Hi, beautiful readers! A couple of months ago, the Rave Writers - International Society of Authors
) hosted a showcase tour of many of their authors. I promoted many of them here, but I wasn't able to spotlight a few of them. So, I will be sharing these authors with you over the next several days. I am a huge fan of these authors and hope that you will enjoy their newest works enough to look into some of their novels. :-)
Meet Jan Sikes
! Today, I will share with you her piece called "She Dances with a Memory."
McNabb placed a gnarled hand on her arthritic back as she bent over to take a
chocolate cake from the oven. She inhaled the sweet aroma and put it on a rack
A black-and-white photograph of a
dark-haired man with twinkling eyes sat nearby on the cabinet. “This is for
you, Hiram. I didn’t forget it was your birthday. It’s your favorite. I’ll always
remember how your face would light up when I baked this special recipe for you.”
Gertrude picked up the framed snapshot,
held it against her heart, and shuffled into the living room.
“We might as well make use of the time
while I wait for your cake to cool. Then I’ll frost it with your favorite
French vanilla icing. The kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids are all going to
be here in a couple of hours, and it will be nothing but pure chaos,” she said.
The mahogany stereo cabinet from the 1960s
occupied the same spot in the living room that it had since the day Hiram McNabb
brought it home as a Christmas surprise. They’d spent many happy days and
nights listening to record albums. Hiram
never tried to hide the fact that he adored Rosemary Clooney. But, not
Gertrude. For her, it was ol’ Blue Eyes himself that got her blood going.
Oh, the wonderful and countless hours
they’d waltzed away across the living room floor to the beautiful music that
wafted out of those state-of-the-art stereo speakers.
She adjusted her glasses and thumbed
through a stack of record albums. It seemed to take forever nowadays to do even
the simplest task. She pulled out a favorite and held it up in front of the photo
she’d perched on the coffee table. “Since it’s your birthday, my dear, and such
a special occasion, how about Nat King Cole?”
Her fingers, once nimble and efficient,
struggled to remove the round disc from its package.
“Remember how this one caught my eye in the
record store, but we didn’t buy it?” She chuckled. “And then you brought it
home the very next day.” She blew out a sigh.
Once she had the disk secured on the
turntable, she took the pins from her silver hair, and it tumbled down her
She clicked on the stereo and waited until
the tiny red light turned green, then gently placed the needle onto the black groove.
Then with a great flourish, she picked up
the photo and held her arms out for her imaginary dance partner.
Even though she hardly moved from the spot
where she stood, with her eyes closed, she was transported back in time, back to
days of youth when it had been impossible to imagine ever growing old.
“It was fascination, I know, seeing you
alone with the moonlight above,” Nat King Cole sang.
She whispered, “Hiram Edward McNabb, you
swept me off my feet the first time I saw you. You were so handsome in your
Army uniform. I’ll never forget that night at the county fair. My older brother
and sister took me, and since they wanted to stick around for the dance, I got to
stay with them.”
She paused and steadied herself.
“You asked me to dance and didn’t let me
sit down one time the whole night.” She giggled. “From then on, I knew we were
meant to be together. I’d always hated my name, and you agreed that Gertrude
sounded like an old lady, so you called me by my middle name. I was your Rose.”
Memories swirled around in her mind. Sweet
remembrances of laughter, of falling in love and of daring to live the fullest
life imaginable flew by the way scenes from a movie might do.
No, they hadn’t been wealthy, but Hiram
made a decent living for them, and they always had what they needed. However,
it was his steadfast love for her, for life, and the music they embraced that
kept her excited and happy for over sixty years.
As impossible as it seemed, he’d now been
gone over two years. Never a day passed that she didn’t carry on a conversation
with him. It started with a good morning greeting and ended with a good night
declaration of love.
Sometimes, she could swear that he answered
The needle reached the end of the record.
She set the photo back down and focused her attention on choosing another album.
She turned around. “Hiram?”
No one was there. Then she heard it again.
Was she going daft?
“Well, I’ve certainly let my imagination
get the best of me. I guess that’s what happens to old ladies when they’re
alone too long.”
As she reached for her favorite Frank
Sinatra album, a hand brushed against hers.
Now she was sure she was losing what little
bit of sensibility she had left.
When she was a child, her relatives shared
stories about spirit visits from beyond the veil. To her, it was nothing more
than hogwash and products of overactive imaginations. After all, what did old
As hard as it was to admit, she might have
been wrong about that, and a little hasty to judge. Perhaps Hiram had shown up
to celebrate his birthday.
Whatever it was, she would enjoy it and
soak up every moment, even if it wasn’t real. She could make it true in her
With Frank Sinatra crooning a love song,
she reached again for the photo but instead, chose to leave it sitting and
simply held out her wrinkled and trembling arms.
Her feet moved, and she twirled just like
she’d done thousands of times before. She threw back her head and laughed. She
was twenty again, as Hiram swept her across the big wooden dance floor inside
the SPJST Hall.
Song after song played, and still, they
danced, they laughed, and they kissed.
Then the record reached an end and she was
met with deafening silence. She opened her eyes, surprised to find that she
stood in the same spot where she’d been. She truly had been waltzing and
twirling with Hiram.
“I’m tired now, my love.” She moved toward
her easy chair. “I just need to rest awhile.”
Perhaps one day before long, she’d be waltzing
again with her sweetheart for the remainder of eternity. But for now, she had
the memories, and she’d continue to dance with them until that day came.
She reached for the photo and pressed it
to her heart.
Her eyes drifted shut, and she smiled.
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