[From Voice and Vision 2020: my response piece to Verone’s painting]
She was the most popular girl in high school – beautiful, witty, talented.
I was the class nerd – brilliant at math and sciences, lousy at sports and small talk.
Somehow I found the courage to ask her to the graduation dance. I couldn’t believe my ears when she said, “Yes.”
The big night, I fidgeted in her parents’ living room, only half-listening to her father’s lecture. I gasped when she swept into the room, resplendent in red. God, she was beautiful!
After the dance, she giggled and grabbed my hand. “Let’s go dance in the park.”
We danced in the bandstand, then walked among the blossom-laden trees and talked about our futures till the stars dimmed.
That fall, I went to MIT and began my career as a theoretical physicist. We lost touch.
Thirty-some years later, I returned home for my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary. The hall was crowded with people I hadn’t seen in years. I almost dropped my drink when she walked in. Age had only made her more beautiful. Her face lit up when she saw me. “Do you still dance?” she asked.
My heart skipped a beat. She remembered!
Before we could talk further, I was whirled away to give the toast to my parents. An hour later, I saw her leaving. I ran after her. “Stop! Wait!”
She turned, her eyebrow cocked. “Yes?”
“Um, um.” I was again the tongue-tied teenage nerd. “Let’s go dance in the park,” I blurted.
She laughed, then took my hand. “Let’s.”
This [painting] was inspired by a memory. When I met my husband at 16, our first dates were bike rides to Wascana Park, in Regina, Sask. This is a gorgeous park that has lots of paths winding around the lake and through the mature trees, well-groomed lawns and flower beds, and Canada geese. It also boasts a beautiful white bandstand/pavilion, which is set in this lush urban forest. I recall that pavilion being the perfect rest stop since it was halfway around the lake. I’m sure ours was not the only first date at the pavilion that blossomed into lifelong love. Lovely memories.
[NOTE: The Bert Church Theatre interviewed Verone and me about our joint contribution to Voice and Vision 2020. You can listen to it here.
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