Baby Blue

Part 6 of – Baby Blue

Nina, who are you?  I like to dance like this with you.  I like you very much already.  David was surprised by the way he felt when he held her in his arms.  I don’t know you.   I wonder what your kiss is like?

Nina, would you like to come out and dance with me again sometime?

I would like that.

I’m glad. I was just wondering…

Yes?

I was wondering if you would like to do something together on Sunday.

So soon?  Aren’t you going to get tired of me?  We’ve only just met you know.

Yes but I’m having so much fun.  I’d like to spend time with you and “learn you.”

“Learn me.”  That’s an interesting phrase.  I like it. Well, what did you have in mind?

Well, first we could go to lunch downtown.  I know a great bookstore with a deli next door and then we can walk around Lake Eola and Thornton Park and maybe wander around the farmer’s market.

I’d like that.  Ok David.  You have a date.

Yea! I’ll pick you up at 11:30.  How’s that sound?

Yea? Yea?  Nina giggled.  Did you just say yea?

Yea!  I did! Yea!  David could not contain his smile and laughed and to his surprise he lightly kissed Nina on the cheek.

Nina smiled and leaned a little closer as they danced on the retirement home cafeteria dance floor under the old disco ball that was put in place to reflect a more romantic ambiance.  When the lights were turned low, the residents danced together and remembered the fun and lightness of their younger days.

David dropped Nina off at her apartment and gave her a gentle kiss and a hug.  He didn’t dare enter because he knew himself well enough to know he would no longer be a gentleman and he did so want to keep Nina happy and show her respect and honor her.

Thank you for a unique and fun and wonderful evening David.  I’m looking forward to Sunday.

And to you Nina.  Good night.

Nina undressed and thought about the day’s events: the new job, the shoe heel that would break and cause her to meet David.  The stories Silvia and Arnie told of their young love and how special it is to grow old together.  The dancing.  David’s light yet firm touch on the small of her back.  His assurance on the dance floor as he led her through each dance move with grace and strength.  Nina had never known what it was to properly dance with a man until tonight.  Falling asleep Nina thought about David’s eyes….

I’m laughing and running around the trees.  Mommy sees me and runs to me.

Hello my baby! 

Mommy! Mommy! Guess what?

What is it my love?

Daddy! Daddy! You met Daddy tonight!

Daddy?  I did?  How wonderful!  I am so happy. 

Me too Mommy!  I want to hurry up and be born so I can play with you and Daddy!

And sing too?

Yea!  And sing! Yea!

Mommy and I are cuddling under a tree and she tells me a story about a monkey and a bird and their funny friendship.  I love to hear her voice and touch her hair and bury my face in her neck.  I can smell her warmth and think how wonderful it will be to be born. 

Mommy?

Yes my baby?

Do you think Daddy knows about me?

I don’t know my baby.  But maybe soon he will see you in his dreams too and you can play with him.

Yea! I like that!  I giggle and Mommy tickles me. 

OK.  Time to sing our song.  Are you ready?

Yes Mommy!

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey.  You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.  Please don’t take my sunshine away…..

 

It is Saturday morning and my mother wakes up.  I sit on the chair next to the window and watch as she wakes up and can feel how happy she is to know she is going to see David tomorrow.  My mother does not remember our play time last night in her dreams.  But I do.  I watch happily as she gets up and she is smiling as she brushes her teeth, gets ready for the day and goes about cleaning the apartment, doing the laundry, buying groceries.  Nothing exciting but I follow behind to see what things she is doing before I am born.

I wonder if David is thinking about me?  Good Lord I think I’ve lost my mind.  I’m already missing a man I’ve only just met.

Nina walks in the door and sees a message from David.  She decides to call back immediately because she cannot wait and wants to hear his voice.

The phone rings twice before David picks up.

Hi David.  It’s Nina.  I’ve just come home from errands and just got your message.

Nina.  I’m so glad to talk to you.  How are you?

Fine thank you.  Thank you again for last night.  I really had fun with you and Silvia and Arnie.

I knew you would have fun.  I could just tell.

Two and a half hours later of conversation and laughter it was decided that they would indeed have to continue their chatter on Sunday.

Story to be continued…..

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Part 5 of – Baby Blue

Running to catch the elevator to the third floor; Nina’s heel broke off the bottom of her shoe leaving her to hobble onto the lift as the others inside giggled. Nina smiled as best she could and tried to laugh off the death of her beloved black pump.  Great.  Just great.  An interview with the assistant manager of the lingerie department and today’s the day I lose a shoe.

I am standing next to my mother in the elevator when I sense the presence of someone else in the crowd.   I look around and notice the man to my mother’s left.  Why do I sense him?  Who is he to her?  I cannot take my eyes off of him.  He seems so familiar to me.

Don’t worry about it.  You looked cute falling on your face.

Looking up to see the face belonging to the voice Nina could only muster, Excuse me?

I said it’s ok.  We all saw it was an accident.  Could happen to anybody.

The face was clean shaven.  Brown hair. Nicely shaped eyebrows and mouth.  I like his teeth and his shoulders and the slight spark in his green eyes.

Hi.  I’m David. David Crystal. And you are…? Oh the spark in his eyes….

Nina Santander.  Hi.  I feel so stupid right now.  God!  I have an interview with a Mrs. Zittel in a half an hour and I’m going to walk in bouncing up and down like a carousel horse.

Ha! Ha!   A flair for the drama.  I like that.  Well, do you like to dance Nina?

What?  Dance? Dance what?

Dance.  Do you like to dance?

Yes sure.  Why?

Well I can’t very well have a dance partner who’s going to break off her heel every time the music plays.  How am I supposed to lead you?

David I’m sorry but I don’t understand you.

Alright.  Let me try this again. May I take you out to dinner tonight and I will show you?  Is that ok?

Ummm….I don’t know you.

No. That’s true.  Do you like to dance?

Yes David.  Smiling now, Nina understands the game he is playing.  I like to dance.

Nina.  May I take you out to dinner tonight, with new shoes of course, and then take you to dance with me?

Yes. David Crystal.  You may.

Excellent.  Here’s my card.  Write your name, number , and address on the back of it.

Right now?

Yes please.  How else am I going to find you?

Oh yes. That’s right.

The elevator doors opened to the third floor and Nina bounced up and down out the doors with David smirking at her constant change in height.

On second thought.  The two heel heights might be a good idea.  We can invent a new dance move.

David.

Yes Nina.

Shut up.

A flair for the drama.  I like it.  Yes I do.  Shall I pick you around 7:00 tonight?

That’s fine.  I will be ready and waiting.

Bye for now Nina.

Bye. David.  Nina watched as David slowly turned around to walk toward the credit check department.  I like his shoulders.

I know this man.  He is familiar to me.  Who is he? 

Nina turned around to walk toward the lingerie department and found Mrs. Zittel neatly folding the girdles in the foundation section in the back.  The interview went well and Mrs. Zittel didn’t mind a bit about Nina’s broken shoe.  It was agreed that Nina would work in the department part-time while she worked on her MBA.  She would start work on Monday of next week. It would turn out to be a perfect fit for both ladies as they got along well and worked easily together despite the forty-year age difference.

6:45 pm

Nina is nervous about her sudden dinner date with a man she knew nothing about.

This is so unlike me.  I never take risks like this.  Am I crazy?

The knocking  jolted Nina out of her thinking fog and she jumped to open the door.

Hi.  You look great.

Thank you, David.  You look very handsome yourself.

Well, I wanted to impress you.

And where are we dining this evening sir?

That is my surprise.

And what a surprise it was when David pulled up to a retirement home and walked Nina to the cafeteria.

What are we doing here?

It’s Thursday night and I am the dance instructor here, David explained with that ever-present spark.  Don’t worry.  There will be dinner.  With some of the finest people I know.

David and Nina spent the evening sitting at a round table with two other couples.  Silvia and Arnie from Queens and the Shilowitz’s from Delray.

So how do you know David dear?

Oh Silvia.  I broke my shoe and David laughed at me in the elevator and then he asked me to come out to dinner with him tonight.

That’s the best way to know a man you know.

How?

By accident.  The best way.  That way you can’t see the road too far ahead.  Keeps you on your toes.

Nina laughed and listened to the stories that Silvia told about her dear Arnie and how they met when he was a paratrooper training in Fort Benning.

Nina, don’t listen to her.  I knew the moment I laid my eyes on her that we would spend the rest of our lives together.

David went to the microphone near the dance floor and announced that the first dance class of the evening was about to begin and for everyone to please take their places.  The music starts.  It is an old Doris Day song. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.   

Nina rose from her seat as David took her gently by the hand, led her to the dance floor, and placed his free hand on the small of her waist.

They embraced politely and looked into each other’s eyes. In that moment I had a sense of awakening.  My whole being was alive and tingling. And then I knew. I know him. He is my father.  My father’s name is David.  He has brown hair.  Green eyes.  Will I have my father’s eyes or my mother’s? I could barely contain my excitement as I knew.  My last name will be Crystal. My father.  My father has met my mother. And she is smiling inside.

He is so handsome.  I wonder what his kiss is like? Does he see me?  I like the strength of his hand on my waist.  He is looking into my eyes and I cannot look away.  David, who are you?  I like to dance like this with you.  I like you very much already.

Story to be continued…..

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Part 4 of- Baby Blue

No longer interested in playing with other girls; Todd grew to love and cherish his time with Nina. The months spent together peeled off the calendar and turned into years. Never said by either but always understood would be the moment when it was time to say goodbye and move off to college as he was a year older than his precious little fighter.  Time to graduate.  It was tearful and filled with heartfelt promises of forever love.  But even the best laid plans of keeping in contact faded with the reality of distance and time spent apart. There were no hard feelings.  They were growing up and moving on each of them.  And nothing would ever change the memories of the sweetness of their young devotion to each other.

Nina grew to be a happy and free wandering young woman with the ever-present Wendy always by her side.  BFFs since the fourth grade. Ever since Wendy convinced Nina to tie poor Sam up with a jump rope to the Jungle Gym to keep him from following her around the playground like a lost puppy.  The girls were marched to the principal’s office and forced to apologize to Sam.  Nina was sorry too.  But she couldn’t let her best friend down and besides Sam really was a pest and everybody knew it. Yes.  Wendy was the friend who would be there for my mother during the happiest and the most painful and difficult moments to come.

Summer,  however, belonged to the girls alone. To running on the beach and diving in the ocean at Daytona.  And dancing.  The Ocean Deck was a bar on the beachside of A1A. No, there would be no lovers for Nina. No time and no interest.  Just university.  Studying.  Working at the school bookstore for extra cash.  And dancing.  Not just any dancing.  But reggae dancing on the tiniest dance floor ever seen and laughing with cute bright boys from faraway places like Boston and Portland.  Nothing ever came of these encounters but Nina and Wendy owned the Ocean Deck dance floor.  The bartenders knew the girls and gave them sodas with a smile and the hope of something more in the future.

The goal was as simple as getting to the middle of the floor to sway and bounce under the lights and laugh and play and live life as alive and fresh and sweat filled as two girls could.   The night always ended with a run toward the surf at two in the morning.   Saturday afternoon volleyball games under the sun on the beach outside the bar never failed to spark new friendships with other like-minded college kids.  It was fun and carefree.

Working at the bookstore opened Nina’s eyes to a wide world full of wonder and awe and I loved to watch as she walked down the aisles of books in the morning before the store opened and lightly touched the books that interested her.  History.  Psychology. Politics.  There was so much to learn and Nina wanted to learn it all.  Wendy and Nina ate lunch in the commons and talked about what to major in and where they would live after college.  How fast time flies when suddenly the girl becomes the woman.

Story to be continued…..

Categories: Baby Blue | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Part 3 of – Baby Blue

“Our truest life is when we are in our dreams…. awake. “ 

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Todd is watching Nina who is watching the little boy giggle.  He is thinking about all the other girls before her and why he wasted so much time with them.  So many girls.  So many names.  But I can’t remember anyone with a smile like Nina’s.  I wonder if she will ever smile at me that way.

 Nina, do you want to split a hot fudge sundae with me?

Oof!  I’m so full.  But I can’t resist.  Sure Todd.  Thank you for offering.

Anytime.

They are smiling and Todd feels comfortable enough to put his hand on Nina’s hand.

I can feel my mother blushing inside.  She doesn’t know what to do. 

After the date Todd takes Nina home and she sweetly kisses him and thanks him for a fun night together.  And true to his word, Todd never behaved like less than a gentleman.  He was, in fact, quite proud of himself.

Up the stairs and to the left is Nina’s bedroom.  At the end of the long hallway is the bathroom.  Time to take off make-up, brush teeth, and get ready for a good night’s dream.

Nina lies awake for awhile and thinks about the night.  She didn’t expect to like him so much. Todd. Todd Odom.  Drifting to sleep…..

There are trees all around. Bright green grass.  And sunshine.  The feeling of pure love and joy permeates the air and all around is a clear blue sky.  Heaven.

My mother can hear me laughing.  My little boy laugh.  I am giggling and running around the trees and she is chasing me.  Come here you!  No!!!! I am laughing and running.  My mother catches up to me and sweeps me up into her arms and covers me with kisses on my cheeks and the top of my head.  I love to cuddle and hug her neck.  

It’s time to sing my baby.

Our song mommy?

Yes my baby.  Our song.

Are you ready?

Yes!

 Ok. One, two, three…You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.  You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.  Please don’t take my sunshine away….

We sing and mommy dances with me and we twirl around in the forest and bright green grass.  All night my mother and I run and laugh and play together.  It is our time together when we are united and she can see me and I can touch her and kiss her cheeks. 

Until it is time for a new day. But mommy won’t remember the dreams until I am born.

Nina wakes up and it is Saturday morning.  Time to call Wendy and tell her about last night’s date with baseball player Todd.  

Story to be continued…..

Categories: Baby Blue | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Part 2 of – Baby Blue

Nina, do you like that guy in our Humanities class? 

Which one?

The one who sits across from you in the first seat.

What’s his name again?

Todd. Todd Odom.  He’s that baseball player that got caught drinking in the dugout last Saturday night.

Gross.  Really?  Why would I like him? 

I don’t know.  Do you think he’s cute?

Yeah but I don’t drink.  You know that. 

Yeah but I was just wondering.

Wondering what?

If you might like him.

Why?

Ok.  You can’t get mad at me but he stopped me by my locker after second period and told me to give you this note.  Don’t get mad at me.

Well?  Where is it?

I thought you didn’t like him?

Wendy just give me the damn note.

Giggling, Wendy passed the note over to Nina.  Quietly, she read the note given to her by the boozed up on a Saturday night baseball player.

Hi Nina,

I know you don’t know me but I really want to go out with you sometime.  Would that be alright with you?  Circle  yes or no

Well, he has a way with words doesn’t he Wendy? 

Oh come on Nina. He’s so freakin’ cute!

That he is.  Ok.  I’ll circle yes.

Saturday night arrived none too fast as Nina endured shy blue eyed stares the entire week from Todd across the classroom while Mrs. Wiley lectured from the moment the bell rang for the start of class until it rang to leave for the next period. 

Todd showed up at the house in a 1979 brown Pontiac Trans Am.  This car would be the very reason many girls ended up in the dugout with Todd. Although, Nina had no interest in cars and couldn’t understand why any girl could care about a hunk of metal on wheels.  Whatever.   Todd sensed this about her and for the first time did something completely against his nature.  There would be no sloe gin fizz tonight.  No visit to the dugout.  No begging to show how much he “needed” Nina’s love.  Tonight, Todd would be the gentleman his grandmother raised him to be. 

At the appointed time of 7:30, Todd arrived with slick back hair to properly meet Mr. and Mrs. Santander.  Knocking on the door Todd found that his hands were shaking from nerves.  Mrs. Santander opened with a bright smile and welcomed Todd with a hug and a “come on in and sit down!”  Nina will be right down.   Can I get you anything to drink?

No, thank you ma’am. 

Just then Mr. Santander walked in from the garage and through the kitchen to say hello to Todd.  Sticking out his hand to see if Todd knew how to shake hands, Mr. Santander was sufficiently pleased that Todd stood up, looked him in the eyes, and shook hands like a man. 

So, you’re taking my Nina out tonight.

Yes, sir.

What are you planning to do?

I was going to take Nina to Farrell’s sir.

Ice cream?

Well for burgers first and then ice cream.

I like it.  Good idea.

Thank you sir.

Just then Nina came down the stairs beaming at Todd.  My god he is so cute.  Why are the bad boys always so gorgeous she thought to herself.

Todd was on his best behavior as he opened Nina’s car door and let her in.  I slipped in the back seat and watched as Todd did his best to not reach over and grab Nina.  He did want to so very badly. 

All the way to the restaurant Nina and Todd talked about school and the latest gossip about who got caught skipping across the street at Kappy’s and who started smoking in between classes by the track.  It was allowed back then.  All you needed was a note from home saying it was alright and you could bring your own pack of cigarettes to school. 

At Farrell’s Nina got very quiet as she looked over at the family in the next booth.  She wondered what her life will be like when she is grown.  Just then a little boy in his high chair smiled a big cheesy grin at her and she laughed. She is thinking about me.  About what I will look like when I am born. Will I have her eyes or my father’s? Will my hair be  blonde with curls or straight?  Or will I have brown wavy hair like my mother?  Will I be shy or cause a ruckus at the drop of a hat? 

I don’t care.  I will love my little boy.  And he will love me.

I am sitting next to Todd in the booth. I can hear what she is thinking and I smile.

Story to be continued…….

Categories: Baby Blue | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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