Saturday Dance


I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
Yes, I lost my little darlin’
The night they were playing
The beautiful Tennessee Waltz

This winter home is so unlike our last winter home,

but then again why should we be surprised that one

love is so unlike another.  It seems that once upon a
time there was a Love that was so special so divinely
inspired that nothing could ever come close or even
attempt to match that Love….that puppy love, that
attached to God love that increased with every breath.
I remember that Love, I had it once, or maybe twice.
I can’t be sure anymore, because now every love is so
unlike any other, and they all pale in comparison to
that september morn when blue like a morning
glory, I strolled down an aisle with a bride on my arm
and left the church a grown man–having entered a boy.
That Love, that longing, that promise of paradise to
come, lasted a short time, then it evolved into a ghost
that haunted me into old age.  I had that Love but my
arms were not gentle enough to hold it.  My mind
was not strong enough to fold her into a woman, she
always remained a prize.  An award for perseverance,
a trophy for having won the Love of the most beautiful
girl at the dance.
It was a Saturday night and the fire barn was decorated
with crepe paper twisted from one end of the hall to the
other and tacked up, here and there to the ceiling.  The only
thing that changed was the color…it sold the season,
blossoms of green and gold; or turned the smoke stained walls
a bleeding, crepe paper red for the valentines day dance.
The music was slow and slow and fast and fast and I could
not dance fast, at least that is what i thought when I
was still that age, still a boy who believed in the one true
Love that would sweep me off my feet, melt my heart as I
would melt hers.
I never melted hers, she never fell passionately limp like
Ava, or Marylyn or Natalie Wood when Richard, or Paul
or Eddie Fisher kissed them.  There eyes would roll back
into their heads and they would swoop, bellowing gowned, and
puckered lips with eyes closed, they would fall limp and
had to be carried to bed, like a child who had fallen asleep
too soon on the couch in front of the blaring black & White
set that broadcasted and forecasted and news-casted  the
temperature of the nation.  She never melted that way…
That first Love that let you down, that never showed up,
the corsage wilting in the ice box near the butter wrapped
in a plastic box with a ribbon that matched the straps on
the gown she would have worn, or did wear while dancing
with some other boy, also not yet a man, but trying so hard
to please, to lure to beg her to ride with him to a lovers lane,
down by the brook on Lake street in the dark way past the
time when the car should have been brought back safe and
parked back in the gravel driveway, by the side door with
the light glowing yellow, as if it were saying caution–approach
with care, slow down……
“Where have you been?  Where were you?  The dance was over hours
ago, you had to be up to no good…there is no good to be done
after 11:00 o’clock at night.  There is no good in the world
past midnight….”
I crept into bed and look outside my window down to where
Peter’s brook flowed from Blackstone toward Woonsocket
and passed through our sleepy little town of Bellingham.  It
flowed passed the bridge, “Where art thou going pretty stream
before me, thin and naked are the branches of the trees along
your shore.  Why do you perplex me with your questions, Where
art thou going little stream before me?  Wait, wait I cried, old
man river at my side–please wait for me. But it waits for no man
It flowed and gurgled and babbled and move along with no regard for me,
like the Love that never showed the night of the Saturday Dance,
that night that wilted like the corsage in the clear plastic box with
the ribbon that would have matched the straps on her gown…..
It was Longing that i remembered when I remembered that
Saturday dance, It was Love I thought, but it was Longing
that left its mark on my face, red, as if from a slap, burning
with fear that someone watched me dance the night away, faded
into the wall, not wanting to be seen holding the box and the
ribbons….I remember the night and the waltz they were dancing
the night that I lost my little darling….the night they were
playing the beautiful Tennessee Waltz…..
Who could have known,
some half a century later,
it would still live
and the river would still flow
past my window…
watching my memories,
reliving moments and sweethearts,
 and friends and betrayals,
 like they were all here
now in this room, in this new land with a new Love
and a full heart despite the old friends I happened to see……..
This entry was posted in therapy.

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