“Drink this,” I said,” but be careful. Never get cavalier with a gargleblaster.”
She held it to the light, downed it, and wiped her sleeve across her mouth, “Damn,” she said salaciously, “I don’t care about this though, something doesn’t add up.”
When they were young, she and Andy were best friends. They played together constantly. They could be cowboys, scientists, cops, dancers, soldiers, teachers, pirates, or explorers. Their only limitations were their imaginations. It was wonderful to play with Andy. They understood each other in a way that transcended words, in a way she had never been able to fully explain.
She and Andy discovered new worlds together. They wowed audiences in great concert halls together, they robbed banks, and cured cancer, they looted and pillaged but what they really loved to do was dance. When she and Andy danced they were weightless. They would float over the mountains and soar above the valleys, carried by the whims of all the errant breezes to the ends of the earth. They lingered on clouds, high above the city, to watch sunsets while they listened to the dogs barking, far below.
As they got older though there were pressures, obstacles, that they could not have foreseen. Her parents encouraged her to meet and play with other girls. His mother enrolled him in Judo classes and baseball. Gradually they found that they had less and less contact but, they continued to steal precious hours together whenever they could. In these times they danced. Mainly they danced.
The day came when her father told her that she couldn’t see Andy anymore. “It isn’t right.” He told her, “People will talk,” he said. “You’re a young lady now.” He packed her up and drove her straightaway to Miss Claremore’s School for Girls in Baltimore.
Andy’s mom sent him away to a Military School in Williamsburgh.
She never saw Andy again but, she heard from him. She heard from him every year on her birthday. Without fail, on each birthday, for these last 70 years she got a card. His cards were postmarked from all over the world: California, Korea, Vietnam, England, Italy, Brazil. He was obviously a traveler. How did he know where to send them? He always knew. He always cared. He was still her best friend. He was her rock. He was Andy.
This morning the young orderly came in to wish her a happy birthday and when she asked about mail he said, “Sorry, Miss – none today.” He presented her with a pink cupcake decorated with a single lit candle which he blew out before handing it over. She set the cupcake aside and worried about Andy. I hope he’s OK. She knew he must be an old man now, even though in her mind’s eye he was still that young boy, that young boy with whom she had been happy, and with whom she had blissfully danced on the wind.
She stayed in her room all day. The orderlies brought her meals but she wasn’t hungry. She was worried. She pushed the food around a bit but didn’t really eat. When they checked on her at ‘lights out’ she was peaceful but, unresponsive in her easy chair. There was nothing the doctor could do. She was dancing again, dancing with Andy. They were going to dance all the way to the moon. It was good to be a young girl and to see Andy again. She had missed him terribly, all these years. She regretted leaving Andy, It was the only thing she regretted.
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