The Paperback Edition…
“I heard…” Bobby began…and then the song “Young Love” by Sonny James started to play. It had been ‘our’ song in high school…the very first song that Bobby and I had ever danced to in a darkened gym…on a winter night so long ago.
Bobby stood up then and for a brief moment I thought he was going to leave and my heart paused. I looked up and he had his arms held out toward me.
“Want to dance, Sammy?” he asked with a grin on his face.
I hesitated a bit. I was a little unsure because I hadn’t danced since before my stroke…
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.” he said…as if reading my mind.
The song was way too short. I wanted to be in Bobby’s arms so much longer…it felt so right…just like before….
We started to walk back to the table, his hand holding mine. I was so unbelievably happy being with him.
“I haven’t been dancing since just before my stroke. Russ and I had gone to his nephew’s wedding…” I said and then tears just started to fall.
I guess it was just remembering the pain that Russ had caused me with his ‘cane’ comments. I brushed them away quickly. But Bobby had seen them.
“Well that was stupid of me…” I said and was about to explain to Bobby the reason for the tears when he looked at his watch and said…
“Well, this has been so great, Sammy, but I promised the wife I would get home early so we could go out for dinner and maybe catch a late movie.”
He didn’t even sit back down once we reached the table.
“Are you staying for the dinner?” Bobby asked politely.
I was trying to find words to explain the tears after our dance and how they had nothing to do with my divorce…but then realized that an explanation didn’t matter at all.
Bobby had said he was married. Mike must have somehow misunderstood. My dream was indeed a foreshadow. I had seen Bobby and “there would be no romancing tonight,” I thought bitterly.
“I…no, but I think I’ll sit here for a while.” I answered him quietly.
“It’s been great seeing you, Bobby.” I said. And I looked away…out onto the dance floor and waved to…no one.
“Be happy, Sammy.” And then he quickly turned and walked away. I didn’t watch.
Burned. Burned badly. It happens when you play with fire. I knew that. I should have left the past where it belonged…in dream land.
Time for me to go. Just as I stood up, I saw my purse moving a little on the table. What the…?
Oh, it was my phone vibrating. That’s right, I had turned off the volume after the ear-splitting call from Melanie earlier in the evening.
I looked and it was Mel.
“Hi, is everything okay? How is Janet?” I asked.
“She’s fine now…in ICU, but they think it was just a minor attack.”
“But what’s going on with you, Sam? I just got a crazy call from Mike. He had just gotten off the phone with Bobby who told him that he thought you were still in love with Russ!”
“Bobby said that you were crying because of your divorce. What’s going on, Sam?”
I looked at the phone in disbelief.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
And…then it slowly dawned on me. The comment I had made about being at the wedding and the last dance with Russ before my stroke.
Of course. Bobby had thought the tears were over the end of my marriage…damn. Would we ever get this right?
“Sam? Are you still there? Mike said that then Bobby told you some made-up cockamamie story…that he was married and that he had to go home to his wife.
“Bobby isn’t married, Sam. After his wife died over fifteen years ago…he never re-married because he never really got over you, Sam. He came tonight just to see you.”
“Mike had told him about your mother’s diary…had even faxed him the pages for him to read.”
“Wait!” I interrupted. “How did Mike know about the diary? I thought you hadn’t talked to him.”
“This morning I went over to Frankie’s and we talked for almost an hour. I showed him the diary and that’s when ho opened up about Bobby…and said he was going to call him. I tried to call you but that’s when Janet had her heart attack…
“That’s why Bobby came tonight, Sam…to see you.” Melanie finished.
“Oh, Melanie. I can’t believe this! This is so mixed up… Call Mike back, Mel. Bobby has to know the truth.” I cried.
But even as I was talking to Mel, I was making my way to the front door. Maybe Bobby had done valet parking as I had and was still out front, waiting for his car.
“I’ll talk to you later, Mel.” I said and hung up.
Hurrying is not something one does well with a cane…
I came out onto the front terrace of the club to find no one there except the valet. No Bobby. Too late.
I walked slowly down the steps and gave my ticket to the nice young man and then I walked over to lean against a low garden wall. There were so many thoughts shooting through my brain.
I’ll call him when I get home, I thought. We’ll get this straightened out. It’ll be okay. Finally…okay.
I’ll tell him everything and it will be fine.
But something nagged at the back of my brain…why hadn’t Bobby told me right away that he had talked to Mike?
Why hadn’t he said something about the diary? We had talked…not much, for sure…but then our song had played and…and…we had danced…
We. Had. Danced. Had I stumbled again? Had I stepped on his foot? Had I…
Suddenly those painful words that Russell had shot at me months ago…slammed into me once again.
“You look so old, Samantha. Remember when you were beautiful? Remember? Do you really need the cane, Samantha? It makes you look so old.”
And then I realized…so stupid I was…so very, very stupid. Bobby hadn’t seen me since I was a pretty, young housewife…shopping for groceries that day so many, years ago…and now…now he felt he had to hold me up on the dance floor…so I wouldn’t fall…
Maybe first love doesn’t mean so much after all. My eyes were now burning with unshed tears.
“Here you go ma’am,” the valet said politely as he handed me my car key.
“Oh, oh thank you…thank you so much!” I said and leaned my cane against the wall so I could open my purse.
I was searching to get another $20 but looked up to see he had already walked away and gone inside.
I reached for my cane through blurry eyes and knocked it to the ground.
“Well that’s just great.” I said…surprised at my self-pity.
There was no way I could reach down and pick up that cane…
And yet…and yet…that is exactly what I had to do.
I wasn’t just going to stand there forever and wait for someone to help me.
“Poor Samantha Jones…” I quietly mocked myself.
Another chapter of my life was unfolding…
Concentrating ever so hard, I slowly started to kneel down so I could pick up my errant cane. Once I had the cane, it would be better.
“I may never leave the house again.” I whispered to myself…perhaps for the first time hating my disability and feeling way too sorry for myself…but…it had been a hellish night.
Then, as I was almost to the ground, I heard footsteps running toward me…and a hand reached in and picked my cane up and another hand gently took my elbow, helping me to stand.
I put on my very best, ever so grateful smile as I turned to thank the valet. But it wasn’t the valet.
It was Bobby and I was in his arms and he was holding me so close..as though he thought I might float away.
“Sammy! I’m so sorry, I just got off the phone with Mike. I should have stayed and listened to you explain. I am such a fool. Please, can you forgive me?” he pleaded. And without waiting for an answer…he went on…
“And…I should have told you, Sammy…when I first saw you tonight…”
His voice was softer now as he took my face in his hands, gently wiping away my tears.
I looked at him…my eyes searching his as his had searched mine in that strange dream just a few nights ago…
“I should have told you…that I have loved you from the first moment we met. You are my life, Sammy. I love you without measure.”