MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Bearded Iris by Lisa Shea

Non Fiction


The Dance

Patricia Palmer Hurd

My home life wasnīt like anyone elseīs that I knew back in the ī60s when I was fourteen.

My father was a stay-at-home Dad, due to the two major heart attacks he had suffered when he was in his early forties. This was before angioplasty and bypass surgery had been developed, so my father’s only treatment was medication and rest. He became our housekeeper and cook, with a lot of help from all of us. We soon settled into an unusual but workable routine.

Not one to stay idle for very long, my father soon learned new hobbies, such as making leather belts and wallets, and even learning new languages. We would sit around the dining room table each night requesting in Latin or French for our food to be passed, much to my fatherīs delight.

At first it seemed rather weird to have my father home all the time; Dads just didnīt do that back then. It soon became something nice to count on, knowing that my dad would be there to greet me with a smile and a hug at the end of each school day.

I was a typical eight-grader. I was in love with our paperboy, the Beatles, miniskirts and makeup. Ironically, I didnīt have access to any of these!

In the spring of that year, our school decided to hold a big dance. It was all my best friend Stephanie and I could talk about for weeks. I was tall, skinny and more than a little clumsy, but I just knew that I would be transformed into a beauty at this dance.

Our dreams were shattered when Stefīs father said no, she would not be allowed to go to the dance. We cried, begged, you name it, but the answer was still no. Then my father came up with a wonderful idea. He would take us to the dance and chaperone! Thankfully, Stephanieīs father agreed to this, so off to the big dance we went.

Even though my father looked incredibly handsome in his best suit, smelling of Old Spice, I was more than a little embarrassed at having my Dad with me. He alternated sitting on the bleachers and walking around, careful to give us our space.

He seemed even more hopeful than I that I would get asked to dance, but it just never happened. I was unusually quiet in the car on the ride home. How humiliating - now even my Dad knew that I was so geeky that no one had wanted to dance with me.

When we got home that night, my father went right to our record player and put on "our" song, "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole. We had danced to this song together ever since I could walk. As my father waltzed me around our living room, he gently told me that I would grow up to be a beauty, and that I would dance many times over, men would be tripping over each other to get to me, so not to worry. We both had tears in our eyes as we said goodnight.

A few months later, my Dad passed away.

Now I had to somehow continue on without him. I couldnīt begin to imagine how.

My first prom, my high school graduation, becoming a nurse, my wedding, having my children, all the milestones of my life, and all spent without the joy of sharing them with my Dad. I just wanted a connection with him again. I wanted to feel his presence, his spirit, the very essence of him.

Then one magical special day, it happened, at my son’s wedding, remembering the stories that I had told him of my childhood, he chose "Unforgettable" for our mother-son dance. As I slowly waltzed around the room, looking up into the green eyes of my handsome son, who by the way bears an uncanny resemblance to my father, I realized that my father was still with me after all.

Here in me, here in my son, and God willing, in my sonīs children someday.

My life had come full circle, just as it had all started, with a dance.

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Reader Feedback:
The Dance [by Patricia Palmer Hurd] made me cry - so sad, so hopeful, so poignant. Thank you.
~Morgan



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