Before I get to the monthly wrap, I just want to acknowledge this historic election. I haven’t felt so emotional and deeply grateful since my kids were born healthy. (With maybe the one exception of when one of my boys got me a Madeline tea set for my birthday so we could have tea parties together.) It’s an amazing time – turning away from divisiveness and towards what we might become if we work together.
This month, we told stories of the foolish things we’ve done. I do foolish things on such a regular basis that it just seems like part of life-as-me includes walking into a tree after passing someone cute, or carrying a briefcase upside down to a job interview, or managing to parallel park underneath another car, or answering, You’re Welcome when someone asks, How are you?
But I’ll share a story I told to my friend, Kimberly, the other day when we had lunch together.
As many of you regulars know, Mr. Henderson and I started dating when we were both 19. That’s more than half of our lives ago. But we did break up for a significant period of time, and this is a story of that in-between time, when we were broken up but trying to hang out as friends again.
He showed up at my place and said, “We’ll go wherever you want.”
I offered up The Cricket Lounge. It’s a place I passed on the way to the university every day. Painted on the side of the building was this giant tuxedoed cricket along with the words “Go-go! Go-go!” I told him I’d always wanted to dance there, and he found this “interesting.”
Already, I felt defensive because how could anyone who supposedly knew me well not know how much I loved go-go? Despite the campus’ preference for mopey alternative music, I still preferred anything with excessive drums and cowbells, blasting my records by Trouble Funk (the band I’ve seen in concert more than any other), Experience Unlimited, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. I had a favorite go-go club back in DC that was jam-packed on the weekends with people trying to out-dance each other, and the best dancers got paid spots on raised platforms a la Soul Train. Since high school, I wanted to be one of the girls dancing above the crowd.
I wore a dress Mr. H had always liked because – even though we were just going to be friends – I still didn’t want him to look at anyone but me.
We entered The Cricket Lounge, where I expected to hear the crazy drumming, the cowbells. This was where I’d show the crowd that no one can out-go-go a girl from DC.
But this was not the same sort of go-go club. This was the kind of club with nude ladies dancing. Sad, old ladies. Bad dancers. Mr. H knew this all along, apparently, and I could tell he got a kick out of the look of surprise on my face. He asked if I wanted to leave, and I said, No, because then they’d know we made a mistake, and who wants to look like they made a mistake? I ordered something with scotch in it, and Mr. H whispered to me, “Good dancing here. Want to ask for a job application?”
We drank fast, then wandered all around town, looking for something to do, both of us very conscious of trying to walk the correct distance apart so our hands didn’t bump. Finally he said, “Well, we can go back to my place. I’ll cook for you.”
It was one of the sexiest non-dates I ever had, sitting on his living room floor, eating tater tots and watching the Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. We sat so close that, if he had turned his head toward me during an Iron Maiden song, we might have accidentally kissed. There was the possibility there for a kiss so amazing he’d forget how much I’d hurt him. And because I couldn’t have known, then, that nothing at all would happen, it was a feeling that anything was possible.
By the way, I found a photo of that Cricket Lounge mural on the web, and I see they’ve now made a clarification on the sign for folks like me
What I read this month: Rachel Resnick, Love Junkie (I agree with Janet Fitch’s blurb of this memoir: “Reading Love Junkie is like watching a sleepwalker taking a stroll on a freeway. All you can do is pray.”); Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns (beautiful writing and a beautiful heart, though it didn’t pierce me the way The Kite Runner did, and maybe because I am always most moved by stories with children at the center of them); Mark Spragg, An Unfinished Life (every book he writes helps me understand my Montana relatives better); Amy McKinnon, Tethered (a really engaging read about an undertaker who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery); and Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (just halfway through this one because I am savoring it). What I’m reading to the boys this month: Lois Lowry’s Messenger (in this world, you can trade your soul for your heart’s desire – wonderful and freaky). Mr. H is reading them Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids (they laugh; I don’t).
Thanks to everyone who played here this month; to my guest, Dan Conaway, for sharing his insight and expertise; and to those who linked to LitPark: Editor Unleashed, Helen Dowdell’s Satin Black, Biscuit Cream, The Write Report, Maureen McGowan, and Every Second of the Moment. I appreciate those links!
And one more link for you: Kemble Scott’s thoughts on Prop 8 (it’s a response to pastor and author Rick Warren).
Oh, p.s. Last night, Mr. H was filming a scene for his film noir in a Brooklyn alleyway. Here’s a still:
There was a guy living in that alleyway, so they gave him cash and a pack of cigarettes for the trouble of moving out of the shot.