He said he had a girlfriend but that she didn’t like to dance. Here he was, out dancing again. He loved to talk up a good game with the ladies, but would he ever act on it?
He’d been with the same woman for over twenty years. He had insisted that I take his phone number. I sent him a text to come dancing one night. He turned me down. But then he sent me a text to come dancing with him. Just a casual thing, live music in a park, no big deal. We would each drive ourselves.
He got there first and staked out a spot. I hugged him when I got there and broke the ice, asking for a worst date story for my blog.
He told me the time of when he walked into a bar and ordered a drink. Then he saw a pretty gal and went over to chat her up. But before he could wow her with his witty sense of humor, he dumped his beer all over her. She was stunned. He was horrified. He turned around and walked out the door. Today he might’ve parlayed a date out of it, but back then all he could do was run.
As we waited for the band to start, he told me about his mom and how she’d taught him to cook. He told me about his dad and how he’d cried for a year after he died. They had been best friends, father and son. The new guy friend was opening up to me.
As he ate his dinner for one (he kept trying to share it with me), I did my people watching as the crowd settled around us. We’d both arrived early, not sure about the parking. Neither one of us lived in San Ramon, so it was a new venue for us both. He gave me a Fiber One bar and bragged about how he’d bought 16 boxes on sale. He had made being frugal into an art form. I bragged that my little red wagon that had been scavenged from a neighbor’s driveway where everything was marked free. We high–fived, two peas in a pod, Mr. and Mrs. Cheapo.
The band started, and we did our dancing thing, bumping into lots of familiar faces on the concrete dance floor, meeting a few new ones. I brought him a free cupcake that I’d been served by a San Ramon official while coming back from the bathroom. He offered me a sip of his cold beer that he held in one hand as we danced.
The crowd was in a party mood. There were young children, old farts, teenagers, moms and daughters, fathers and sons. We were five feet from the singers and the instruments. The guitar players were inches from where the children stood, mesmerized. Some of the boys tried to do the moonwalk around us. Every song was a familiar one, all by the king of pop — Michael Jackson.
I had blown off my girlfriend’s annual party for the 4th of July. I didn’t want to talk about my sister to everyone, over and over, as chit chat goes at an event like that. She had just gone into hospice care a week before. I apologized to the hostess by text. I knew she was busy. She didn’t respond.
Last year I’d taken Sis to the same party. My BF at the time lifted up her wheelchair and carried her down the concrete steps with the help of another guy. I don’t expect people to understand. Sometimes at holidays you have to change things up. Remembering where you were the year before can be painful if everything has changed.
Sometimes you need to meet up with a new friend and get in a big group of friendly strangers and just dance.
Couldda Wouldda Didda
I changed things up, tried something new for the 4th. I’d heard Foreverland before, but not on the 4th of July.