“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.
I was unsure because I hadn’t danced since before my stroke…
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.” he said.
The song was way too short. I wanted to be in Bobby’s arms so much longer…it felt so right…just like before…all those many years ago.
As we started to walk back to the table, my arm slipped around his. I was feeling so comfortable being with him.
“I haven’t been dancing since before my stroke. Russ and I had gone to my nephew’s wedding…” I began to tell him and then I stopped.
I don’t know why I had even mentioned that but when I did…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.
“Well that was silly.” I said quickly and was about to explain to Bobby the reason for the tears when he looked at his watch and said…
“This has been so great, Sammy, but I promised the ‘wifey’ 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?” he asked politely.
I was trying to find words to explain the unexpected tears after our dance…and then realized that an explanation didn’t matter at all.
Bobby said he was married. Mike must have 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 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 again.
“Hi, is everything okay? How is Janet?” I asked.
“She’s fine now…in ICU , of course, 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 and he had just gotten off the phone with Bobby who said that ‘you were still in love with Russ’.
“Bobby told him that you were crying over your divorce. What’s going on, Sam?”
I looked at the phone in disbelief. What was she talking about?
“What do you mean?” I asked.
And…then it slowly dawned on me. The comment I had made about being at my nephew’s 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.
“Sam? Are you still there? Mike said that then Bobby had told you some 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 to see you.
“Mike had told him about the 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.
“That’s why Bobby came tonight, Sam…just to see you.” Melanie said.
“Oh, Melanie. I can’t believe this! This is so mixed up…” 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….in case you were wondering.
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 firing by me.
I’ll call him tomorrow, I thought. We’ll get this straightened out. It’ll be 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 we had talked…and 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 Russel 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, 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 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. So there I stood.
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 my cane…much less stand up again.
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, my cane just inches away…a hand reached in and picked it 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.
“I just got off the phone with Mike and…was informed that apparently I can still be a complete idiot at times,” he said as he handed me my cane.
“I also realized that I had forgotten something.” His voice was softer now.
I looked at him…my eyes searching his as his had searched mine in that strange dream just a few nights ago…what was he talking about?
“I forgot you, Sammy.”