Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Still Dancing, after All These Years. (Starting Point)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Still Dancing, after All These Years. (Starting Point)

Article excerpt

There was a luncheonette on a small street in the town where I grew up. I used to go there with my friends when I was in high school and we would sit in a booth and have sodas and French fries. There was no menu, just a chalkboard with the day's offerings and those were few. A cake or a pie sat on a plate with a plastic cover on the long counter. On the wall behind the cash register were stacked rows of cigarettes--the most plentiful item in the store. The floor was red linoleum. And it was there that she danced.

I remember the day I first saw her. I was sitting in a booth waiting for my friends and she was sitting on a stool at the counter. She was by herself and seemed to know the older woman who owned the place. They had that way of talking and laughing. She had blond hair and it was long and hung down her back in a ponytail. She wore tight pants and slippers and a white blouse. The shirttails of the blouse were tied in a knot at her waist. She was, I thought, so pretty. I watched her talk and laugh and then she took a cigarette from her large purse, lit it and inhaled and then thought of something that made her laugh.

She coughed and laughed at the same time, then took a long drag from the cigarette. She got off the stool and I then saw that one leg was shorter than the other. She had to drag her left leg behind her and her body moved up and down a bit as she made her way to the jukebox. She put a coin in and I watched the record rise amidst the colored lights beneath the plastic dome of the jukebox and then gently come to rest. …

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