by Jim Bates
English Breakfast Tea
Swing dancing night at the Long Lake Retirement Home. "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing," sang the singer. Jerry could dig it as he sat off to the side in the community room, watching. One of the orderlies had a boom box set up on a card table and was playing dance music from the thirties and forties. It was the best. In his memory Jerry could picture a long ago nightclub filled with sweaty bodies dancing up a storm, cigarette smoke swirling and the band wailing to the big beat of the drums and the thumping rhythm of the standup bass. He tried to contain himself but he couldn't.
When the next song started he turned to his wife. "Let's go cut the rug, Alice," he said, standing up and reaching for her. "Let's get on that dance floor and show them how it's done."
He grinned as she took his hand and stood with him, smiling. How wonderful she looked tonight, she in her blue and white checked poodle dress, looking like she was born for this, jitterbugging and jiving with him. Swing dancing. What a lucky man he was. He smiled, thinking this must be what heaven was like.
With Alice by his side, Jerry hurried out to the floor ready to dance like there was no tomorrow, ignoring the fact that it'd been fifteen years since Alice had been with him. Fifteen years, since she'd passed away from a valiant battle with cancer. But tonight that was all forgotten.
The crowd watched awestruck as Jerry pivoted onto the floor and began jiving to "In The Mood," by Glenn Miller, dancing up a storm, a smile as wide as the key board of a piano, as energetic as the wailing of a saxophone. They watched him there on the floor, lost in his memory of those long ago days, swing dancing across the floor with Alice, the love of his life, together again the way it should be, never wanting the music to end.
About the author
Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up on the jazz and swing music his parents loved. He even played trombone in his junior high school band, much to everyone's chagrin. His stories have appeared in CafeLit, The Writers' Cafe Magazine, A Million Ways, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Mused - The BellaOnline Literary Review, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal and The Drabble. You can also check out his blog to see more: www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.