the moment Milia had come out to him. He’d walked her down the aisle when their father had refused and had welcomed Jordan with open arms. Milia was not about to take attention from him and his wife by feeding into her parents’ ignorance.

“I’m gonna go find Micha,” Milia says kissing Jordan’s hand and getting up from the table.

She could see that Jordan didn't like her going off on her own. Jordan had always been protective of her because of what happened when Milia came out to her parents. Jordan had been there when Milia’s mom had tied her to a chair to pray the gay out of her. Together, Jordan and Micha had gotten her out of the house that night. For a while after she stayed with Jordan and her mom—it was then that Milagros fell in love. It was easy to fall for Jordan, like settling into bed after a long day.

As she walks through the small dance floor to her brother, she could feel her parents’ eyes following her. Micha’s wife chose an orange tone for the decorations. While the color choice could have gone horribly wrong, it didn’t, even her bridesmaid’s dress was a lovely color, and she didn’t feel like an ornament on a cake—at least not because of the dress. After Micha and Jordan had gotten her out of the house, their parents had told him that helping his sister was betraying them and the Lord.

Her brother’s wife laughs into his shoulder; her brother is smiling as happy as she has ever seen him. He locks eyes with her and grins at her. His wife greets her with a warm hug and excuses herself. As she’s walking to him, he offers his hand. With a faint smile, Milia lays her hand in his.

“Thank you for coming,” he says as they poorly follow along to the dance, neither one of them can dance. “And for being one of her bridesmaids.”

“Thank you,” Milia says, “for inviting me. I know it probably wasn’t easy.”

Her brother smiles, “Not easy? I didn’t even send out the invites. She did, and all she had to do was hit send on the email.”

Milia rolls her eyes. “You know that’s not what I meant.”

He twirls her, but she isn’t ready for it and ends up almost tripping. The two of them stumble and laugh as they regain their balance.

After a moment he says, “I know that’s not what you meant.” He rests his chin on her head. “It didn’t matter what they though. I wanted my little sister at my wedding. Plus, you helped her stay calm. I can’t imagine what would have happened if you hadn’t asked Jordan for help.”

“Jordan was happy to help,” Milia says, “We both were.”

He sways them deeper into the dance floor. She looks around and within seconds she spots her parents. He twirls her again to distract her.

“Hey,” he says, “can you believe we’re married, with careers?" Milia can see the effort behind his smile; an assurance that his love is unconditional.

“You have a career? And here I thought you were just going for very long swims.”

He says. “I actually became a marine biologist like I wanted to as a kid. I don’t see you being an FBI spy.”

She tilts her head. “And how would you know? If I were a spy, I couldn’t tell anyone.”

He plays along. “What, not even Jordan, the love of your life?”

“The love of my life is Adelaide Kane.” She smirks. “But not even her.”

“I’m telling Jordan.”

“Okay, I’ll tell your wife about the picture journal you probably still have of Lupita Nyong'o.”

“Touché.”

In the room somewhere are her parents, who will probably never be okay with the fact that she has married a woman. But it doesn’t matter; because the woman she’d married loves her, and she loves Jordan. And her brother would never stop dancing even worse than she does.

What more could she ask for?