Saturday, March 17, 2007

No dancing for Me, Part 7

I abandon my shoes on the bricks and head down the hall to the bathroom. My ruined dress and pantyhose land in a heap on the green carpet and stay there while I brush my teeth. In the shower I realize David and I are alone in the house. I’ve never been alone in a house—mine or anyone else's—with a boy. If only I felt better, this would be interesting.

When the hot water’s gone I step out and wipe the steam off the mirror. Oh, Lord. My eyes and nose are red and puffy, and my mascara is smeared all over. Only one streak remains of my lipstick, and it’s over by my left ear. Noxema and a washcloth get rid of the mascara and the lipstick, but nothing is going to help my eyes and nose.

I wrap myself in a towel and step into my room, where the problem of what to wear presents itself. I can’t imagine putting on a dress and the only pair of pants I have is in the laundry after this afternoon’s tree-cutting misadventures. I settle on yellow flannel pajamas and the mint-green floor-length robe Mom made me last Christmas. I don’t really know if this is a good idea, but it’s certainly decent. I’ll be covered from my earlobes to my toes. No one can object to that, not even my mother.

I carry my reeking clothes through the kitchen, put them in the laundry tub, and then go back to the bathroom to wash my hands and brush my teeth again. I rescue my poor little silver shoes—have to get them out of the hall before Mom gets home. She's been known to throw our shoes out into the yard or even in the trash if we leave them out, and even being sick wouldn't get me a free pass.

I really need to sit down, so I head for the living room.

David has turned on the Christmas tree lights and built a fire. His dinner jacket is on the back of the rocking chair and he’s lounging on the pale green velvet sofa. “All in the Family” is on TV. Archie's telling Edith to stifle, but David's not really watching. He’s waiting for me, probably as aware as I am that we’re alone in the house. He sees me and jumps to his feet.

“What do you need, Baby? What can I get you?”

“I just want to lay down.”

“Here,” he says. “Lay right here.” He sits at the end of the sofa and pats his legs; I sink down and put my head in his lap. He comes up with a quilt from somewhere and puts it over me. We sit like that in silence while I drift in and out of sleep. When I'm awake it feels peaceful and oddly familiar, as though this is our house and we are having a cozy Saturday evening at home. After a while, The Movie of the Week comes on and we watch, talking only during commercials.

“I’m so sorry you missed the Lavender Hill Mob,” I say.

“Don’t be silly, Girl. Don’t you know it doesn’t matter? There’s no where I’d rather be than right here, right now.”

I can’t imagine ever loving anyone the way I love David at that moment. He pulls the quilt up over my shoulders and I drift back to sleep. When I wake again, his left hand is on my shoulder and his right is on my jet-puffed-marshmallow hair. I have never felt safer or more protected. The glow of the Christmas lights and the fire has soaked into my heart and everything—everything—feels right with the world. I curl into his lap and close my eyes.


holly said...

i love david that much, in that moment, right now. so sweet.

Suzy said...

Reading this makes me feel safe and protected- stunning piece, as with all the others.

kario said...

Jerri - I am so pleased that you recall this so fondly. I love that your positive personality shines through even as a teenager - what a gem you are!!

Kim said...

You have painted this so picture-perfectly that I feel so warm and cozy reading it. And I am loving David too right now.

Prema said...

Ditto everyone. Tender, cozy, safe, good. I wonder if that young girl believed that all love would be like that love?

Monica said...

I love this, Jerri. I love David, too. He's definitely got my vote. Wow.