Image: © Mara Eastern used with permission.
Darcy looked out his kitchen window and his heart immediately knew what day it was. September 1st, the first day of spring. He had it confirmed by the old peach tree showing off its first blossom.
Across the fence from him lived his neighbor Eric. They had two things in common, they were both widows and the fence that separated them. They were different on religion and politics but despite their differences they did enjoy irritating each other.
Darcy made his morning cuppa and sat and looked at the blossom alone on the old tree he had planted all those years ago when his wife came home from the hospital carrying their third child, a little girl called Emma. It had always been Emma’s tree and he remembered little Emma was a grown woman, travelling the world.
Darcy was a still a young man at heart. He didn’t look it in fact he looked like he graduated from the school of hard knocks whereas Eric didn’t look his age but acted it. Eric scoffed at Darcy’s plans, told him to act his age and to be dignified in his old age.
Darcy wasn’t having a bar of any of that thinking. This afternoon at the senior citizens there would be the annual Spring Awakening dance and Darcy never missed one. Even though his one great love had passed on some years ago he still harboured the possibility of forming a new relationship. And whilst there was possibility Darcy believed he was still in the game.
One of the down sides he knew of growing older was the dances tended to be held in the afternoons mainly because at night so many of the potential participants wanted to go to bed or fell asleep in front of their TVs. Afternoons meant no dark corners for Darcy to find to carry on quiet and private conversations. Eric never went to the dances he preferred to sit at home and feel righteous.
Darcy though spent the morning selected his wardrobe, ironing his shirt, polishing his shoes and brushing down his old and faithful suit.
He had tried a few times to strike up friendships, had taken a few ladies on dates so to speak but twice now he found his only date was at the funeral home saying his farewells.
Today he felt positive. After all the first day of spring was a time when young men’s hearts turned to thoughts of love.
He arrived and the hall was already half full. Some folk were already on the dance floor. Married couples who never looked at each other, their eyes away in some place that was obviously not here.
Across the hall there was a new woman. She had come into the hall and sat down by the wall clearly nervous her friend having obviously dragged her along.
Annie spied Darcy too. She knew about these dances, smelly old men, richly lathered in the smell of urine grabbing hold of her and attempting to swing her around the dance floor. She fought for weeks her friend’s overtures to come along and had finally succumbed to pressure.
Across the dance floor she saw Darcy. Her eyes lit up as here was a man who clearly had a sense of life about him. She watched as he first danced with a lady with a blue rinse and engaged her in conversation. How rare she thought.
The dance ended and she found herself confronted by him, his hand extended, his voice asking if she would like to dance with him. She looked up and saw this blue eyes looking at her, instantly she picked up his spark and without realizing it found her hand in his and they were on the dance floor.
Darcy found Annie a wonderful dance partner. They fitted well together, they chatted, they laughed, they danced with no one else that afternoon.
As the last dance played Annie realized it had been a long time since she felt the warmth of being in the embrace of a man.