Thursday, March 15, 2007

No Dancing for Me, Part 5

David has beautiful manners. And big brown eyes that light up when I step out of the dark hallway and into the light of the foyer. My eyes probably light up, too. David’s broad shoulders are wrapped in a white dinner jacket; he’s wearing a crimson velvet bow tie and black slacks with sharp creases down the front. He holds a box from Waters Flowers. When I open the lid, I find a surprise. Not the carnations or roses I anticipate, but a creamy white orchid with crimson flecks at its throat.

The orchid is wrapped in silver netting and tied with a silver ribbon. Exotic, elegant, unique—nothing could be more perfect. My heart beats wildly as David pins the corsage on my vest, just above my breast. Mindful of my parents standing nearby, his hands don’t stray but linger slightly: whispered promises. I fetch his boutonnière from the refrigerator and pin the red rosebud to his white lapel. With a few more assurances to my parents, we step out into the night.

After he opens my door and helps me in, David circles the Rambler, rubbing his hands together and grinning. “Oh Girl,” he says as he slides in, “this is going to be good.” His teeth gleam in the yard light and frosty wisps escape his lips with his words. “You look like a million bucks.”

We roll down the driveway and across the dirt road to the highway. Before we turn onto the highway, David pulls me close and kisses me, then puts his hand on the inside of my leg, above my knee. I move his hand off my leg and slide over to put my window down. It’s warm in the Rambler and the fishy smell seems stronger than usual. After another kiss or two, we head into town, singing Temptation Eyes along with the Grassroots.

We park the car and walk down the block to the Legion Hall. I breathe deeper and deeper, trying to ease the tightness in my chest and gut. Just before we get to the door, heat rushes up my throat and across my face and I realize I’m going to throw up. I make it to the darkness of the alley before it starts.

The meatloaf and green beans do not make a graceful exit. I make awful, ripping, retching sounds as my body rejects everything I’ve eaten for days. Vomit splashes onto my legs and puddles around the trash and broken bottles lying in the gravelly dirt of the alley. David holds me from behind; he finds a piece of dirty cardboard and puts it over my feet to protect my beautiful silver shoes; he runs inside to find me a cup of water.

I don’t want him to touch me; I don’t care about my damn shoes; I briefly consider throwing the water at him. All I want is for this to stop. If it won’t stop, I want be alone. I don’t want anyone to see me like this, especially not David. But he won’t leave and I can’t stop vomiting.

Between rounds of retching, David tries to wipe my face with his handkerchief. I snatch the cloth out of his hands and push him away. He won’t stay away, though. He reclaims the handkerchief and gently mops up the mascara mixed with tears and snot running down my face. “It’s okay, Baby,” he says. “It's okay.”

But it’s not okay. The Lavender Hill Mob is playing and Rainbow Girls and their lucky dates are dancing inside the Legion Hall. Sin is happening mere feet from me, and once again, I'm not part of it.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Oh, man?

So sorry Jerri!

(I'm loving the writing coming out of you lately)!

Prema said...

Just wonderful...but that's not the fitting word. Real and raw and vivid. I love these pieces, too. They get more and more tender and truthful. Keep going!

Kim said...

Oh no! I was wondering why these were called No Dancing for Me but I tried to ignore it. The writing is amazing. I'm right there with you and NEED the next post!!

kario said...

Definitely some foreshadowing from part 4 - you are terrific. I hurt for this girl, Jerri!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Yuck! What a night to forget - but impossible to!

Go Mama said...

Oh, so sorry. You were starting off so well, and I love that the two of you were color coordinated down to the orchid.

I hope there is more...

Monica said...

Oh, Jerri, I wasn't expecting that. That's why telling these stories are so amazing. I couldn't have ever predicted that. And I'm so sorry for it, but that is what gives us our books - that's what life really is. It's never perfect, but it's always interesting.