I danced with a girl last night. And she danced with me. It was only one dance, but we smiled and laughed a little and it was wild and wonderful.
It’s a beach bar, cozy, pool table in the back, really long bar, and long line of tables down the middle of the room to accommodate everyone who can fit. They’re well known for their delicious specials, all week long. I am not a local so I didn’t know any of them, but they all seemed a decent bunch, one reminding me to check out the specials up front. Me and my neighbor arrived before the kitchen closed. We ate at the bar because there wasn’t a table to be had. The fried pickles were proper, not the stuff you might find in New York. The drinks were okay, for my part. I like my margaritas with less ice, but hey, what can you do? My dinner was good, and I astonished my neighbor by sucking down that rare, seasoned, seared steak before you could say “Comfortably Numb.” I haven’t had steak in a long time, and it was heavenly. The bathroom was clean and practically devoid of graffiti. Absolutely no band posters or stickers. I was tempted to bring out my pen and write a note on the wall, but you know? I don’t have a note to leave anymore. I liked the hand soap dispensed out of a dollar-store ketchup bottle. Nice touch. It all added in to the fun, really. Meanwhile, back in the bar, the entire row of center tables was celebrating a neighbor’s 60th birthday, complete with a photo board and cake. Damn those waitstaff were busy—and on the ball.
There was a singer/guitarist at the front of the room. He had long, brown hair, wore a white t-shirt, board shorts and performed barefoot. I hear his mom and dad were in the audience? His guitar work was good, considering he chose to tackle some complex songs without a band for backup. (The longer he sang the more nasal his voice became, but it was endurable.) He performed some early Floyd which made my neighbor quite happy and we toasted for the good fortune to be there. At the end of the table row I noticed a couple who weren’t part of the birthday celebration. Mister Singer broke out into “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which is one of my favorite songs, and he was doing a good job with it. The woman wanted to get up and dance with her boyfriend but he wasn’t having any of that. This wasn’t a dancefloor kind of place, and I’m betting even if it was there’s no way he’d be caught getting out there and shaking his groove thang. I watched her asking, begging, come on, please come dance with me, but no way. I recognized her need. Something happens when you hear “that” song, whatever song that may be. You need to sing it, or move your body to it, and it’s no fun to do it alone, but some of us do anyway because the groove takes over and nothing could be more important than uniting with moment. I got up and walked over to her and offered a high-five, to at least acknowledge someone else who loved that song, but she laced her fingers in mine, stood up, and there we were, dancing. Alone at the front of a tiny room. Country roads, take me home… Sometimes it’s impossible to describe what “free” means. Or joy. And just getting out there and sharing a moment of joy with someone, it’s hard to say what’s the best part. I walked her back to her seat, I sat back on my stool and learned that my neighbor cannot stand that song, not even a little. I told her that I used to sing that, “Annie’s Song,” and “Stairway to Heaven” to my son when he was an infant, pacing, walking, or a few notes before leaving him in his crib. She said, “Well that explains a lot of things.” I don’t know what that means, but it kind of stung. And no, it doesn’t explain a lot of things, other than girls say things that are hard and meaningless from both sides of their mouths.
I danced with a girl to a beautiful song. That night I remembered my son, the weight of him in my arms. I remembered the hard nights which weren’t the worst, or for too long. Funny how you can remember the good times better than the harder ones, kinda like tattoo pain. I came home in a taxi because I make good choices. Had a nice night out with a neighbor. I am writing today before a window that shows me another overcast sky, and I admit that I haven’t put a hurricane emergency kit together yet. There may be another one coming. What would be in my Life emergency kit, I do wonder. Hmph. Maiden. Rollins. Wine. Whitman. God. Goddess. And the unrelenting need to write it all down.